Many mammals, specially living in forest areas, have become modified to live on trees. Their mode of living is named as arboreal. Arboreal mammals are able to climb the trees and use their branches as the highways. There are three possible modes of aerial locomotion or flight-gliding, soaring and flapping.

Gliding is the rudimentary flight displayed by certain fishes (Exocoetus), amphibians (Rhachophorus), lizards (Draco), and among some mammals by some phalangers, flying lemurs and squirrels. Soaring and flapping are more efficient and need more profound morphological and physiological adaptations. Soaring flight is attained by certain birds and flapping flight is accomplished both by birds and bats (Fig.33.9).

Gliding and Flying Mammals

I. Gliding Mammals and Adaptations:

1. Gliding Mammals:


Common examples are:

(i) Order Marsupialia:

Flying phalangers (Petaurus) and feather tails (Acrobates).

(ii) Order Dermoptera: