Invasive Species Compendium

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Didelphis marsupialis
(common opossum)

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Datasheet

Didelphis marsupialis (common opossum)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 13 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Natural Enemy
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Didelphis marsupialis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • common opossum
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Mammalia
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • D. marsupialis is a robust marsupial with a thick coat of fur, sharp claws, long whiskers and a primarily naked prehensile tail that is slightly longer than the body. D. marsupialis is native and wides...

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Didelphis marsupialis Linnaeus, 1758

Preferred Common Name

  • common opossum

International Common Names

  • English: black-eared opossum; common opossum
  • Spanish: chucha común; comadreja grande; comedreja; mbicuré; rabipelado; raposa; tacuazin; tlacuache sureño; yalu; zarigüeya; zorra; zorro pelón
  • French: sarigue australe

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: gambá; gambá-comum; gambá-de-orelha-preta; mucura; saruê
  • Suriname: awari; grote buidelrat

Summary of Invasiveness

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D. marsupialis is a robust marsupial with a thick coat of fur, sharp claws, long whiskers and a primarily naked prehensile tail that is slightly longer than the body. D. marsupialis is native and widespread across much of Central and South America and the Caribbean. There is some confusion over whether one of the Didelphius subspecies (possibly D. marsupialis insularis) was introduced to the Lesser Antilles from Trinidad or whether the species is indigenous but here it has been reported as playing a major role in the elimination of certain birds, especially the ground dove (Geotrygon montana). It has also been reported as one of the many predators affecting the reproductive success of the threatened western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) at many Pacific sites. In Saint Lucia, D. marsupialis has been recorded as severely impacting biodiversity and although it is seen as native by some, it is recognised as invasive. Due to its adaptive abilities D. marsupialis introductions should be avoided. 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Mammalia
  •                     Order: Marsupalia
  •                         Family: Didelphidae
  •                             Genus: Didelphis
  •                                 Species: Didelphis marsupialis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The oldest fossil records of the genus Didelphis date back to 4 million years ago and it is one of the most widespread genera in the Americas. Six species are formally recognized within the genus: Didelphis marsupialis, D. aurita, D. albiventris,D. virginiana, D. imperfecta and D. pernigra. A seventh species, D. paraguaiensis, is mentioned by informal sources as occurring in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and Paraguay but little reliable information is available to confirm its validity.

Some taxonomic uncertainty surrounds Didelphis marsupialis as some authors consider it to be the same species as D. virginiana and also D. aurita. Several DNA studies have been undertaken to explore the taxonomy; Caceres and Monteiro-Filho (2006) found that D. marsupialis is genetically closer to D. aurita than D. albiventris, with D. virginiana being considerably more distant. Another study on antihemorrhagic proteins in Didelphis species found that D. marsupialis has DM40 and DM43 as inhibitors, while D. virginiana has a homologous substance denominated oprin. Therefore, D. marsupialis and D. virginiana are considered separate species (Neves-Ferreira et al., 2000).  

Recognised subspecies of D. marsupialis include D. marsupialis caucae, D. marsupialis insularis and D. marsupialis marsupialis.

Description

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The following description is adapted from Martina (2014).

D. marsupialis is a robust marsupial with a thick coat of fur, sharp claws, long whiskers and a primarily naked prehensile tail that is slightly longer than the body. Long guard hairs give a somewhat disheveled appearance. Dorsal pelage is often dark, typically blackish or grayish, but in rare instances it may appear whitish. Ventral fur is yellow or cream. The face is mostly white with black rings around both eyes and a dark stripe extending to the crown of the head. The ears are large and completely black. Body length on average is about 371 mm (ranging from 265-430 mm).

Sexual dimorphism is observed between males and females. Males of D. marsupialis grow at a faster rate and reach larger sizes and weights than females. A study in French Guiana found that males weighed on average 1.2 kg, whereas females were typically 1.03 kg. However, other sources suggest that their body weights can range from 4 to 6 kg. Other sexual differences are observed in canine length, head and hind paw length, and head width, with females having narrower heads than males (Caceres and Monteiro- Filho, 1999; Martina, 2014).

Distribution

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The genus Didelphis is the most widely distributed marsupial genus worldwide, naturally ranging from southern Canada to central Argentina (Vaughan and Hawkins, 1999).

D. marsupialis is native and widespread across much of Central and South America and the Caribbean. It can be found to about 2000 m elevation (Emmons and Feer, 1997; Eisenberg and Redford, 1999; IUCN, 2015).

