Short-tailed opossum

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Short-tailed opossums
Monodelphis domestica.jpg
Gray Short-tailed Opossum
Monodelphis domestica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Didelphimorphia
Family: Didelphidae
Subfamily: Didelphinae
Genus: Monodelphis
Burnett, 1830
Type species
Monodelphis brachyura
Burnett, 1830

see text

Monodelphis is a genus of marsupials in the family Didelphidae, commonly referred to as short-tailed opossums. They are found throughout South America. The most recently described species are Monodelphis arlindoi Pavan, Rossi & Schneider, 2012, Monodelphis sanctaerosae Voss, Pine & Solari, 2012 and Monodelphis gardneri Solari et al., 2012, with reinstatement of Monodelphis touan (Shaw, 1800), and Monodelphis pinocchio Pavan, 2015.


Speciation is based on fur coloration with additional details coming from differences in the skull and teeth. [1]

Conservation status[edit]

M. sorex and M. rubida are considered to be endangered. M. dimidiata is unusual in that it is a semelparous species, something rarely seen in mammals (found predominately in smaller didelphids and dasyurids).

Reproductive Development[edit]

Since the Monodelphis genus are marsupials, such as the Kangaroos and Koala, they are born under developed and then further mature in the pouch of the mother. Another genus in the subfamily is the Didelphis or Large American Opossum, which was thought to have a similar reproductive development as the Monodelphis genus, but they do differ in their weaning periods. In the Monodelphis, the young first come off the teat in 12 days where as the Didelphis comes off at 48 days. For most of the events in this process, the Didelphis will complete it in about 2-4 weeks later than the Monodelphis. This may also explain why the species of Monodelphis do not live as long as other marsupials who are weaned for a longer period. [2]

  1. ^ Solari, Sergio. A Molecular Perspective on the Diversification of Short-Tailed Opossums (Monodelphis: Didelphidae). Mastozoología Neotropica 17.2 (2010): 317-33. Scientific Electronic Library Online.
  2. ^ Smith, K.K., "Comparative Rates of Development in Monodelphis and Didelphis”, Department of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy, 1997.


External links[edit]