or native cats
) are carnivorous marsupials
, native to Australia
and Papua New Guinea
. Adults are between 25 and 75 cm
long, with hairy tails about 20-35 cm long. Females have six to eight nipples and develop a pouch—which opens towards the tail—only during the breeding season, when they are rearing young. The babies are the size of a grain of rice. Quolls live both in forests and in open valley land. Though primarily ground-dwelling, they have developed secondary arboreal
characteristics. They do not have prehensile tails
, but do have ridges on the pads of their feet. Their molars and canines are strongly developed.
The tribe Dasyurini to which quolls belong also includes the Tasmanian Devil, antechinuses, the Kowari, and mulgaras.
Within the genus Dasyurus
, the following species exist:
- New Guinean Quoll, Dasyurus albopunctatus, New Guinea
- Western Quoll or Chuditch, Dasyurus geoffroii, western Australia
- Northern Quoll, Dasyurus hallucatus, northern Australia
- Tiger Quoll or Spotted Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus, eastern Australia
- Bronze Quoll, Dasyurus spartacus, New Guinea
- Eastern Quoll, Dasyurus viverrinus, Tasmania (formerly mainland eastern Australia)
Different species of quolls show little difference in body shape, though they do have distinguishing characteristics.
For example, the Tiger Quoll can be identified by its white spots and large canines.
The name Dasyurus means "hairy-tail", and was coined by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1796. The first species described, the Tiger Quoll, was originally placed in the American opossum genus Didelphis.