783.
Bushy-tailed Opossum
(Glironia venusta)
LC
Overview
This medium-sized opossum can be distinguished from other species of mouse opossum by its distinctive tail, which is well-furred and bushy almost to the tip. The generic name Glironia refers to the general resemblance of this medium-sized opossum to a dormouse, and the specific name venusta is Latin for elegant or charming. Very little is known about the ecology of this species. It inhabits both humid and dry forests, and is presumed to be arboreal because of its large opposable thumb. It is thought to be declining as a result of habitat destruction.
Urgent Conservation Actions
No official conservation recommendations have been made for this species.
Distribution
Known from the Amazonian regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.
Fact
In the past there was a popular misconception that opossums copulated through the nose and that the young were later blown out through the nostrils into the pouch! This idea may have originated from the fact that males have a forked penis, and females have a tendency to lick the pouch area before birth.
Media from ARKive
ARKive image - Bushy-tailed opossum
ARKive image - Bushy-tailed opossum specimens
ARKive image - Bushy-tailed opossum specimens
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Didelphimorphia
Family: Didelphidae
Didelphid (American opossum) remains are known from North American fossil deposits dating back 70-80 million years ago. These small marsupials are thought to have entered South America and Europe from North America, but by 10-20 million years ago they had become extinct in both of these regions. Opossums re-entered North America when the Isthmus of Panama reformed, connecting North and South America, around 3 million years ago. The family Didelphidae includes 87 species in 17 genera. Glironia venusta is the only representative of its genus. It is thought to be most closely related to the woolly opossums (Caluromys, 3 species) and black-shouldered opossum (Caluromysiops irrupta).
Description
Size: 
Head and body length: 100-215 mm
Tail length: 100-180 mm
Weight: 195-225 mm
Although similar in size and appearance to species of Marmosa, this medium-sized opossum can be distinguished by its distinctive tail which is well-furred and bushy almost to the tip. The upper parts are fawn coloured or cinnamon brown and the underparts are grey or buffy-white. The tail is the same colour as the back at the base, but gradually darkens towards the tip, which is variably coloured – it may be distinctly white or merely sprinkled with whitish hairs. A broad, prominent dark brown or black stripe extends through each eye and gives the appearance of a mask. The ears are large, oval, naked and blackish in colour. Females lack all traces of a pouch.
Ecology
Very little is known about the ecology of this species. It is presumed to be arboreal because of its large opposable thumb. It may be nocturnal. The diet is unknown, but probably consists of insects, eggs, seeds and fruit.
Habitat
Habitats are varied and include open woody vegetation of the Chaco, humid tropical forests, and dry forests.
Distribution
Specimens have been collected from the Amazonian regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.
Population Estimate
Unknown.
Population Trend
Declining.
Status
Classified as Vulnerable (VU B1+2c) on the 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Threats
Habitat destruction is thought to be the main threat to this little-known species.
Conservation Underway
Known to occur in Manu National Park in Peru.
Conservation Proposed
No official conservation recommendations have been made for this species.
References
New World Marsupial Specialist Group. 1996. Glironia venusta. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 09 August 2006.

Marshall, L. G. 1978. Glironia venusta. Mammalian Species 107:1-3.

Nowak, R.M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

Tarifa, T. and Anderson, S. 1997. Two additional records of Glironia venusta Thomas, 1912 (Marsupialia, Didelphidae) for Bolivia. Mammalia 61(1): 111-113.

Distribution map based on data provided by the IUCN Global Mammal Assessment.

if you can provide new information to update this species account or to correct any errors, please email us at info@edgeofexistence.org


Forum comments

There are as yet no comments for this species.

Add a comment

You must log in to post. If you don't have a login, it's easy to register.