Sunday, 1 November 2009

Cuscus


Indonesia and Australia joint issued the stamp series, Cuscus. Both country have similar genus of cuscus but differ species. Indonesia known well for the Bear Cuscus (Kuskus beruang), while Australia have the Common Cuscus Spotted (Kuskus Totol).


Cuscus is the common name generally given to the species within the four genera of Australasian
possum. The genera whose species are generally referred to as cuscuses are: Ailurops, Phalanger,
Spilocuscus, and Strigocuscus. 


The Bear cuscus is the member of the genus Ailurops. They are marsupials in the Phalangeridae family. The bear cuscuses are arboreal marsupials that live in the upper canopy of tropical rainforests. The genus is distinct, though, and some authorities place it within its own subfamily, Ailuropinae. It is found only on some of the islands of Indonesia, which is a part of Asia, where marsupials are generally not found. It is hypothesized that the isolation of the bear cuscuses on the island of Sulawesi in the Miocene accounts for the animal's morphological divergence from the rest of the Phalangeridae family. The genus divided in two species, Talaud Bear Cuscus (Ailurops melanotis) found in Talaud Island and Sulawesi Bear Cuscus (Ailurops ursinus) found in Sulawesi Island and nearby Island: Peleng Island, Muna Island, Butung Island, and Togian Islands.

The Common Spotted Cuscus (Spilocuscus maculatus) is a cuscus, a marsupial animal
that lives in the Cape York Peninsula region of Australia and New Guinea. They has distinctive
characteristics about the size of a large house cat, weighing between 3-13lbs, body size approximately 13-26 inches long, and a curled tail one to two feet long .It has a round head, small hidden ears, thick fur, and a prehensile tail to aid in climbing. Its eyes range in colour from yellows and oranges to reds, and are slit much like a snake. All four of its limbs have five digits and strong, curved claws, except the first digit on each foot. The first digit on the hind foot is clawless and opposable. It has thick, woolly fur of varying colours depending on age, sex, and location. Males are typically grey /white or brown/white with splotchy patterns on their back and a white underbelly. Females are usually white or grey, and unspotted. Some completely white individuals are known in both males and females. The Common Spotted Cuscus does not have a dorsal stripe on its fur.

The Common Spotted Cuscus is typically very shy, a solitary creature, nocturnal, hunting and feeding at night and sleeping during the day on self-made platforms in tree branches .Therefore it is rarely seen especially in northern Australia. Cuscuses can live to be 11 years old, and reach sexual maturity around one year old.

The Common Spotted Cuscus lives in rainforests, mangroves, hardwood and eucalypt forests below 1,200m. Because it lives in dense wooded habitats, they are not easily seen, especially in Australia.

The Common Spotted Cuscus has an unspecialised dentition, allowing it to eat a wide variety of plant products. It is also known to eat flowers, small animals, and occasionally eggs.

The conservation status of the Common Spotted Cuscus is least concern because of its wide population distribution, ability to flourish in a variety of environments, and lack of dominating predators.

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