In Brazil, D. marsupialis occurs from the state of Roraima to Mato Grosso (i.e. in the Amazon and central regions), while D. albiventris is found along the eastern side from Pernambuco to Rio Grande do Sul, and D. aurita occurs from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul, also along the eastern side (Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

North America

MexicoLocalisedNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015Tamaulipas, Cozumel, Yucatán

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
ArubaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
BarbadosWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
BelizeWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
British Virgin IslandsWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
Costa RicaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
CuraçaoWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
DominicaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
El SalvadorWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
GrenadaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
GuadeloupeWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
GuatemalaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
HondurasWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
MartiniqueWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
MontserratWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
Netherlands AntillesWidespreadLong, 2003; IUCN, 2015Confusion over whether it was introduced to the Lesser Antilles from Trinidad. Here, it is reported as playing a major role in the extinction of certain bird species
NicaraguaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
PanamaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
Saint LuciaWidespread Invasive Caribbean Conservation Association, 1991Classified as native by some and alien by others, believed to have been introduced by Amerindians. Severely impacting biodiversity
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
Trinidad and TobagoWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015

South America

ArgentinaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
BoliviaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
BrazilWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006; IUCN, 2015
-AcreWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006
-AmapaWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006
-AmazonasWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006
-MaranhaoWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006
-Mato GrossoWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006
-ParaWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006
-Rio de JaneiroWidespreadNative Not invasive Fonseca, 2003In the Atlantic Forest
-Rio Grande do SulLocalisedNative Not invasive Silva, 1984Occurs in the northeastern area of Atlantic Forest, it is the southern distribution limit
-RondoniaWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006
-RoraimaWidespreadNative Not invasive Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006
French GuianaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
GuyanaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
ParaguayWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
PeruWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
SurinameWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015
VenezuelaWidespreadNative Not invasive IUCN, 2015

History of Introduction and Spread

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There is some confusion over whether one of the Didelphius subspecies (possibly D. marsupialis insularis) was introduced to the Lesser Antilles from Trinidad or whether the species is indigenous (Long, 2003).

In Saint Lucia, it is classified as native by some and alien by others, believed to have been introduced by Amerindians (Caribbean Conservation Association, 1991).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
California 1905-1910 University of California Davis (2015)

Risk of Introduction

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The species is implicated in illegal hunting and some cultures believe it has medicinal benefits (Martina, 2014).

It is highly unlikely to be introduced by accident and as it is a tropical species it is unlikely to survive at northern latitudes. 

Habitat

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D. marsupialis is a habitat generalist and tolerates a wide range of habitats, including tropical forest and subtropical forest, secondary forest and urban environments. It can be considered a pest near human dwellings and garbage dumps, as well as agricultural lands including pastures and cacao, coffee and citrus plantations. It does however, appear to be more sensitive to human disturbances than the similar species Didelphis albiventris (Martina, 2014).

It does not live at extreme altitudes (above 2232 m) or in extremely arid zones (IUCN, 2015), but it is found in montane environments in Costa Rica and may survive in areas with a wide range of precipitation. Although it may be found on the ground or in large trees, it is more terrestrial than other species in the genus (Martina, 2014).

In the dry season, Sunquist et al. (1987) found that D. marsupialis dens tended to be divided almost equally between palm/fig trees, tree cavities and underground. For urban opossums, Meier (1983) found dens in man-made structures in residential neighborhoods.

In their study, Vaughan and Hawkins (1999) found that during the late dry season in Costa Rica, D. marsupialis utilized windbreaks and living fence rows as nightly transit routes, spending the day sleeping in nests or dens in trees. Troughs, food or water tanks were used as a water source because streams were dry in the study area during the late dry season. In all probability during the late dry season in lower montane agricultural areas in Central America, the existence of living fencerows, windbreaks and human dwellings indicate that Didelphis will be present. Pastures and crops were unimportant during the late dry season in determining D. marsupialis presence and abandoned coffee plantations and tree crops were used according to their availability. Agricultural crops, coffee plantations and orchards would probably have been utilized more if they had provided food (Vaughan and Hawkins, 1999).

The habitat use index detailed by Vaughan and Hawkins (1999) showed living fence rows and spruce windbreaks to be used in a greater proportion than available; and pastures and crops were used in a lower proportion than available. Abandoned coffee and plantations/old fields were used in the same proportion as available while roads were used less than those available.

In Amapa state, northern Brazil, in the Amazon region, D. marsupialis was observed in forest, savanna and floodable habitats (Silva et al., 2013).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Buildings Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Natural
Wetlands Principal habitat Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

There are 38 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank (Encyclopedia of Life, 2015).

