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), Monodelphis pinocchio Pavan, 2015 and Monodelphis saci Pavan, 2017.


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]

The genus Monodelphis is marsupial; they are born under-developed and then mature further in the mother's pouch. Another genus in the subfamily is the large American opossum Didelphis, which has a generally similar reproductive development, but differs in their weaning periods. In Monodelphis, the young first come off the teat in 12 days, whereas this occurs at 48 days in Didelphis. Most of the events in this process occur about 2–4 weeks later in Didelphis than in Monodelphis. This may be related to the shorter longevity of the species of Monodelphis compared to other marsupials who nurse 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”, Science, 31 January 1997: 275 no. 5300 pp. 683-684 DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5300.683.

External links[edit]