With the exception of the aberrant long-snouted phalanger, the members of the family Phalangeridae have the normal number of functional incisors, in addition to which there may be one or two rudimentary pairs in the lower jaw.
- The Long-snouted Phalanger (Tarsipes rostratus).
As the first example of the group may be taken the elegant little long-snouted phalanger (Tarsipes rostratus, fig.
In Europe a number of " long-snouted " beetles, such as the raspberry weevils (Otiorhynchus picipes), the apple blossom weevil (Anthonomus pomorum), attack fruit; others, as the " corn weevils " (Calandra oryzae and C. granaria), attack stored rice and corn; while others produce swollen patches on roots (Ceutorhynchus sulcicollis), &c. All these Curculionidae are very timid creatures, falling to the ground at the least shock.
The ingenuity of nature, however, in adapting animals is not infinite, because the same devices are repeatedly employed by her to accomplish the same adaptive ends whether in fishes, reptiles, birds or mammals; thus she has repeated herself at least twenty-four times in the evolution of long-snouted rapacious swimming types of animals.
They are easily recognized by their long body and tail, and elongated, upturned snout; from which last feature the Germans call them Rihsselbdren or "snouted bears."
In the Tertiary epoch alligators, crocodiles and long-snouted gavials existed in Europe.