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Didelphis marsupialis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA DIDELPHIMORPHIA DIDELPHIDAE

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

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Brito, D., Astua de Moraes, D., Lew, D., Soriano, P., Emmons, L., Cuarón, A.D, Helgen, K., Reid, R. & Vazquez, E.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species is listed as Least Concern in because of its wide distribution, presumed large population, tolerance of 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 the fur trade does not appear to have much impact.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is found from Tamaulipas, Mexico and is Cozumel and the Yucatan, south to Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina, including Trinidad and the Lesser Antilles (Emmons and Feer, 1997; Eisenberg and Redford, 1999; Gardner, 2007). It can be found to about 2,000 m elevation (Eisenberg and Redford, 1999; Emmons and Feer, 1997).
Countries:
Native:
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
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 0.25-0.75 individuals per hectare are found in Venezuela (O'Connell, 1979), and of 0.09-1.32 in Panamá (Fleming 1972).
Population Trend: Stable

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, this 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.

This species has been reasonably well studied in the northern portion of its range. It is nocturnal, arboreal, and usually solitary, although two or more 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 ranged up to 123 ha for males, and to 16 ha for females. This species can be sympatric with D. albiventris in southeastern Brazil.
Systems: Terrestrial

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 (John de Bruin, in litt.).

Conservation Actions [top]

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

Citation: Brito, D., Astua de Moraes, D., Lew, D., Soriano, P., Emmons, L., Cuarón, A.D, Helgen, K., Reid, R. & Vazquez, E. 2008. Didelphis marsupialis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 July 2014.
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