Mar 17

This week is Climate Week in the UK, and here at ARKive we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some amazing species and the different ways they may be affected by climate change. 

Lemuroid ringtail possum image

Lemuroid ringtail possum (Hemibelideus lemuroides)

Species: Lemuroid ringtail possum

Status: Near Threatened (NT)

Interesting Fact: The lemuroid ringtail possum has folded layers of skin along the sides of its body which, once unfolded, enable this species to glide up to three metres between trees.

The lemuroid ringtail possum is a rare marsupial found in the cool rainforests of northern Australia. It has soft, woolly, chocolate-brown fur and a bushy, prehensile tail with a hairless patch on the underside. This bald area helps this species to grip branches while moving through its arboreal habitat. The diet of lemuroid ringtail possum is mainly composed of leaves, preferably from the Queensland maple (Flindersia brayleyana) or the brown quandong (Elaeocarpus coorangooloo), although flower buds and seed coverings are also taken. A nocturnal species, the lemuroid ringtail possum spends its days sleeping in tree hollows filled with foliage.

Climate Change: The lemuroid ringtail possum could potentially become Australia’s first victim of climate change. Unable to control its body temperature, extensive exposure to temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius can be lethal for this species. Being subjected to these temperatures is an unfortunate consequence of global climate change, which is causing heatwaves and leading to the untimely demise of this species. The high altitude habitat of the lemuroid ringtail possum means that it is unable to escape to cooler, more elevated areas.

For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.

Take part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge or find out how you can get involved in Climate Week.

View images and footage of the lemuroid ringtail possum on ARKive.

 Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Species Text Author Intern