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The Zoochat Photographic Index of Mammalian Families

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by TeaLovingDave, 15 May 2020.

  1. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    As alluded to in the newly-completed photographic guide to Xenarthrans and Pangolins, and more explicitly announced in the overall index for the mammalian photographic guide project, I have decided to do a final little postscript to the project, a photographic index of mammalian families.

    This will simply comprise a post for each extant mammalian family, comprising (where possible) at least one photograph depicting a member of said family. If a family is particularly speciose or contains a wide degree of morphological variety, this number will be rather more. The species used to illustrate each family will be selected on a floating basis of how representative they are of the members of a family, how unusual they are in terms of the members of a family, personal soft spots, conservation importance, and so forth :)

    It is worth noting that in order to reduce the number of potential gaps, I will be breaking my usual habit and where required shall use photographs of skeletal or taxidermy material.

    This thread will, therefore, hopefully provide both a one-glance summary of which mammalian families are represented within the gallery by living taxa, which are represented only by mounted material or similar, and which are entirely unrepresented...... along with acting as a nice little postscript to the aforementioned project, and an excuse for me to look for nice photographs of interesting species which in many cases may not have been used in prior threads!
     
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  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    ORNITHORHYNCHIDAE



    This family comprises only a single extant species, the Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), and as such the choice of species is rather obvious! The following image was taken by @Giant Eland at Healesville Sanctuary in 2007:

    [​IMG]

    .
     
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  3. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    TACHYGLOSSIDAE



    This family comprises four extant species of echidna within two genera; the question of which species to select in order to represent this species is a difficult one, given the fact that both of the Long-beaked Echidna species currently held in captivity are unusual and the object of a relatively large amount of desire among the zoo enthusiast community, whilst the Short-beaked Echidna is somewhat more commonplace - and closer to what one would think of as the "typical" echidna - but no less appealing in my opinion.

    Ultimately, I have decided that the best course of action is to pick a taxon from each of the two extant genera..... but which ones?

    There are quite a few pure-bred New Guinean Shortbeaked in European collections, and other pure subspecies-status individuals can be found in the gallery courtesy of Australian zoochatters and a small smattering of overseas holdings. However, the final choice had to be Bruce, the non-subspecific individual resident at Paignton Zoo which is rather beloved of UK Zoochatters - myself included, considering the fact he was the very first echidna I saw - and is possibly also the oldest echidna in Europe. The following photograph of Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), therefore, was taken at Paignton by @ro6ca66

    [​IMG]

    As for the choice of which member of Zaglossus to pick, I think the best course of action is to look forwards and choose the following image of Western Long-beaked Echidna (Zaglossus bruijni) taken at Batu Secret Zoo by @Giant Eland :

    [​IMG]

    For several years an individual of this species held at Moscow Zoo was the object of pilgrimage for many zoo enthusiasts, but since it passed away the only member of the genus has been the elderly male Z. bartoni at Taronga Zoo. Given the age of this individual, and the fact he is only sporadically on-display, it is likely that even this pilgrimage will soon be impossible. Therefore, the arrival on-display of a rather younger animal - even if located at a collection rather more difficult to reach than Moscow or Taronga - hopefully means that the determined zoo enthusiast will be able to see a long-beaked echidna for some time to come!
     
  4. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    NOTORYCTIDAE



    This will be the first of quite a large number of mammalian families - especially among the marsupials - which are sparsely represented within the Zoochat gallery; not surprising given the fossorial habits of the marsupial moles, and the fact that their range is restricted to the sparsely-inhabited and seldom-visited deep deserts of central Australia. As such, we have rather slim pickings as regards photographic representation for members of this group, being restricted to a handful of ageing taxidermy mounts.

    Perhaps the best-quality image is the following photograph taken by @Najade at the South Australian Museum, Australia; it depicts a Marsupial Mole (Notoryctes sp.) of unclear taxonomic status:

    [​IMG]
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  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    MYRMECOBIIDAE



    As was the case with the Ornithorhynchidae, this family comprises a single extant member, and as such it is fairly obvious that the species which we will use to represent the family must be the Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus); however it is less obvious which precise image we should use to illustrate the species in question. Ideally, we would use an image which manages to show off the distinctive and impressively-long tongue which the species uses to feed, but unfortunately the Zoochat gallery contains no such image at the present time. Therefore, I think the optimum course of action would be to select an image which shows the rich colouration and striking markings of the species to best effect, and to that end have selected the following image taken by @Hix at Perth Zoo:

    [​IMG]

    It is worth noting, incidentally, that although my chances of this coming to pass seem reasonably low, this species is actually the Australian mammal which I would most like to see at some point in my life, surpassing even species such as the Platypus!
     
  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    DASYURIDAE



    Here we come to the first truly speciose mammalian family which will be covered within this thread, and one which displays a relatively wide range of morphological variation at that; therefore the question is not merely which species to select in order to best represent the family, but moreover how *many* species should be selected?

