Caluromys derbianus is the largest species in the genus. It is a long, slender animal weighing from 200 to 400 grams. The common name of this opossum is derived from its woolly pelage. A dark strip is often present running from the crown to the fleshy portion of the nose. Pelage color shows much geographic variation. Its ears are creamy white to pink. All digits of the front and hind feet are clawed with the exception of the opposable hallux. The tail constitutes up to two-thirds of its total length. The latter half of the tail is naked and prehensile. Barrington and Willis (1973) ; Bucher and Hoffmann (1980)
Average mass: 330 g.
Average basal metabolic rate: 1.194 W.
Habitat and Ecology
The woolly opossum inhabits both lowland and highland rainforests to a maximum altitude of 2,460 meters. Bucher and Hoffman (1980)
Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest
Although food habits have not been investigated thoroughly, this opossum also appears to be omnivorous. Captive animals have eaten fruit, insects, and mice. They have been maintained on a laboratory diet of raw egg, fruit, and dog food. Bucher and Hoffman (1980)
Life History and Behavior
Status: captivity: 8.7 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Litter size for C. derbianus is usually three or four, although it may be as high as six. The woolly opossums breed during the dry season (January to June) in Central America, however a few studies indicated that breeding may extend into the first few months of the rainy season (July to September). In Nicaragua it has been suggested that they breed throughout the year. The estrous cycle has an average length of 27 to 29 days and is maintained year round. The young attach to a teat after birth (in a pouch), where they are nurtured until they reach a level of development similar to young placentals at birth. Caluromys derbianus reaches sexual maturity at seven to nine months and has been reported to live in excess of five years in captivity. Bucher and Hoffman (1980) ; Dawson (1983)
Average number of offspring: 3.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 240 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 240 days.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Caluromys derbianus
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
The woolly opossum has no special conservation status. (Bucher-Hoffman, 1980.)
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Once hunted for its fur, and possible important as a disperser of tropical trees. Bucher and Hoffman (1980)
Derby's woolly opossum
C. derbianus is primarily arboreal and lives in highland and lowland rain forests of Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. It is found at altitudes up to 2,600 m (8,500 ft). The species is threatened by deforestation.
C. derbianus weighs between 200 and 400 grams (7.1 and 14 oz). Its fur coloration varies geographically but often possess a dark strip running from the top of the head to the nose. The digits of the paws are clawed with the exception of the opposable thumb. The prehensile tail makes up two thirds of the length of the animal with the distal half of the tail being naked.
This opossum reaches sexual maturity at seven to nine months. The mating season varies regionally from year-round to only during the dry season (January to July). The litter size is 3-6 live young that attach to a teat in the pouch until mature enough to emerge.
They are omnivorous although their eating habits have not been well studied in the wild.
- Lew, D., Soriano, P., Cuarón, A. D., Emmons, L., Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). Caluromys derbianus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
- Gardner, A. L. (2005). "Order Didelphimorphia". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=10400007.
- Gardner, Alfred L. (2007), "Caluromys derbianus", in Gardner, Alfred L., Mammals of South America, Volume 1: Marsupials, Xenarthrans, Shrews, and Bats, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 39–116 (p. 100), ISBN 978-0-226-28240-4, http://google.com/books?id=dbU3d7EUCm8C&pg=PA5
- Sitole, S. (1999). "Caluromys derbianus". Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Caluromys_derbianus.html. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
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