Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Shrew Opossums: Paucituberculata - Physical Characteristics, Geographic Range, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Silky Shrew Opossum (caenolestes Fuliginosus): Species Account - SHREW OPOSSUMS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Shrew Opossums: Paucituberculata - Silky Shrew Opossum (caenolestes Fuliginosus): Species Account

marsupials journal university press

Physical characteristics: The silky shrew opossum is probably the best known of the shrew opossum species. Its head and body length ranges from 3.7 to 5.3 inches (9.3 to 13.5 centimeters), the tail 3.7 to 5.3 inches (9.3 to 12.7 centimeters). The fur on the dorsal (back) body is soft and thick, and colored a dark brown gradually giving way to lighter brown on the lower body and underbelly.

Geographic range: The silky shrew opossum inhabits the western Andes of northern and western Colombia, extreme western Venezuela, and Ecuador.

Silky shrew opossums look for food on the ground at night. During the day, the animals stay in hollow logs and burrows. (Illustration by Brian Cressman. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: This shrew opossum is nocturnal and terrestrial, preferring cool, wet areas with heavy vegetation. The species is found in alpine scrub forests and meadow zones of the Andes, at altitudes from 4,500 to 12,000 feet (1,500 to 4,000 meters).


Diet: Silky shrew opossums eat mostly caterpillars, centipedes, and spiders, varied with fruit.


Behavior and reproduction: The breeding season is believed to be July, because animals caught in August were suckling (nursing, or feeding breast milk) their young.

Silky shrew opossums run by bounding, front feet and rear feet working as units and alternating. If threatened, an individual will open its jaws wide and hiss. The tail is not prehensile (able to grab or hold things), but the animal will use it as a sort of third leg when sitting upright.


Silky shrew opossums and people: There is little to no interaction between silky shrew opossums and humans.


Conservation status: The silky shrew opossum has no special conservation status. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Lee, Anthony K., and Andrew Cockburn. Evolutionary Ecology of Marsupials. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Nowak, Ronald M. Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Simpson, George Gaylord. Splendid Isolation: The Curious History of South American Mammals. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980.

Szalay, Frederick S. Evolutionary History of the Marsupials and an Analysis of Osteological Characters. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Periodicals:

Bown, T. M., and J. G. Fleagle. "New Colhuehuapian and Santacrucian Microbiotheriidae and Caenolestidae From Patagonian Argentina." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 14, no. 3 (1994): 18.

Cifelli, Richard L., and Brian M. Davis. "Marsupial Origins." (Paleontology). Science 302, no. 5652 (2003): 1899–1900.

Flynn, J. J., and A. R. Wyss. "New Marsupials From the Eocene-Oligocene Transition of the Andean Main Range, Chile." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 19, no. 3 (1999): 533–549.

Marshall, L. G. "Systematics of the South American Marsupial Family Caenolestidae." Fieldiana Geology (1980): 145.

Meserve, P. L., , B. K. Lang, and B. D. Patterson. "Trophic Relations of Small Mammals in a Chilean Temperate Rainforest." Journal of Mammalogy 69 (1988): 721–730.

Patterson, B. D. "Dominance of South American Marsupials (Scientific Correspondence)." Nature 337, no. 6204 (1989): 215.

Patterson, B. D., and M. H. Gallardo. "Rhyncholestes raphanurus." Mammalian Species 286 (1987): 1–5.

Sanchez-Villagra, M. R. "The Phylogenetic Relationships of Argyrolagid Marsupials." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 131, no. 4 (2001): 48–496.

[back] Shrew Opossums: Paucituberculata - Behavior And Reproduction

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or