/wol"euh bee/, n., pl. wallabies, (esp. collectively) wallaby.
any of various small and medium-sized kangaroos of the genera Macropus, Thylogale, Petrogale, etc., some of which are no larger than rabbits: several species are endangered.
[1790-1800; < Dharuk wa-la-ba]

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Any of about 25 species of medium-sized kangaroos, found chiefly in Australia.

Brush wallabies (11 species) are built like the big kangaroos but differ in dentition. Rock wallabies live among rocks, usually near water. Nail-tailed wallabies, named for a horny growth on the tail tip, rotate their forelimbs while hopping. The small hare wallabies resemble hares in movement and some habits. The small, stocky scrub wallabies, hunted for meat and fur, have short hind limbs and pointy noses. The similar short-tailed scrub wallaby occurs only on two offshore islands of western Australia. Several wallaby species have been exterminated, and several others are endangered.

Bridled nail-tailed wallaby (Onychogalea fraenata).

© Mitch Reardon
National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers

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      any of several middle-sized marsupial mammals belonging to the kangaroo family, Macropodidae (see kangaroo). They are found chiefly in Australia. The 11 species of brush wallabies (genus Macropus, subgenus Protemnodon) are built like the big kangaroos but differ somewhat in dentition. Their head and body length is 45 to 105 cm (18 to 41 inches), and the tail is 33 to 75 cm long. A common species is the red-necked wallaby (M. rufogriseus), with reddish nape and shoulders, which inhabits brushlands of southeastern Australia and Tasmania; this species is often seen in zoos. The pretty-faced wallaby, or whiptail (M. elegans, or M. parryi), with distinctive cheek marks, is found in open woods of coastal eastern Australia.

 The six named species of rock wallabies (Petrogale) live among rocks, usually near water. They are prettily coloured in shades of brown and gray and are distinguished by stripes, patches, or other markings. They are extremely agile on rocky terrain. The three species of nail-tailed wallabies (Onychogalea; see photograph—>) are named for a horny growth on the tail tip. They are handsomely striped at the shoulder. Because they rotate their forelimbs while hopping, they are often called organ-grinders. Two species are endangered.

      The two species of hare wallabies (Lagorchestes) are small animals that have the movements and some of the habits of hares. Often called pademelons, the three species of scrub wallabies (Thylogale) of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and Tasmania are small and stocky, with short hind limbs and pointy noses. They are hunted for meat and fur. A similar species is the short-tailed scrub wallaby, or quokka (Setonix brachyurus); this species is now restricted to two offshore islands of Western Australia.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • wallaby — [wä′lə bē] n. pl. wallabies or wallaby [< Australian native name wolabā] any of various small and medium sized herbivorous marsupials (family Macropodidae) that are very similar to kangaroos …   English World dictionary

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  • wallaby — ► NOUN (pl. wallabies) ▪ an Australasian marsupial similar to but smaller than a kangaroo. ORIGIN Dharuk (an Aboriginal language) …   English terms dictionary

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  • wallaby — /ˈwɒləbi / (say woluhbee) noun (plural wallabies or, especially collectively, wallaby) 1. any of various smaller members of the family Macropodidae, many resembling kangaroos, belonging to a number of different genera, as Macropus (as the tammar… …  

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