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Brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Dasyuromorphia
Family: Dasyuridae
Subfamily: Dasyurinae
Tribe: Phascogalini
Genus: Phascogale
Temminck, 1824
Type species
Didelphis penicillata
Shaw, 1800
(= Vivera tapoatafa, F. Meyer, 1793

See text

The phascogales (members of the eponymous genus Phascogale), also known as wambengers or mousesacks, are carnivorous Australian marsupials of the family Dasyuridae. There are three species: the brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa), the red-tailed phascogale (P. calura), and the northern brush-tailed phascogale (P. pirata). As with a number of dasyurid species, the males live for only one year, dying after a period of frenzied mating. The term Phascogale was coined in 1824 by Coenraad Jacob Temminck in reference to the brush-tailed phascogale, and means "pouched weasel". All three species are listed as either Near Threatened or Vulnerable by the IUCN.


The following is a phylogenetic tree based on mitochondrial genome sequences:


Thylacinus (thylacine)Thylacinus cynocephalus white background.jpg

Myrmecobius (numbat)A hand-book to the marsupialia and monotremata (Plate XXX) (white background).jpg

Sminthopsis (dunnarts)The zoology of the voyage of the H.M.S. Erebus and Terror (Sminthopsis leucopus).jpg

Phascogale (wambengers)Phascogale calura Gould white background.jpg

Dasyurus (quolls)Dasyurus viverrinus Gould white background.jpg


Phascogale calura (cropped)
Captive P. calura

The genus consists of the following three species:

Life cycle

Mating generally happens between May and July. All males die soon after mating. Females give birth to about 6 young ones about 30 days after mating. Phascogales do not have the true pouch that is found in most other marsupials [1][2]. Instead, they form temporary folds of skin - sometimes called a "pseudo-pouch" [3] around the mammary glands during pregnancy. Young stay in this pseudo-pouch area, nursing for about 7 weeks before being moved to a nest where they stay until they are weaned at about 20 weeks of age. Females live for about 3 years, and generally produce one litter.

  • Groves, Colin (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
  • Brush-tailed Phascogale fact sheet: [4]. Also: [5]
  • Red-tailed Phascogale fact sheet: [6]. Also: [7]
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