Gray foureyed opossum

Philander opossum

SUBFAMILY

Didelphinae

TAXONOMY

Didelphis opossum (Linnaeus, 1758), Paramaribo, Surinam. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Opossum a quatre yeux; German: Vieraugenbeutel-ratte; Spanish: Tlacuache cuatro ojos, zorro cuatro ojos, comadreja cuatro ojos.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 8-13 in (20-33 cm); weight 7-24.7 oz (200-700 g). This relatively large opossum has dense and relatively short hair that varies from pale gray to dark gray dorsally and yellowish white ventrally. The cheeks and chin are also yellowish white, as are two conspicuous spots just above the eyes, which give this species its common name. The ears are large and naked, blackish with pink bases. There is a marsupial pouch that stains orange if the female has had young. The tail in most individuals is bicolored with the base dark and the final third to half white, naked, and scaly except the basal 0.8 in (2 cm), which are furred.

DISTRIBUTION

From eastern and southern Mexico south through Central America and into South America to Bolivia, Paraguay, northeastern Argentina, and southeastern Brazil.

HABITAT

Inhabits dense tropical moist forests, secondary areas, orchards, and other agricultural and modified ecosystems. It has been recorded from sea level up to about 5,400 ft (1,650 m). It is most abundant near streams, rivers, and other water bodies.

BEHAVIOR

When threatened, it hisses and gasps, snapping at the intruder. This is a mostly nocturnal species but sometimes may be active by day. Although most of the time it stays on the ground, it may also climb into trees. Like other didelphids, gray four-eyed opossums are solitary. When it is asleep, it rolls into a ball and the eyes are not visible, but the bright spots above the eyes give the appearance of an awake and alert opossum.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

The four-eyed opossum is omnivorous. It feeds on many species of tropical and introduced fruits, corn, palm fruits, flower nectar, frogs, birds, rodents, and other small vertebrates, snails, insects, crustaceans, and carrion. Insects are most frequently eaten in the dry season. They tend to take fruits that are larger than 2 in (5 cm) in diameter and that are fleshy, juicy, with high contents of sugars or lipids, and low levels of nitrogen.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygamous. Breeds throughout the year or seasonally, depending on the region. Females have seven mammae. Although there may be more babies born than this number, a maximum of seven can be found in the pouch. Females may have more than one birth per year. They construct a nest of litter and other vegetation in tree limbs, in hollows in standing or fallen trees, or in dens underground. The nest is spherical and about 11.8 in (30 cm) in diameter. Litters of one to seven with an average of about five are reported. Females are sexually receptive when they are seven months old. Maximum longevity is about 2.5 years in the wild and 3.5 years in captivity.

CONSERVATION STATUS

This is generally an abundant species that can live in both pristine and disturbed conditions. It can also live in houses in rural areas. The IUCN has not listed it, and it does not seem to be threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Sometimes considered a nuisance because it may raid henhouses. This species and other didelphids are reservoirs of Try-panosoma cruzi, the protozoan that causes Chagas' disease.

Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior

Distribution

Diet

Conservation status

Black-shouldered opossum CaluromysIops Irrupta French: Opossum àépaules noires; German: Bindenwollbeutelratten; Spanish: Cuica de hombros negros

Brown four-eyed opossum Metachirus nudicaudatus French: Brun opossum àyeux; German:

Nacktschwanzbeutelratte; Spanish: Tlacuache cuatro ojos café, zorricí, cuica; Portuguese: Jupati

Southern opossum Didelphis marsupialis English: Common opossum; German: Nordopossum; Spanish: Tlacuache común, cuica, zorro; Portuguese: Gambá, saruê

Northern gracile mouse opossum

Gracilinanus marica Spanish: Chuchita costeña

Grayish mouse opossum Marmosa canescens French: Souris-opossum grisâtre; Spanish: Tlacuatzin; raton tlacuache

Elegant fat-tailed opossum Thylamys elegans English: Chilean mouse opossum; French: Opossum àqueue adipeuse elegant; German: Elegantes Fettschwanzopossum; Spanish: Yaca, llaca

[continued]

Pearl gray dorsal fur with black patches extending from the shoulders down to each forefoot. From the shoulder patches, two parallel black lines run down the back to the rump. Tail is sparsely covered with hair and grayish black except for the final few inches (centimeters) which are white.

Uniform brown dorsum. Pale spots just above the eyes that give the appearance of a second set of eyes. Long, thin, tapered tail, which is naked and virtually unicolored. Length 8.3-11.8 in (21-30 cm).

Dark gray or blackish to pale gray with long, dense fur. The tail is long and naked, bicolor with the basal half black and the rest whitish. Length 12.6-19.7 in (32-50 cm).

Uniform reddish brown pelage on the back. Underparts paler. One large black patch over each eye. There is no pouch.

Small opossum with grayish brown dorsal hair and a long, slender, tapered, prehensile, and naked tail. Two large black patches surround the eyes. Length 2.4-4.3 in (6-11 cm).

Nocturnal and solitary. Primarily arboreal species. Lives in undisturbed tropical moist forests.

Southeastern Peru and extreme western Brazil in the upper Amazon River basin.

Fruit, insects, eggs, and small vertebrates.

