Pygmy shorttailed opossum

Monodelphis kunsi

SUBFAMILY

Didelphinae

TAXONOMY

Monodelphis kunsi Pine, 1975, Beni, Bolivia. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Opossum a queue courte de Kuns; German: Kuns-Spitzmausbeutelratte; Spanish: Colicorto pigmeo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 2.4-3.1 in (6-8 cm); weight 0.6-1.2 oz (18-35 g). The back is uniform yellowish brown with paler underparts. The fur is short and dense. There is a gular gland in males, partially obscured by fur. The tail is short, slender, and almost completely covered with fine, sparse hair, except for its tip. The rostrum is conical and the eyes black. The ears are medium and naked. This is the smallest species in the genus Monodelphis.

DISTRIBUTION

Known only from a few localities in western Brazil and western Bolivia, apparently endemic to the upper Amazon river basin, below 2,100 ft (640 m).

HABITAT

Tropical moist forest, and maybe also some secondary vegetation.

BEHAVIOR

Probably solitary. It may also be nocturnal, but almost nothing is known about this species.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Presumably feeds on insects and other small animals.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous, but nothing else is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Classified by the IUCN as Endangered. Since this is a relatively rare species in nature, and western Amazonia is subject to major deforestation, the species faces serious extinction threats.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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