Reproductive Biology

D. marsupialis is polygynous and 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. Males often reach maturity before females but both sexes typically mature around 9-10 months of age (Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 1999). Females experience a 25 to 32 day estrous cycle and the gestation period is usually 14-15 days (Eisenberg, 1989).

The females build a leaf nest in a tree cavity or burrow. 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 (Vaughan and Hawkins, 1999). When resources are limited or unavailable, these animals may not mate (Martina, 2014).

Breeding seasons and the number of annual litters varies and is dependent on latitude. Breeding seasons can vary from one long season (January-September) to several shorter seasons annually. These seasons may be correlated with seasonal precipitation. Available data on D. marsupialis, mostly from Panama and Colombia, point to January as the month when the first annual breeding starts, with second litters appearing in April-May and some in August and October in Brazil (Hunsaker, 1977). In Venezuela, January was the month recorded for the annual first litters, but it was in June and July that the largest numbers of pregnant females and pouch young were caught (Telford and Tonn, 1982). Valle et al. (1981) concluded that the breeding season extends for nine months in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Didelphis females seemingly invest in larger litters when opportunities for second or third litters are reduced by cold weather, dry conditions, or when high neonatal mortality might be expected. Litter size in Didelphis is related to maternal nutritional condition as shown in body mass (Saunders and Hinds, 1997).

It is most probable that D. marsupialis has 2-3 litters a year and that breeding cycles are less well-defined than for D. virginiana in the northern hemisphere. Under laboratory conditions the size of litters was on average 10.7, larger than the averages of 6 (Tyndale-Biscoe and Mackenzie, 1976) or 6.5 (Valle et al., 1981) recorded in field studies (Motta et al., 1983).

At birth, their young are tiny; only weighing about 0.13 g and measuring about 1 cm in length. Although they are extremely under-developed, deaf and blind, newborns have well-developed claws on their front legs that help them climb to their mother’s pouch. There are usually more newborns than teats, so many will not survive (Jansen, 2002). Once inside the pouch, they remain attached to the mammae for about 50 days. Young are weaned and independent when they are 90 to 125 days old, often when fruit is plentiful. Little parental care is given to the young; males have no involvement in raising their offspring and females invest minimal effort (Martina, 2014).

A study in Venezuela determined that females with ample resources are more likely to have mostly male offspring, whereas, when resources become limited they typically have a greater number of females in their litters (Martina, 2014). The high reproductive efficiency of D. marsupialis may be due to this ability of controlling the gender of the young, which allows them to adapt to environmental conditions (Jansen, 2002).

Physiology and Phenology

Throughout their distribution, Didelphis species adjust to a variety of climates, vegetation types and foods (Vaughan and Hawkins, 1999).

D. marsupialis use a variety of perception channels, although their auditory ability develops relatively late in life and young do not fully develop their auditory capabilities until they are about 80 days old. When engaged in an aggressive encounter D. marsupialis may vocally hiss, growl or screech, rock from side to side, drool, bare their teeth, and in the case of an extreme threat, enter a catatonic state, commonly known as ‘playing possum’. Olfaction is also used to communicate; spraying urine or a secretion from their anal gland may occur when a threat is perceived. Their vision is acute and is likely on par with the visual abilities of cats; however, their visual acuity is limited when compared to some primates (Martina, 2014).

Longevity

D. marsupialis are short lived, with most living less than 2 years, but maximum lifespan can vary from 2 to 4 years (Fonseca, 2003). Highest mortality rates are observed prior to age at maturity and whilst lactating. Collisions with cars are common (Martina, 2014).

Activity Patterns

D. marsupialis are solitary and nocturnal. During the day, D. marsupialis reside in burrows, which can be underground, in palm or fig trees or tree cavities, in the tree canopy or in the abandoned nests of other species. Burrows are not maintained for long periods; males remain in the same den for about 1.5 days on average and females remain in the same den for about 5.1 days (Martina, 2014).

Males maintain a much larger home range than females. Females can average 16.3 hectares (+/- 8.2 ha), whereas males average a home range of 123 hectares (+/- 60.8 ha). Male home ranges overlap; generally, there is one individual per hectare (Martina, 2014). This species can be sympatric with D. albiventris in southeastern Brazil (IUCN, 2015) and in French Guiana (Alder et al., 2012). Further details of differences in habitat use between these two species can be found in Alder et al. (2012)

Sunquist et al. (1987) working on a ranch in Venezuela found D. marsupialis emerging from dens about an hour after sunset. However, activity decreased throughout the night. Both sexes averaged about 1 km per night and males travelled much further.