Vulnerable

Solitary and nocturnal. Mostly Extreme southern Mexico Arthropods, bird eggs,

The hair is thick and dense, pale brown on the sides with a wide dark stripe along the back and paler underparts. The rostrum is short and conical and the ears medium sized and naked. The tail is almost completely naked and seasonally it is used to store fat reserves. Dark and rust-brown with white-tipped tail. Length 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm).

found in tropical moist forests. Rarely goes into trees, generally running along the forest floor. Sea level to bout 3,900 ft (1,200 m).

Solitary and nocturnal. Terrestrial and arboreal. Movement in trees is aided by a prehensile tail. Females carry young in their pouch. Found in moist and dry tropical forests, cloud forests, semidesertic habitats, secondary vegetation, agricultural lands, and edges of towns and cities. Important as a reservoir of Trypanosoma cruzi which causes Chagas disease.

Solitary and nocturnal. Primarily arboreal. Lives in tropical and subtropical moist and dry forests and even in savannas, at an altitude of 4,920-8,530 ft (1,5002,600 m).

Solitary and nocturnal, mainly arboreal species. Makes spherical nests with vegetation among tree branches or in hollow trees, but has been found roosting inside hummingbird nests. Feeds primarily on insects but also on fruit, eggs, and small vertebrates. Found in tropical dry forest from sea level up to about 5,250 ft (1,600 m).

Solitary, semiarboreal, and nocturnal. This species lives in cloud forest, temperate southern rainforest, and scrub associated with forest edges. They build nests with plant matter and hairs among tree or shrub branches, or underground.

through Central America south to southern Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina.

Central and eastern Mexico south to eastern Peru, northern Bolivia, and Brazil.

Northern Colombia and western Venezuela.

Endemic to western Mexico.

Southwestern coastal Peru and western Chile.

nestlings and other small vertebrates, fruit.

Not listed by IUCN

Omnivorous; feeds on fruit, insects and other invertebrates, small vertebrates, and carrion.

Not threatened

Insects and other arthropods, eggs, and fruit.

Fruit, arthropods, bird eggs and nestlings; also small animals such as snakes, bats, and lizards.

Lower Risk/Near Threatened

Data Deficient

90% of their diet is composed of insects but they also eat fruit, eggs, and small vertebrates.

Not listed by IUCN

Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior

Distribution

Diet

Conservation status

Small fat-tailed opossum Gray to brown on the back and white Thylamys pusilla underparts. Short and conical rostrum.

English: White-bellied fat-tailed Tail relatively long, almost naked. It can mouse opossum; French: Petit opossum à queue adipeuse; German: Kleines Fettschwanzopossum; Spanish: Comadrejita, marmosa común

Slaty slender mouse opossum Marmosops invictus English: Slaty mouse opossum; French: Opossum schisteux de souris; Spanish: Marmosa de montaña store reserves and appear fatter seasonally. Length 4-5.5 In (10-14 cm).

Solitary, semlarboreal, and nocturnal. Found In the Andean piedmont and further above, from desert areas to submontane habitats.

Southern Brazil and Bolivia, Paraguay, and northern and central Argentina.

Mostly insects and other arthropods, but also fruit, eggs, and small vertebrates.

Not listed by IUCN

Dorsal hairs reddish brown to dark brown Solitary, semlarboreal, and paler underparts. Tall uniformly dark nocturnal species. Found in brown. Black patches on eyes. Length rainforest at intermediate

Eastern Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Mostly insectivorous but also eats fruit, eggs, and small vertebrates.

Lower Risk/Near Threatened

Southern short-tailed opossum Unicolored gray-brown on the back, with Solitary, terrestrial, diurnal. Southern Brazil, Uruguay, Mostly insectivorous Lower Risk/Near

Monodelphis dimidiata English: Yellow-sided opossum, eastern short-tailed opossum; Spanish: Colicorto pampeano

Black four-eyed opossum Philander andersoni Spanish: Comadreja cuatro ojos negra

Orange mouse opossum Marmosa xerophila English: Dryland mouse opossum; French: Souris-opossum orange; Spanish: Marmosa del desierto, comadrejita de los desiertos a short tail that is nearly naked. The snout is elongated and conical, and the ears are relatively short. Length 4.3-7.9 in (11-20 cm).

Grayish black sides and a black stripe down the center of the dorsum. Two bright pale spots above the eyes that resemble a second pair of eyes. Tail as long as the head and body, naked, and bicolor: basal half dark, the rest white. Length 9-11 in (23-28 cm).

The dorsum and flanks are orange-yellow and underparts white. Large, naked ears. Black patches on the eyes. Long, naked, semiprehensile tail. 3.5-5.5 in (9-14 cm).

Found in pampas grasslands, and Argentina. induced grasslands, and wetlands. Males and females reproduce only once in their lifetime.

Solitary and nocturnal. Northern and western Primarily terrestrial but also Amazon basin, from climbs trees. Lives in lowland Venezuela and eastern tropical moist forest. Females Colombia south through have a pouch to protect young. western Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.

Solitary and nocturnal. Mostly Northeastern Colombia arboreal but readily takes to and northwestern the ground. Inhabits desert Venezuela. and semidesert areas.

and not too carnivorous. Probably feeds also on fruit and eggs.

Omnivorous; feeds on insects, small vertebrates, eggs, and fruit.

Primarily insectivorous. Also feeds on birds' eggs and fruit.

Threatened

Not listed by IUCN

Endangered

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