views updated

Perameloidea (bandicoot; infraclass Metatheria, order Marsupialia) A super-family that comprises two families, either Peramelidae (bandicoots) and Thylacomyidae (bilbies), or (as has recently been proposed) Peramelidae (the Australian bandicoots plus bilbies) and Peroryctidae (New Guinea bandicoots). They are mainly insectivorous, burrowing marsupials, in which the marsupium opens toward the rear, the second and third digits of the hind limbs are syndactylous and the first reduced or absent, and the dentition is polyprotodont, the molars being adapted for grinding. The muzzle is long, pointed, and flexible, and is used for probing in the soil for invertebrates; the hind limbs are long, and the ears are often large. There are eight genera, with about 20 species, distributed throughout Australia (including Tasmania) and New Guinea.