Honey Possum (Nectar feeder)
Main food source/chemical composition
Grass (fibre/starch) / sugars, proteins, oils, other nutrients
Meat, bones / proteins, fats
Nectar & pollen /
High sugar content (sucrose, glucose, fructose), carbohydrates
Function of various structures within their digestive systems
Four stomach chambers:
Rumen – bacteria and protozoa break down cellulose.
Reticulum - Once rumen is full goat regurgitates, the reticulum allows for this to happen.
Omasum – bacteria and micro-organisms breakdown food.
Obomasum – secretes acid and enzymes to break down proteins and fats.
Stomach contains hydrochloric acids which dissolves food that they’ve consumed.
Microbial fermentation occurs in the large intestine.
Stomach stores nectar.
Stomach lining releases mucus.
Digestion of pollen takes place in the intestine.
Comparison of digestive systems
Goats have a relatively larger caecum compared to a dog
Goats have a larger more complex digestive system compared to both dogs and honey possums.
Honey possums have an absence of a caecum unlike both a dog and a goat.
Honey possums have relatively simple digestive system.
Like possums dogs have relatively short intestine compared to goats.
Discussion of chemical breakdown
Microbes in the gut help break down the cellulose found in grass.
Caecum hosts a number of bacteria which helps the enzymes breakdown cellulose. microbial fermentation in large intestine
Specialisation / adaptation
They have no canines or incisors in their upper jaw since they don’t need to tear or rip grass flat molars for grinding grass
Larger more prominent canines for tearing flesh
The teeth are reduced greatly apart from the two front teeth in the lower jaw. This suits their diet since they feed largely on nectar which has no reason to be mechanically broken down.