    Having mulled this question over for a time, I think the optimum course of action - given the fact that the Dasyuridae comprises four distinct lineages, three of which contain small species fitting into similar niches to shrews and other insectivorous mammals, and one of which contains not only species of this ilk but also larger species comparable to mustelids and herpestids, I think the best course of action would be to depict the largest possible species, a mid-range species and two of the smaller species. Moreover, the "small" species should belong to separate groups to both of the larger species selected.

    The choice for which species to select as representation of the largest dasyurids is pretty clear, naturally - the Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii). Fortunately, the gallery is rather well-stocked with images of this species, both due to their commonplace status in Australian collections and the dispersal of the species to collections within Europe and North America over the last decade. After careful consideration, the image I chose to represent this species - taken by @Chlidonias at Wellington Zoo - was selected in order to demonstrate the stocky and robust build of the species, in order to serve as apt comparison to the taxa which follow:

    [​IMG]

    My choice for a mid-range species was a little more difficult - the most obvious answer would be one of the various species of quoll, but which one? I initially considered one of the smaller species, in order to avoid redundancy with the Tasmanian Devil as best as possible, but ultimately I decided that despite the relatively-large size of the species, the following image of Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) taken by @hmb_zoo at Hamerton Zoo was appropriate for the purposes of this thread given the fact that it displays the hypercarnivorous dentition of the species - typical for the larger members of the Dasyuridae - extremely well:

    [​IMG]

    The next question is which smaller species would serve as the most appropriate illustration for the purposes of this thread. I certainly wanted to use an image of one of the various "marsupial mice" known for their hyperfecund semelparity, given how noteworthy and unusual this trait is within mammals, and ultimately decided that in terms of both the quality of the image and the appealing appearance of the species itself the following image of a wild Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes flavipes) taken by @Hix served my purposes well:

    [​IMG]

    It is, of course, merely an artefact of the angle at which the head of the antechinus has been photographed, given the fact that this resemblance is not visible in other images online depicting the species...... but I rather think something about the "feel" of this image evokes the Narrow-striped Boky of Madagascar!

    The final choice of species for this thread was tricky - I wanted a species which was unrelated to all others previously depicted, so a taxon such as the Kowari would not be appropriate, and the smallest species of dasyurid of all (the Pilbara ningaui) is unrepresented within the gallery, as are its congeners.... a pity, given the fact this would have provided a nice contrast to the presence of the largest species! Ultimately, I decided that the optimum choice in terms of difference to prior taxa, image quality and visual appeal of the species was the following image of Fat-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) taken by @Giant Eland at Healesville Sanctuary:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    THYLACOMYIDAE



    Another family of marsupial which is now represented by a single extant taxon - although another taxon survived into living memory - the Bilbies are unusual creatures which always seem to me to evoke a cross between a springhare and a hedgehog in their appearance and habits. The sole surviving taxon, the Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis), is currently unrepresented in European collections but occurs in several Australian collections, and as such the problem is not finding a suitable image to represent the family for this thread, but selecting from several such images.

    It is worth noting, incidentally, that an ex-situ ambassador programme for Greater Bilby has been in the works for several years now, with the general aim of establishing a population in European collections. This programme has progressed to the point of an EAZA studbook holder for the species being selected and at least one collection producing large quantities of Bilby merchandise for their giftshops, only for plans to stall at literally the last minute and said merchandise being sold-off at a heavy discount! The current international situation cannot have helped matters, but I believe things *are* progressing once again despite the setbacks.

    In any case, among the wide range of excellent photographs of the taxon which can be found within the Zoochat gallery, the following image caught my eye; taken by @Hix at Monarto Zoo, I was rather taken by how the angle of the photograph shows the somewhat strange, elongate yet angular skull shape of the Greater Bilby, and depicts the animal at a slightly different angle to many shots in the gallery:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    PERAMELIDAE



    The next family which needs to be covered in this thread are the true bandicoots of the Peramelidae; this is another group which currently is unrepresented in captivity outside of Australia, and as such one which I have never had the opportunity to view in person. In many ways, the members of the group seem to be marsupial equivalents to placental species such as hedgehogs, moonrats, tenrecs, sengis and solenodons; as such, it occurs to me that it would be quite appropriate to choose an image which evokes this similarity.

    Having looked through the gallery for the various photographs uploaded within which depict a wide variety of bandicoot species, I ultimately decided to use the following image of Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) taken at Adelaide Zoo by @Najade :

    [​IMG]
     
  9. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    PHASCOLARCTIDAE



    One of the most distinctive and recognisable marsupial families, and also yet other one which contains a single extant taxon, the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) - which once again means that our task is not to determine which species should be illustrated here to represent the family, but rather which one of the many, many photographs of the species found within the gallery should be used. As one might expect, there are a large number of excellent photographs which would be suitable for the purpose, and given the fact that - for the sake of consistency - I will be accepting the taxonomic arguments put forth in the Marsupials thread by @Chlidonias , I need not take the various "subspecies" which have been proposed into account before making a decision.

