Anthony,  G. Anthony, . The bushy-tailed opossum Glironia venusta is an opossum from South America. It was first described by English zoologist Oldfield Thomas in It is a medium-sized opossum characterized by a large, oval, dark ears, fawn to cinnamon coat with a buff to gray underside, grayish limbs, and a furry tail.
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Populations have been documented in 17 localities from Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia; there have also been unconfirmed reports of this animal in Columbia.
There is still much to learn of their range and distribution; these arboreal animals are likely canopy-dwellers, which makes population sampling difficult. Knowledge of this species is based on very few specimens and observations. Barkley, ; Calzada, et al. Bushy-tailed opossums likely dwell in the canopy, although they have been observed low in the forest and attempts to live-trap the animals in the forest understory have been successful.
They have been found exclusively within forests, no closer than 3 kilometers to human settlements. They have been captured in dense, humid, semi-deciduous and sub-montane forests at up to m in elevations.
These animals have been observed moving quickly through hanging vines in the canopy, about 15 m above ground. Calzada, et al. Bushy-tailed opossums are rare, medium-sized marsupials, weighing about grams on average. These animals have a total body length of to mm, including a to mm tail. Dorsally, their long, thick fur varies between a woolly or velvety texture and is solid reddish-brown to gray, with fur lengths of 7 to 8 mm.
This coloration extends throughout much of their tail, which may have sparse white hairs throughout and is generally tipped in white. These animals are similar in appearance to members of genus Marmosa , aside from the thick furring of their tail.
Their ventral pelage is brownish to grayish and tipped in white. Their head is lighter than their dorsal pelage and includes a brownish-black stripe that extends from their nose, to the base of the ears and up to the top of their head and is bisected by a pale gray stripe. Their large nasals expand posteriorly. Bushy-tailed opossums have large, oval-shaped ears that lack fur and are darkly colored. Their feet are light in coloration, from whitish to gray, with hind feet that measure 27 to 31 mm and an opposable hallux.
These marsupials lack a pouch and have 5 mammae. There is no specific information regarding the mating systems of bushy-tailed opossums. However, members of family Didelphidae are generally considered polygynous. Males from studied species compete for reproductive females, communicating with a series of clicking noises. Generally, Didelphids show neither courtship displays nor pair bonds. Fernandes, et al. Bushy-tailed opossums do not have a pouch. Females have 5 mammae arranged in two abdominal pairs, with one additional teat in the middle.
There is currently no information available regarding their reproductive behavior. Barkley, ; Marshall, Due to their rarity, very little research has been conducted on the parental behavior of bushy-tailed opossums; however, all studied didelphid species have extremely altricial young. Emmons, The lifespan of bushy-tailed opossums has not been reported; however, opossums are generally short-lived, typically living no more than 1 to 2 years.
O'Connell, Very little is currently known of this extremely rare species, although they are believed to be nocturnal and solitary. Their long opposable halluces, as well as behavioral observations suggest that they are arboreal; however, their body structure also suggests that they might be found terrestrially as well.
They have been observed running quickly on vines in the forest canopy, possibly while hunting insects. There is currently no information available specific to the communication and perception of bushy-tailed opossums. Didelphid species often have an acute sense of smell, which facilitates their travel to the mammae directly after birth. Generally, didelphids also have good eyesight and hearing, although the specific sensory functions of bushy-tailed opossums are not known.
The diet of bushy-tailed opossums is currently not known, however, their similarities to genus Marmosa has led researchers to assume that they share a similar diet composed of insects, eggs, seeds and fruits. Barkley, ; Nowak, ; Patterson and Solari, Predators of bushy-tailed opossums have not been reported. However, harpy eagles are known to prey on four-eyed opossums , which share a similar habitat and range.
Likewise, their habitat is also occupied by a variety of felid species including ocelots , oncillas , margays , jaguars , cougars and jaguarundis , all of which may prey on bushy-tailed opossums. Galetti and de Carvalho, ; Solari, et al. Bushy-tailed opossums are assumed to have a diet similar to members of genus Marmosa. Bushy-tailed opossums are also known to carry ticks. Need, et al. There are no known positive economic impacts of bushy-tailed opossums. There are no known negative economic impacts of bushy-tailed opossums.
Although this species has not been thoroughly studied, they are believed to be fairly widespread and are found in protected habitats. Patterson and Solari, Marshall, In birds, naked and helpless after hatching. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends.
Synapomorphy of the Bilateria. 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. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal. Barkley, L. Genus Glironia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Calzada, J. Delibes, C. Keller, F. Palomares, W.
First record of the bushy-tailed opossum, Glironia venusta , Thomas, , Didelphimorphia from Manaus Amazonas, Brazil. Acta Amazonica , Emmons, L. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Fantin, C. The karyotype of a rare South American marsupial, the bushy-tailed opossum genus Glironia Didelphimorphia : Didelphidae.
Mastozoologia Neotropical , Fernandes, F. Cruz, E. Martins, S. Growth and home range size of the gracile mouse opossum Gracilinanus microtarsus Marsupialia : Didelphidae in Brazilian cerrado. Journal of Tropical Ecology , Galetti, M. Sloths in the diet of a harpy eagle nestling in eastern Amazon. Wilson Bulletin , Marshall, L. Glironia venusta. Mammalian Species , Need, J.
Dale, J. Keirans, G. Annotated list of ticks Acari : Ixodidae : Argasidae reported in Peru: Distribution, hosts, and bibliography. Journal of Medical Entomology , Nowak, R. Bushy-tailed opossum. Walker's Marsupials of the World , Vol.
O'Connell, M. American Opossums. The Encyclopedia of Mammals , Vol. London: The Brown Reference Group. Patterson, B. Accessed June 21, at www.