The mammalian fauna of Australia is distinctive. Only on the continental island of Australia and the smaller island of New Guinea do representatives occur of all three extant major groups of mammals. Only on the Australian continent, however, do the marsupials exhibit such diversity of species and numbers of individuals. Two of the extant species of monotremes are found in Australia. Indeed, the usual perception of the mammalian fauna of Australia emphasises the monotremes and marsupials. This perception, no matter how fascinating are these two groups of mammals, frequently ignores the abundance and diversity of other significant components of the Australian fauna: the rodents, the bats and the marine mammals.

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