    As such, this is one of those occasions where - taxonomy and conservation status being equal for any given individual represented in a photograph - I can let a little personal bias sneak into my decision process. To that end, I have decided to use the following photograph taken at Edinburgh Zoo by @zootiger , given the fact that this is the collection at which I saw the species for the very first time back in 2010:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    VOMBATIDAE


    Fortunately for us, the wombats are a group which are fully-represented within the Zoochat gallery - which from one point of view is a very good thing indeed, whilst from another point of view it does give us something of a dilemma when it comes to this thread. The group is not particularly speciose, with only three extant species, and unlike the echidnas there is not a massive degree of visual or morphological difference between the two extant genera. As such it would probably be unjustified to post multiple photographs to represent this family as I did the Tachyglossidae.

    So the question is - which species do I highlight in particular? The "Common" Wombat would seem the most obvious choice, and it is certainly the most well-represented within the gallery..... but here I think we have a good excuse to highlight a species on the basis of conservation significance, and the relative uniqueness of the photograph representing this species. As such, I have chosen to represent this particular family with the following image of a wild Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) taken by @Najade ; the species is by far one of the most endangered marsupial species in the world, with a population that - although gradually increasing subsequent to substantial conservation efforts - is currently estimated to be somewhere in the mid-200's.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    PHALANGERIDAE



    This family comprises approximately 28 species of brush-tailed possum and cuscus in six genera, many of which have been seen and photographed by Zoochatters; as such there is certainly plenty of choice when it comes to which species to highlight here. Having given the matter some thought, it seemed most appropriate to select two species; one of the brush-tailed possums, and one of the cuscuses. The first provided less difficulty in deciding on a taxon, and on a photograph, given the visual distinctiveness and excellent photographic quality apparent in the following image of a Tasmanian Brush-tailed Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula fuliginosus) at Hamerton Zoo, taken by @ro6ca66 :

    [​IMG]

    However, the second choice provided me with rather more difficulty - although a substantial amount of pleasure when it came to scanning through the gallery looking at, and weighing up, various options it must be said! I gave serious consideration to choosing one of the Bear Cuscuses, given the fact that these are both rather distinctive looking and (unusually for possums and allied marsupials) primarily diurnal, and was also tempted by the visual allure of the Spotted Cuscuses. However, ultimately I decided that the best contrast and comparison to the Brush-tailed Possum would be to present an image of New Guinea Ground Cuscus (Phalanger gymnotis leucippus), given the fact that this species not only looks rather different to the former species, but unlike other members of the family is primarily terrestrial in its habits. As such, I have selected the following image taken by @ro6ca66 at Cotswold Wildlife Park:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    BURRAMYIDAE



    Another group which I have never seen and - barring a visit to Australasia - I am rather unlikely ever to see, the pygmy possums are not particularly speciose and moreover seem relatively homogenous in appearance. As such it seems most sensible to select a single image to represent the family. Having considered the matter for a time and flicked through the images available in the gallery of various species within the group, I decided the best course of action would be to select an image - and therefore a taxon - on the basis of the quality of the image, how distinctive and eye-catching it was in my opinion, and how well it showed the general visual "feel" evoked by the members of the group. Ultimately, I selected the following image of Western Pygmy-possum (Cercartetus concinnus) taken by @Najade at Cleland Wildlife Park, which incidentally looks remarkably akin to a Eurasian Harvest Mouse in appearance:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    PSEUDOCHEIRIDAE



    Once again, a group I have not been fortunate enough to see in person - although in this case, there is a chance that with time and luck this may be rectified, given the presence of Common Ringtail Possum at Hamerton Zoo. As was the case with the preceding group, I feel there is neither enough morphological variety nor the number of species within this family to justify multiple photographs - and in any case, were I to select multiple species the obvious second choice would be Greater Glider, a species which we lack particularly-good images of within the gallery.

