Although koalas are commonly called “koala bears,” they are not bears, but instead marsupials in the Diprotodontia order.

Koalas are commonly called an alternative name of koala bear because of the koala’s supposed resemblance to a bear.

Despite this name, koalas are not bears and are instead marsupials found in the Diprotodontia order with the scientific name of Phascolarctos cinereus. The generic name, Phascolarctos, is derived from the Greek words phaskolos and arktos. Phaskolos translates to pouch, referring to the female koala’s pouch that opens to the rear and extends upward and forward, and arktos translates to bear, again remarking the koala’s resemblance to species in the Ursidae family. The specific name, cinereus, is Latin for ash-colored.

Image | ©️ Nathan Rupert, Some Rights Reserved, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Dubuc & Eckroad, 1999; Kidd, 1990; Leitner & Sieloff, 1998; Nowak, 1999; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2020; Woinarski & Burbidge, 2020)


Learn More About the Koala



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