Chironectes minimus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Didelphimorphia Didelphidae

Scientific Name: Chironectes minimus (Zimmermann, 1780)
Common Name(s):
English Water Opossum, Yapok
French Yapock
Spanish Cuica de Agua, Perrito de Agua, Raposa de Agua, Yapó
Lutra minima Zimmermann, 1780

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-08-05
Assessor(s): Pérez-Hernandez, R., Brito, D., Tarifa, T., Cáceres, N., Lew, D. & Solari, S.
Reviewer(s): Martin, G.M. & Teta, P.
This species is listed as Least Concern because of its wide distribution, presumed large population, 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. Populations of this species are threatened by deforestation, contamination and deterioration of freshwater ecosystems.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species has a disjunct distribution, extending from southern Mexico (Oaxaca and Tabasco), through Central America to Colombia, most of Venezuela, northern Guyana and French Guiana, Suriname, the mouth of the Amazon river in Brazil, Ecuador, Perú and Bolivia, and a different area in southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, northeastern Argentina (Misiones) and northern Uruguay (Stein and Patton 2008). It occurs from sea level up to 1,860 m in Argentina (Eisenberg 1989) and 1,830 in Ecuador (D. Tirira pers. comm.). The scattered records in the central Amazon are likely a sampling artefact. Occurs up to 1800 m in Central America (Reid 1997). Taxonomic revisionary work is still needed to demonstrate if populations correspond to one or more species.
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; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1860
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species seems to be common where it occurs, but absent from many regions (Emmons and Feer 1997). The species is rare in Venezuela, although some authors think it is only rarely encountered due to its nocturnal habits and inaccessible habitats (Marshall 1978). Others believe that C. minimus is rare in all areas except Central American river systems (Emmons and Feer 1997).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Solitary species is nocturnal, terrestrial and semi aquatic, it is carnivorous, eating small fish, crabs, crustaceans, insects that it catches in the water, and occasionally frogs. Prey is captured with either the front feet or the mouth. The species lives in areas of permanent water courses such as streams or rivers, usually with a forest cover, although it has been found in plantations and other disturbed habitats. It is an excellent swimmer and diver, paddling with its hind feet and using its tail as a rudder, with eyes and top of the head just above water. The den is usually a subterranean cavity, reached through a hole in the stream bank just above water level, where individuals build a nest. In captivity animals have been observed to transport nesting material with their tails (Emmons and Feer 1997, Marshall 1978). Most records are from clear rivers, lakes, and streams in hilly areas, may be rare or absent from silt-laden lowland watercourses. Litter size is one to five, with two to three most common. The female keeps the young in her pouch when she swims. In captivity one female had her first oestrous cycle at ten months of age.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to the conservation of this species. Although captured for its skin, demand for marsupial fur has subsided in recent years (Eisenberg 1993). Usually requires water courses with vegetation cover. Some authors state it cannot occur where this habitat is degraded or destroyed, others have recorded the species in plantations and other agricultural areas. Artisanal gold-mining in French Guiana and other parts of the species' range might degrade water courses posing a serious threat to certain populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is found in many protected areas.

Citation: Pérez-Hernandez, R., Brito, D., Tarifa, T., Cáceres, N., Lew, D. & Solari, S. 2016. Chironectes minimus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T4671A22173467. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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