Petaurus breviceps 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Diprotodontia Petauridae

Scientific Name: Petaurus breviceps Waterhouse, 1838
Common Name(s):
English Sugar Glider
Taxonomic Notes: Petaurus breviceps might represent a species complex (i.e., contain more than one species) (Colgan and Flannery 1992, Groves 2005, Helgen 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-06-30
Assessor(s): Salas, L., Dickman, C., Helgen, K., Winter, J., Ellis, M., Denny, M., Woinarski, J., Lunney, D., Oakwood, M., Menkhorst, P. & Strahan, R.
Reviewer(s): Pacifici, M. & Johnson, C.N.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, tolerance of a broad range of habitats (including degraded habitats), lack of major threats, and because its population numbers are probably stable. Taxonomic work is needed to determine species limits, because this might represent a species complex.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This widespread species ranges from the Moluccan Islands in the west (including the islands of Halmahera, Batjan, and Gebe) (all Indonesia); it is present on the islands of Misool, Salawati, Supiori, Yapen (all Indonesia); it is present on the Kai Islands and Adi Island (both Indonesia); the species is widespread throughout much of the island of New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea); it is present on the islands of Bagabag, Karkar and New Britain (all Papua New Guinea); many of the Trobriand Islands, D'Entrecasteaux Islands, and Louisiade Archipelago (all Papua New Guinea); and ranges throughout much of northern, eastern and southern Australia, including the island of Tasmania (were it is introduced) and a number of offshore islands (e.g., Groote Eylandt). Animals from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands of New Guinea are distinct morphologically (Flannery 1994) and genetically (Malekian et al 2010) and may belong to a distinct and as yet undescribed species. It ranges in elevation from sea level to 3,000 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Australia; Indonesia; Papua New Guinea
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is locally common over much of its range. Populations in Australia are considered to be stable (Suckling 2008).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is present where nesting hollows are available in various types of primary, secondary, and degraded forest. It has been recorded from plantations and rural gardens. Females give birth to two young.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species overall. Land clearance mainly for agriculture is a threat through many parts of its range. It is susceptible to bushfires.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is present in numerous protected areas throughout its range. Further taxonomic studies are needed because P. breviceps might be composed of more than one species. It is very understudied; research into its ecology, habitat requirements, population status are also needed.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology

Bibliography [top]

Colgan, D. J. and Flannery, T. F. 1992. Biochemical systematic studies in the genus Petaurus (Marsupialia: Petauridae). Australian Journal of Zoology 40: 245-256.

Flannery, T. F. 1994. Possums of the world: A monograph of the Phalangeroidea. Geo Productions in conjunction with the Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia.

Flannery, T.F. 1995. Mammals of the South-West Pacific and Moluccan Islands. Comstock/Cornell, Ithaca, Ny, USA.

Flannery, T.F. 1995. The Mammals of New Guinea, 2nd edition. Reed Books, Sydney, Australia.

Groves, C.P. 2005. Order Diprotodontia. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 43-70. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Helgen, K. M. 2007. A Taxonomic and Geographic Overview of the Mammals of Papua. In: A. J. Marshall and B. M. Beehler (eds), The Ecology of Papua, pp. 689-749. Periplus Editions, Singapore.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2. Available at: (Accessed: 04 September 2016).

Malekian, M., Cooper, S. J. B., Norman, J. A., Christidis, L. and Carthew, s. m. 2010. Molecular systematics and evolutionary origins of the genus Petaurus (Marsupialia: Petauridae) in Australia and New Guinea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54: 122-135.

Suckling, G. C. 2008. Sugar Glider, Petaurus breviceps. In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds), The mammals of Australia. Third Edition, pp. 230-232. Reed New Holland, Sydney, Australia.

Citation: Salas, L., Dickman, C., Helgen, K., Winter, J., Ellis, M., Denny, M., Woinarski, J., Lunney, D., Oakwood, M., Menkhorst, P. & Strahan, R. 2016. Petaurus breviceps. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T16731A21959798. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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