Didelphis marsupialis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Didelphimorphia Didelphidae

Scientific Name: Didelphis marsupialis Linnaeus, 1758
Common Name(s):
English Common Opossum, Black-eared Opossum, Southern Opossum
French Sarigue Australe
Spanish Comadreja Grande

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-02-19
Assessor(s): Astua de Moraes, D., Lew, D., Costa, L.P. & Pérez-Hernandez, R.
Reviewer(s): Martin, G.M.
This species is listed as Least Concern because of its wide distribution, presumed large population, tolerance to habitat modification, occurrence in a number of protected areas and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category. Although hunted or trapped locally for food, sport and as predators of poultry, the species does not appear to have been adversely affected by human settlement. Commercial hunting for fur trade does not appear to have much impact.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is found from Tamaulipas, Mexico, and in Cozumel and the Yucatan Peninsula, south to Perú, Bolivia, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina, including Trinidad and the Lesser Antilles (Emmons and Feer 1997, Eisenberg and Redford 1999, Gardner 2008). It can be found to about 2,000 m. a.s.l. (Eisenberg and Redford 1999, Emmons and Feer 1997).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is common, and is hunted for meat only where other game is scarce (Emmons and Feer 1997). Densities of 0.25-2.5 individuals per hectare are found in Venezuela (August 1984, O'Connell 1979), of 0.22-0.45 in French Guiana (Atramentowicz 1986, Charles-Dominique et al. 1981, Julien-Laferriere 1991) and of 0.09-1.32 in Panamá (Fleming 1972).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species tolerates a wide variety of habitats, including rainforest and subtropical forest, secondary forest, and near human settlements where they feed on garbage. However, the species appears to be more sensitive to human disturbances than Didelphis albiventris. This species does not live at extreme altitudes (above 2,232 m) or in extremely arid zones.

The species has been reasonably well studied in the northern portion of its range. It is nocturnal, arboreal, and usually solitary, although two or more individuals may be encountered together during the breeding season when males actively court females. The females build a leaf nest in a tree cavity or burrow. Litter size varies with latitude, with smallest litters near the equator. Gestation period takes fourteen to fifteen days (Eisenberg 1989). Given adequate shelter and a sustained food supply, the home range of a lactating female may be rather stable, but the animals are opportunistic feeders and readily shift home ranges to adapt to fluctuating resources. Mean home-range varied from 165 ha for males, to 27 ha for females.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted only where other game is scarce (Emmons and Feer 1997).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats known to this species. In Suriname, it is collected for its meat which is illegally exported to French-Guiana (J. de Bruin, in litt.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species can be found in many protected areas throughout its range.

Citation: Astua de Moraes, D., Lew, D., Costa, L.P. & Pérez-Hernandez, R. 2016. Didelphis marsupialis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T40501A22176071. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
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