Tasmanian Devil
(Sarcophilus harrisii) #65-65

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MSU Tasmanian Devil Brain Sections

Physical characteristics and distribution

Tasmanian Devil Sarcophilus harrasii

Head and body length is from 525 - 800 mm with tail length from 230 - 300 mm. Males range in weight from 5.5 - 11.8 kg. and females between 4.1 and 8.1 kg. Overall coloration is blackish brown or black with a white throat patch, one or two white patches on the rump and sides and a pinkish snout.

Tasmanian Devils have short, broad skulls covered with masses of muscle. The molar teeth are developed into extremely strong bone crushers, like those of hyenas.

The diet consists of a variety of vertebrates and invertebrates including poisonous snakes, and a small amount of plant material. The main food source is carrion, as the Tasmanian Devil is an inefficient killer. Preferred are wallabies, wombats, sheep, and rabbits. Every part of the carcass is consumed, including the fur and bones.

Females become sexually mature at the age of 2 and are monestrous. Mating occurs in March or a little later. Gestation is 31 days and litter size is 2-4 young. Young leave the pouch at about 105 days and are weaned by 8 months.

The single living species of Sarcophilus today is harrasii, is found only in Australia: Tasmania. It probably once occupied most of the Australian mainland, but was in direct competition with the introduced dingo.

Description of the brain

The brain weight is 16.26 g (includes R. Trg. & L.C2 DRG). The brain meaurements are: Length AP left 28.1 mm; Length AP right 28.5 mm; Bitemporal width 30.2 mm; Temporal height left 22.1 mm; Temporal height right 22.7 mm.

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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