In a study in Costa Rica, D. marsupialis activity periods extended from 6 pm to 5 am, with higher intensity from 9-11 pm, and 12-2 am. Most of this activity was in trees, except for forages to garbage dumps (Vaughan and Hawkins, 1999).

Population Size and Density

Data from different ecosystems led to estimates of 1 animal per hectare in forests or grasslands, 0.1 animal per hectare in deciduous forest and 1.5 animal per hectare in moist forest. Densities of 0.25-0.75 individuals per hectare were found in Venezuela, 0.9 in llanos and of 0.09-1.32 in Panamá (O'Connell, 1979; Caceres and Monteiro-Filho, 2006; IUCN, 2015).

Nutrition

Often referred to as opportunistic omnivores, their broad diet includes invertebrates, vertebrates, leaves, fruits, nectar and carrion (Emmons and Feer, 1990). During the dry season mammals and birds are more likely to be consumed, whereas fruits, snakes and toads often make up a higher proportion of their diet in the wet season. Regardless of the season; invertebrates are a primary staple of their diet including earthworms, beetles and grasshoppers. After weaning, their diet remains fairly constant throughout their life, although older animals tend to consume vertebrates more frequently. A variety of vertebrates are eaten, including birds such as lance-tailed manikins (Chiroxiphia lanceolata), amphibians such as cane toads (Rhinella marina), reptiles such as Venezuelan rattlesnakes (Crotalus durissus) and a variety of small mammals. Their ability to consume rattlesnakes is facilitated by their apparent immunity to the venom of many members of the family Viperidae (Martina, 2014).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Common predators of D. marsupialis include owls, snakes and mammalian carnivores (Martina, 2014). In Central and South America, a number of large mammals predate upon D. marsupialis, including ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), jaguarundis (Puma yagouaroundi) and harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja). To escape predators D. marsupialis may climb trees or, less frequently, feign death, commonly known as 'playing possum'. Entering a catatonic state, they often lie on their side, tail rolled up, eyes and mouth open, and paws partially closed. This death feigning behavior may last as little as 1 minute or as long as 6 hours and can be occasionally seen in urban habitats (Parker, 1990; Martina, 2014).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

It is capable of natural spread, forming small populations.

 

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Human health Negative

Economic Impact

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Information on the species being sold from illegal hunting was found for Pará, Brazil (Barros and Azevedo, 2014), and Suriname (IUCN, 2015), but no information on negative impacts has been located, as there are no formal records of invasion by this species.

Environmental Impact

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In Saint Lucia, D. marsupialis has been recorded as severely impacting biodiversity and although it is seen as native by some, it is recognised as invasive (Caribbean Conservation Association, 1991).  

There is some confusion over whether one of the Didelphius species (possibly D. marsupialis insularis) was introduced to the Lesser Antilles from Trinidad or whether the species is indigenous but here it has been reported as playing a major role in the elimination of certain birds, especially the ground dove (Geotrygon montana). It has also been reported as one of the many predators affecting the reproductive success of the threatened western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) at many Pacific sites (Long, 2003).

It is an important seed disperser and may disperse seeds of invasive species that adhere to its fur (Martina, 2014).

Social Impact

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Information on the species being sold from illegal hunting was found for Pará, Brazil (Barros and Azevedo, 2014), and Suriname (IUCN, 2015).

D. marsupialis can negatively impact human health by transmitting diseases, such as Chagas disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi (Yeo et al., 2005) and leishmaniasis. Some reports claim that D. marsupialis may carry up to 46 species of internal and external parasites, including a range of cestodes (Mathevotaenia bivittata), nematodes (Aspidodera raillieti, Capillaria spp., Cruzia tentaculata, Moennigia spp., Spirura guianensis, Trichuris reesali) and Acanthocephala (Oncicola campanulata) (Martina, 2014).

It can be considered a pest near human dwellings and garbage dumps, as well as agricultural lands, including pastures and cacao, coffee and citrus plantations. It has also been implicated with killing bats caught in research mist nets (Martina, 2014).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Pathogenic

Uses

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Economic Value

Occasional commercial hunting occurs in Suriname with exportation of meat to French Guiana (IUCN, 2015).

In the state of Pará, in the Amazon region in Brazil, this species is illegally hunted and sold commercially for medicinal purposes for about US$ 18 per animal. Its meat is prized by inhabitants as it is classified as tasty, soft and, in some cases, it is designated as the best bush meat in the region (Barros and Azevedo, 2014).

