Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species occurs in northern Argentina, southern central Bolivia, and Central and Western Paraguay (Gardner 2007, Teta et al. 2009).
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Geographic Range

This lowland species is distributed in south-eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay, and north-eastern and central Argentina.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

  • Giarla, T., R. Voss, S. Jansa. 2010. Species Limits and Phylogenetic Relationships in the Didelphid Marsupial Genus Thylamys Based on Mitochondrial DNA Sequences and Morphology. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 346: 1-67.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Like other members of its genus, Thylamys pusillus is notable for its incrassate (fattened) tail. The size of the tail varies by season in accordance with food availability. Although this species is a marsupial, females do not have a pouch. This species is tricolored, with darker dorsal fur, paler lateral fur, and a white ventral region. This species is broadly similar morphologically to Thylamys macrurus but much smaller. It is also quite similar to Thylamys pallidior, a species that occurs in some of the same areas as Thylamys pusillus. Dorsal hair length and ventral hair color are useful characters for differentiating between these two species (Giarla et al., 2010). Giarla et al. (2010) report head and body lengths that range from 88 to 116 mm (average 98 mm) and tail lengths that range from 98 to 134 mm long (average 109 mm).

Range length: 186 to 250 mm.

Average length: 207 mm.

  • Voss, R., P. Myers, F. Catzeflis, A. Carmignotto, J. Barreiro. 2009. The Six Opossums of Felix de Azara: Identification, Taxonomic History, Neotype Designations, and Nomenclatural Recommendations. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 331: 406-433.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species is found in dry places with thorny, chaparral vegetation in the dry chaco of Paraguay, Northern Argentina (Formosa Province) and eastern Bolivia.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Thylamys pusillus inhabits the arid and semi-arid lowlands of central South America, including the Chaco, Monte, and Pampas ecoregions.

Range elevation: 0 to 1000 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Little is known about the food habits of this species. Like other Thylamys species, Thylamys pusillus likely consumes insects and perhaps occasionally eats small vertebrates, leaves, fruit, seeds, and carrion (Palma 1997).

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Thylamys pusillus likely acts as an important predator to many arthropod species and perhaps some small vertebrates. It is likely prey to both bird and medium-sized mammals, such as owls and foxes. It is also likely host to many ecto- and endoparasites. More specific information about the ecosystem role of Thylamys pusillus is not presently available.

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Predation

Like other small mammals, Thylamys pusillus is likely well adapted to avoiding predators by being nocturnal and inconspicuous. No records of known predators are available.

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Because this species is small and nocturnal, communication between individuals is likely primarily olfactory in nature. Palma (1997) reports that the olfactory and visual regions of another Thylamys species' brain are especially well developed.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic ; vibrations

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

No records of this species' lifespan are available.

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Reproduction

No published studies have examined mating systems in Thylamys pusillus.

Little is known about the general reproductive behavior of Thylamys pusillus.

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous

Little is known about parental investment in Thylamys pusillus. Like all marsupials, females nurse their highly altricial young. However, because members of the genus Thylamys lack a pouch (marsupium), the young must cling to their mother's venter.

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

  • Giarla, T., R. Voss, S. Jansa. 2010. Species Limits and Phylogenetic Relationships in the Didelphid Marsupial Genus Thylamys Based on Mitochondrial DNA Sequences and Morphology. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 346: 1-67.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Thylamys pusillus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
Flores, D., de la Sancha, N. & Albanese, M.S.

Reviewer/s
Martin, G.M. & Chiozza, F.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern in because of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category. However, the strong deforestation in the chacoan region of Paraguay could be a decreasing population cause.
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This species is listed as "Least Concern" by the IUCN.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: no special status

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Population

Population
This species is not abundant.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to the species although some populations are affected by deforestation.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Surveys are needed to establish range and natural history.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known negative effects of Thylamys pusillus.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive impacts of Thylamys pusillus on humans.

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Wikipedia

Common fat-tailed mouse opossum

The Common Fat-tailed Mouse Opossum (Thylamys pusillus) is a species of opossum in the family Didelphidae. It occurs in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay in chaco and Andean foothill habitats.[2] Its head-and-body length is about 75 to 120 (mean 94.3) mm, and its tail length is about 90 to 134 (mean 103.6) mm. Its dorsal fur is brownish gray, and its ventral fur is yellowish to white. The legs and cheeks are the same color as the ventral surface. Its tail is sharply bicolored (divided into two colors). A ring of faintly darker fur surrounds each eye.[3] Its tail often lacks fat deposits, but does not always.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 18. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b Flores, D., de la Sancha, N. & Albanese, M. S. (2011). "Thylamys pusillus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 18 January 2012.  Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  3. ^ Eisenberg, John Frederick; Redford, Kent Hubbard (1999). Mammals of the Neotropics: The Central Neotropics: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil. University of Chicago Press. p. 624. ISBN 978-0-226-19542-1. 
  4. ^ Gardner, Alfred L. (2008). Mammals of South America: Marsupials, xenarthrans, shrews, and bats. University of Chicago Press. p. 669. ISBN 0-226-28240-6. 
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