    As such, the question once again comes down to which species we should select to represent the family - overall, in terms of the image quality and how well the basic "feel" of the species is conveyed, I think the following image of Western Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) taken by @Giant Eland at Caversham Wildlife Park does a pretty good job:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    PETAURIDAE



    This family comprises eleven species of glider and striped possum; although the most obvious species to represent the group would be Sugar Glider, I feel that in order to display the variety of form present within the family, it would be best to highlight other species. Considering the matter, the most logical choices would be to select one of the gliding species within Petaurus, and one of the species lacking a developed patagium. As far as the first option goes, I decided that Yellow-bellied Glider (Petaurus australis) would be quite a good option, given the fact it is quite different in size and appearance to the Sugar Glider and therefore displays a wider variety of morphology within the family than using an image of the latter species would. The gallery contains a wide range of images depicting this species, so the issue is not so much finding an appropriate photo and more choosing between multiple appropriate photographs. Not exactly the worst problem to have, of course, and after a little consideration I selected the following image taken by @Najade at Moonlit Sanctuary:

    [​IMG]

    As far as my choice for the second species to represent this family goes, I gave serious consideration to selecting the Leadbeater's Possum; however, despite the fact that this species is the most basal within the group and hence most representative of the ancestral form, and is also the most threatened from a conservation point of view, I ultimately decided to select Striped Possum (Dactylopsila trivirgata). This decision is primarily due to three factors; firstly, although lacking a patagium or other gliding membrane, in visual appearance this species - and its congeners - look uncannily like giant Sugar Glider, and as such act as something of a nod towards this species given the fact that I had chosen not to select said species for this thread. Secondly, it is a species I am particularly fond of, having missed out on seeing it many years ago at ZSL London Zoo due to my own lack of confidence in the prospect of visiting a zoo alone, only to have the opportunity to rectify this shortfall at Plzen and Jihlava in more recent years. Finally, it is a species I suspect I shall never see again, as mere months after my last visit to Jihlava the final two individuals in Europe died, and given how unusual it is in captivity even in Australasia my odds of seeing the species there if I were to visit at some point are very low.

    As such, I had a look through the gallery in the hopes of selecting a particularly good image to represent this species, and ultimately found the following image taken by @Vision at Plzen Zoo depicting one of their last animals:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 19 May 2020
  15. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately that is not my picture :D I only come to contact with them in Jihlava as my "small mammal phase" in Plzen started in August 2018 and at that time all animals were already in Jihlava. :)

    But I sure hope that that you find other suitable photo from my collection in case of some of the next families :D

    Also I love those little storylines :)
     
  16. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh dear, you are right :eek: :p will correct the citation to @Vision now!
     
  17. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    ACROBATIDAE



    Given the fact that this family only contains three species, one of which is unrepresented within the Zoochat gallery, it is not a particularly difficult choice in my opinion to determine which taxon should be used to represent the family for the purposes of this thread - Narrow-toed Feathertail Glider (Acrobates pygmaeus). However, it is a somewhat more tricky proposition to determine which image should be used to represent the species, given the fact there are a fair number of rather good images of this taxon within the gallery. As such, I thought this was a pretty good excuse to upload a photograph I took myself, the very first time I saw the species at Dierenpark Amersfoort; the species had previously eluded me on a number of occasions, and the prospect of hopefully seeing the species was one of the main reasons I chose to visit Amersfoort as a late-stage replacement in my plans for Ouwehands after my main reason for planning to visit the latter - the last Spectral Tarsier at the collection - died shortly before I visited the Netherlands. Truth be told I had not expected to get the excellent and prolonged views that I ultimately was fortunate enough to enjoy!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2020
  18. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    TARSIPEDIDAE



    This one is a relatively easy choice, given the fact that there is but one species within this family -
    Honey Possum (Tarsipes rostratus) - and very few photographs indeed depicting it within the Zoochat gallery. As such, I have selected the following image of a wild individual taken by @Najade :

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2020
  19. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    HYPSIPRYMNODONTIDAE



    As is the case with the preceding family, this is another pretty simple proposition; one species and very few images to select from :p as such, the following image of Musky Rat Kangaroo (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus) was taken in the wild by @Chlidonias :

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2020
  20. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    POTOROIDAE



    This family is a little more speciose than the last few, which from one point of view is rather refreshing - but from another point of view provides us with the same old dilemmas once again; which species to select in order to represent the family, and which image to select? I reckon there isn't quite enough variation in form or function within the members of this family to justify the selection of multiple species, in any case, so the issue is pinning the choice down to a single taxon. Thinking this matter over, I was quite torn between a few options - I was tempted to select one of the bettong species, given the conservation significance of the Brush-tailed Bettong in particular, but ultimately decided that the best species to represent the family as a whole would be the Long-nosed Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus). This species is quite appealing to look at and, unlike the Brush-tailed Bettong, is quite happily active in a diurnal setting, which makes it quite well-suited to being displayed in captivity. It is, in point of fact, something of a UK specialty where captive marsupials are concerned - of the 25 European collections currently displaying the species, 17 are located in the UK or the Isle of Man. Given this, and the fact that I have also seen the species in 5 of the continental collections holding the taxon, I have been fortunate enough to see Potoroo on many occasions. However, it will not be a photograph taken by myself which will represent the species, and hence the family, for the purposes of this thread. Having looked through the gallery at some length, I ultimately decided to select the following image taken by @ro6ca66 at Cotswold Wildlife Park:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2020