Social Benefit

Some cultures believe that the fat can be used to treat a variety of ailments including stomach aches, rheumatism, diarrhea, inflammation, skin infections, labor pains, asthma, headaches, toothaches, ear aches and sore throats (Martina, 2014).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Meat and bonemeal

General

  • Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)

Human food and beverage

  • Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Didelphis albiventris occurs in southern Brazil, partly in the same range as D. marsupialis but a key difference between the two species is the colour of the inner ear, which is black for D. marsupialis but white for D. albiventris (Emmons and Feer, 1990). D. marsupialis are included in the ‘black-eared opossum’ group, along with big-eared opossums (D. aurita) which occur along the eastern coast of Brazil, from Alagoas to Santa Catarina, as well as in Mato Grosso do Sul, southeastern Paraguay, northeastern Argentina and Misiones (Martina, 2014).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

Preventing the introduction of this species for any purpose is highly important given its biological traits and adaptability. As there is no economic value attached to the species except in a very restricted area in its native range, intentional introductions are unlikely, but should be regulated and avoided.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Confusion still exists as to whether it has been introduced to those areas where it is reported as negatively impacting biodiversity. 

References

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Adler GH, Carvajal A, Davis-Foust SL, Dittel JW, 2012. Habitat associations of opossums and rodents in a lowland forest in French Guiana. Mammalian Biology-Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 31;77(2):84-9.

Barros FB, Azevedo Pde A, 2014. Common opossum (Didelphis marsupialis Linnaeus, 1758): food and medicine for people in the Amazon. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 10(65):(10 September 2014). http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/pdf/1746-4269-10-65.pdf

Caceres NC, Monteiro-Filho ELA, 1999. Body size of natural Didelphis populations in Southern Brazil. (Tamanho corporal em populacoes naturais de Didelphis (Mammalia: Marsupialia) do sul do Brasil.) Revista Brasileira de Biologia, 59(3):461-469.

Caceres NC, Monteiro-Filho ELA, 2006. Brazilian marsupials (Os marsupiais do Brasil: biologia, ecologia e evolucao). Campo Grande, Brazil: Editora UFMS, 364 pp.

Caribbean Conservation Association, 1991. St. Lucia Country Environmental Profile. St. Lucia Country Environmental Profile. Castries, Saint Lucia 335 pp.

Cerqueira R, Tribe C, 2008. Genus Didelphis Linnaeus, 1758. In: Mammals of South America: Marsupials, Xenarthrans, Shrews, and Bats, 1 [ed. by Gardner, A.]. Chicago, USA: University of Chicago Press, 17-25 pp.

Eisenberg JF, 1989. Mammals of the neotropics - the northern neotropics, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, 1. Chicago, USA: The University of Chicago Press, 550 pp.

Eisenberg JF, Redford KH, 1999. Mammals of the neotropics - the central neotropics, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, 3. Chicago, USA: The University of Chicago Press, 624 pp.

Emmons LH, Feer F, 1990. Neotropical rainforest mammals a field guide. Chicago, USA: The University of Chicago Press, 14-15.

Emmons LH, Feer F, 1997. Neotropical rainforest mammals - a field guide, 2. Chicago, USA: The University of Chicago Press, 396 pp.

Encyclopedia of Life, 2015. Encyclopedia of Life. www.eol.org

Fonseca EAF, 2003. Didelphis albiventris adaptations to the urban environment (Adaptacoes de Didelphis albiventris para o ambiente urbano)., Brasilia: Centro Universitario de Brasilia, 16 pp.

Gardner AL, 2005. Order Didelphimorphia. In: Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference, 3 [ed. by Wilson, D. E. \Reeder, D. M.]. Baltimore, USA: Johns Hopkins University Press, 3-18.

Gardner AL, 2007. Mammals of South America: Marsupials, Xenarthrans, Shrews, and Bats, 1. Chicago, USA: The University of Chicago Press, 669 pp.

Graipel ME, Santos Filho, M, 2006. Reproduction and population dynamics of Didelphis aurita Wied-Neuwied (Mammalia: Didelphimorphia) in periurban environment on Santa Catarina island., southern Brazil. (Reproducao e dinamica populacional de Didelphis aurita Wied-Neuwied (Mammalia: Didelphimorphia) em ambiente periurbano na ilha de Santa Catarina, sul do Brasil.) Biotemas, 19(1):65-73.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Animal Diversity Web - Didelphis marsupialishttp://animaldiversity.org/site/accounts/information/Didelphis_marsupialis.html
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - Didelphis marsupialishttp://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40501/0

Contributors

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30/03/15 Original text by:

Silvia Renate Ziller, The Horus Institute for Environmental Conservation and Development, Servidao Cobra Coral, 111- Campeche, Florianopolis - SC, Brazil

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