|Sulawesi bear cuscus|
Flannery, Archer and Maynes, 1987
The bear cuscuses are arboreal marsupials that live in the upper canopy of tropical rainforests. Almost nothing is known of their status and ecology. Although some scientists assign all populations to one species, A. ursinus, others place melanotis as its own species. 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 (e.g. Sulawesi), which are culturally part of Asia, where marsupials are generally not found but which are biogeographically part of Wallacea, which from a faunal standpoint is intermediate between the Australian and Indomalayan realms. 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 family Phalangeridae.
The genus contains the following species:
- Talaud bear cuscus, Ailurops melanotis - Salebabu Island in the Talaud Islands
- Sulawesi bear cuscus, Ailurops ursinus - Sulawesi, Peleng Island, Muna Island, Butung Island, Togian Islands
- Groves, C. P. (2005). "Genus Ailurops". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Australasian Marsupial & Monotreme Specialist Group (1996). "Ailurops ursinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2007. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- Flannery, T. & Helgen, K. (2008). "Ailurops melanotis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
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