Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Marsupial Species

Grey Slender Opossum, Marmosops incanus, Photo credit: Geiser Trivelato

A recent report describes a new species of mouse opossum from the highlands of Guyana and Venezuela. The new species (Marmosops pakaraimae) is apparently closely related to a species (M. parvidens) that inhabits the adjacent lowland areas.

Pakaraima Highlands of Venezuela, Photo credit: all-that-is-interesting.com 

Mouse opossums are a genus of American opossum found in South America. Size, climbing ability, and habitat vary among species, with some favoring an arboreal habit and others tending to spend more time on the ground. They are usually found in moist tropical forests.

M. parvidens, Photo credit: Marcial Quiroga C / fotonatura
Their diet is somewhat opportunistic, but includes insects, spiders, snails, small vertebrates, fruit, and flowers. Like other opossums, Marmosops species are primarily solitary and nocturnal. They possess a prehensile tail. Interestingly, they lack a pouch, and instead, carry their young on the outside of their body.

Read the report by Robert Voss and colleagues here: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1206/3778.2

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