Petaurus breviceps


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Petaurus breviceps
Species Authority: 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: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
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): Lamoreux, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
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.

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). It ranges in elevation from sea level to 3,000 m asl.
Australia; Indonesia; Papua New Guinea
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).
Population Trend: Stable

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.
Systems: Terrestrial

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.

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. 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.

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. 2008. Petaurus breviceps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
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