Marsupials are an infraclass (a distinct but with some familiar features) of mammals living primarily in Australasia and the Americas. A distinctive characteristic, common to most species, is that the young are carried in a pouch. 


A koala is a type of marsupial. image: wikipedia/Diliff 

Well-known marsupials include:

  •  kangaroos
  • wallabies, 
  • the koala, 
  • possums, 
  • opossums, 
  • wombats and the 
  • Tasmanian devil. 

Other marsupials include the numbat, bandicoots, bettongs, the bilby, quolls, and the quokka.

origin of word marsupial

The word marsupial originates from latin/greek marsupium marsupion which means purse or pouch. 

Marsupials represent the clade originating with the last common ancestor of extant metatherians. Like other mammals in the Metatheria, they are characterized by giving birth to relatively undeveloped young, often residing in a pouch with the mother for a certain time after birth. 

Close to 70% of the 334 extant species occur in the Australian continent (the mainland, Tasmania, New Guinea and nearby islands) with the remaining 100 found in the Americas, primarily in South America, but with thirteen in Central America, and one in North America north of Mexico.

Source adapted from Marsupial. (2015, December 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:36, December 28, 2015, from