Speculative Biology Sunday: Marsupial Chameleon

27 Jun

So I was thinking about marsupials the other day, and how uncreatively so many of them are named. Quite a few species are named after their placental analogue: Marsupial Mole, Marsupial Tapir, Marsupial Lion, Tasmanian Tiger, Marsupial Cat ect.
Why isn’t there any marsupial animals named after analogues that aren’t placentals? Probably a bit of a stupid question, I’ll admit, but it gave me a challenge to spec* out. So may I present…

The Marsupial Chameleon

Deep in the jungles of New Guinea, in a few secluded previously uncharted valleys a new species of cuscus was recently discovered and is more likely than not an entirely new genus. Most individuals observed are the size of a small cat, rarely over the size of 35cms or so in length.
In appearance this new species seems somewhat unremarkable compared to other species of cuscus, but what sets this new discovery apart from others is its diet, and how it goes about aquiring its food. For the Marsupial Chameleon is almost entirely insectivorous, like its namesake and captures its prey in a similar sticky way. But instead of a long projectile tongue this small marsupial employs the use of a thick mucousy saliva which it spits with great accuracy at any sizable enough insect that gets close enough, which becomes trapped and can be eaten at this strange cuscus’ leisure.

So yeah, there you go. Hopefully you like it.
*Yeah, “spec” is a verb in my vocabulary now, get over it.



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