dasyure (dăsˈēyŏrˌ) [key], name for several small, predatory marsupials, or pouched mammals, of the family Dasyuridea, found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. Typical dasyures, known in Australia as native cats, are furry animals with large eyes, pointed snouts, and long tails. The largest are the size of house cats; most are somewhat smaller. They are variously colored, and most species are spotted. Dasyures hunt by night and are able to climb trees. Once found all over Australia, they are now extinct in many regions. They are not related to true cats. The fierce Tasmanian devil is a large, atypical dasyure. Dasyures are classified in several genera of the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Dasyuridae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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