Marmosa tylerianaTyler's mouse opossum

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)


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


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


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


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


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)


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



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

World Map


uses sound to communicate


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.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


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.


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


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


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).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


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.


active during the night


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.


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


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


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


uses sight to communicate


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.