- Terrestrial Biomes
Like all species of the genus Philander, this species has lighter spots above the eyes, giving the appearance of “four eyes.” It also has a slim body and a relatively large head with a long, conical-shaped muzzle. All species in this genus also have slim, partially furred prehensile tails that are equal to or longer than the body length. Individuals have opposable pollex on the forefeet and opposable hallux on the hindfeet. Females have fully developed pouches. (Hershkovitz, 1997; Nowak, 2005)
The distribution of Philander opossum canus along the Paraguay River in Paraguay and Brazil; however, can be distinguished by a postorbital constriction wider than 10.5 mm. (Chemisquy and Flores, 2012)overlaps with the physically similar
- Range mass
- 120 to 230 g
- 4.23 to 8.11 oz
- Range length
- 210 to 285 mm
- 8.27 to 11.22 in
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Range number of offspring
- 1 to 7
- Average number of offspring
- Range gestation period
- 13 to 14 days
- Range weaning age
- 70 to 80 days
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 352 days
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 282 days
- Range territory size
- 0.006 to 0.074 km^2
Communication and Perception
Although little is known about P. opossum uses at least three sounds to communicate: a clicking sound, a hiss when threatened, and a squeak, which may be used as a mating call by females. 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. Which of these senses is actually used for communication is unknown. (Hershkovitz, 1997)communication and perception, it is known that the closely related
Coleoptera, Opiliones, Diplopoda, and Blattariae, are an important food source for in Brazil. Juveniles consume less vertebrates, perhaps because of their smaller size and inability to subdue vertebrate prey. All age classes ate more fruits during the wet season. (Ceotto, et al., 2009; Cáceras, 2004)is omnivorous, consuming birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and fruits. Studies in Brazil found that, of all individuals caught, 29-81% had eaten fruits, 20-57% had eaten small vertebrates, and 94-100% had eaten invertebrates. This indicates that invertebrates, especially from the orders
A similar study performed by Macedo and collegues (2010) in two forest fragments of Brazil found that the diet of Hymenoptera, Arachnida, and carrion. They also found seeds belonging to pioneer plant species in fecal matter, confirming that this species uses and forages in areas disturbed by humans. (Macedo, et al., 2010)also consisted largely of
- Primary Diet
- Animal Foods
- terrestrial non-insect arthropods
- aquatic crustaceans
- Plant Foods
There are no known predators of Philander opossum, it is most likely preyed upon by wild felids, wild mustelids, foxes, large owls, and large snakes. In fact, remains of P. opossum have been found in the feces of the viper Bothrops asper. Opossums of the species P. opossum are also occasionally consumed by humans in Guyana, and could also be a food source for humans. (Hershkovitz, 1997; Voss, 2013), but, like the closely related
Species in the genus Philander have been known to host many endoparasites including viruses, protozoans, fungi, roundworms (Nematoda), flukes (Trematoda), and tapeworms (Cestoda) and ectoparasites including lice (Mallophaga), fleas (Siphonaptera), mites, ticks, and chiggers (Acarina). Philander species are also a known reservoir for Trapanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis in humans and animals. (Hershkovitz, 1997)
In addition, since Philander species consume fruits, are mostly terrestrial, and move often, they are potential dispersers of seeds. One study by Medellin (1994) did find that the closely related Philander opossum does disperse seeds of Cecropia obtusifolia, a tree species important in succession of forests, into adequate germination sites such as light gaps, which other arboreal frugivores do not reach. (Medellín, 1994)
- Trapanosoma cruzi
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
It is unlikely that this species is of any positive economic importance for humans.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Rachel Cable (author), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
uses sound to communicate
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
- 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.
flesh of dead animals.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
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
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.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals
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.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
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
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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