Marmosa tylerianaTyler's mouse opossum

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Geographic Range

Marmosa tyleriana is currently known from just four localities in the highlands of southern Venezuela. (Creighton and Gardner, 2007; Ochoa, 1985; Tate, 1933)

Habitat

Based largely on the elevation at which specimens have been collected, this species probably occurs in premontane and montane rainforest. (Creighton and Gardner, 2007)

  • Range elevation
    1300 to 2100 m
    4265.09 to 6889.76 ft

Physical Description

Like other species of mouse opossums, Marmosa tyleriana is a small, pouchless marsupial with large, membranous ears; prominent eyes; a mask of dark fur surrounding the eyes, and a long, slender, prehensile tail. The dorsal fur is dark brown and the ventral fur is gray-based buffy. Among other diagnostic traits, this species differs from other species of Marmosa by lacking postorbital processes and by having narrow zygomatic arches. Marmosa tyleriana is known from just a few specimens, so the maxima and minima provided are unlikely to represent the full range of morphometric variation in this species. It is not known if M. tyleriana is sexually dimorphic or not, but males are larger than females in many other closely related species. (Creighton and Gardner, 2007; Ochoa, 1985)

  • Range mass
    30 to 56 g
    1.06 to 1.97 oz
  • Range length
    112 to 130 mm
    4.41 to 5.12 in

Reproduction

Nothing is known about the mating system of this species.

Almost nothing has been published about reproduction in Marmosa tyleriana, but other species of Marmosa are spontaneous ovulators that give birth to highly altricial young after a short gestation. (Rossi, et al., 2010)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • iteroparous
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual

Females presumably nurse neonatal young, groom them, and protect them from predators, but other forms of parental investment are unknown.

  • Parental Investment
  • female parental care
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

Nothing is known about the lifespan of this species in the wild or in captivity.

Behavior

Nothing has been recorded about the behavior of Marmosa tyleriana, but other species of Marmosa are known to be nocturnal and arboreal/scansorial.

Home Range

Nothing is known about the home range of this species.

Communication and Perception

The eyes, ears, nasal turbinates (thin bones that support olfactory epithelium), and tactile hairs are well developed in this species (as in other opossums), so vision, hearing, and touch are probably important senses. (Tate, 1933)

Food Habits

No definite information is currently available about the food habits of this species, but its dentition is similar to that of other species of Marmosa which are known to be insectivorous and to eat fruit occasionally.

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • fruit

Predation

Nothing seems to be known about the natural predators of this species, but they probably include snakes, owls, and wild felids.

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

Marmosa tyleriana is probably a primary consumer (of fruit) and a secondary consumer (of insects). It is probably eaten by snakes, owls, and carnivorans; and it is certainly host to many species of invertebrate ecto- and endo-parasites. Probable ectoparasites include species of Arachnida (Acari: mites) and Insecta (Siphonaptera: fleas). Probable endoparasites include species of Acanthocephala (spiny-headed worms), Cestoda (tapeworms), Digenea (flukes), and Nematoda (roundworms).

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

It is unlikely that this species is of any positive economic importance.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Marmosa tyleriana on humans.

Conservation Status

Marmosa tyleriana occurs in one of the most remote and inaccessible regions of the planet, so it is unlikely to be in any immediate danger of extinction. (Creighton and Gardner, 2007)

Other Comments

Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA sequence data indicate that Marmosa tyleriana is closely related to M. murina, M. waterhousei, and M. macrotarsus. (Gutierrez, et al., 2010)

Contributors

Robert Voss (author), American Museum of Natural History, Sharon Jansa (editor), American Museum of Natural History, Alexa Unruh (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.

Glossary

Neotropical

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

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acoustic

uses sound to communicate

arboreal

Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

carnivore

an animal that mainly eats meat

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

cryptic

having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females

insectivore

An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

rainforest

rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

tactile

uses touch to communicate

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

visual

uses sight to communicate

References

Creighton, G., A. Gardner. 2007. Genus Marmosa Gray, 1821. Pp. 51-61 in A Gardner, ed. Mammals of South America, Vol. 1 (Marsupials, Xenarthrans, Shrews, and Bats). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gutierrez, E., S. Jansa, R. Voss. 2010. Molecular systematics of mouse opossums (Didelphidae: Marmosa): assessing species limits using mitochondrial DNA sequences, with comments on phylogenetic relationships and biogeography. American Museum Novitates, 3692: 1-22.

Ochoa, J. 1985. Nueva localidad para Marmosa tyleriana (Marsupialia: Didelphidae) en Venezuela. Donana, Acta Vertebrata, 12: 183-185.

Rossi, R., R. Voss, D. Lunde. 2010. A revision of the didelphid marsupial genus Marmosa. Part 1. The species in Tate's 'mexicana' and 'mitis' sections and other closely related forms. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 334: 1-81.

Tate, G. 1933. A systematic revision of the marsupial genus Marmosa. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 66: 1-250.