Actual possum mice

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Actual possum mice
Ecuador Opossum Mouse (Caenolestes fuliginosus)

Ecuador Opossum Mouse ( Caenolestes fuliginosus )

without rank: Synapsids (Synapsida)
Class : Mammals (mammalia)
Subclass : Marsupials (Marsupialia)
Order : Paucituberculata
Family : Mausopossums (Caenolestidae)
Genre : Actual possum mice
Scientific name
Thomas , 1895

The authentics Opossummäuse or shrew opossum ( Caenolestes ) are a marsupial genus from the family of shrew opossum (Caenolestidae).

The genus includes five species that live in the Andean regions in northwestern South America .


The animals resemble the shrews in their appearance , but they are not related to them. Their muzzle is elongated, the eyes are small, but the ears are large and protrude from the fur. Their long, soft fur gives the impression of being shaggy, it is colored brown or black on the upper side and the underside is lighter. The short legs each end in five toes. The two outer toes of the front paws have claws, the inner three nails, and the hind paws have all toes with the exception of the innermost claws. The hairless tail is as long as the body. Actual opossum mice reach a head-torso length of 9 to 14 centimeters and a weight of 16 to 40 grams, with males being significantly heavier than females. Like other species of the mouse opossum family, representatives of this genus have unusual lip valves for marsupials, which probably ensure that the animals do not accidentally get earth into their mouths.

4th · 1 · 3 · 4th  =  42
3 · 1 · 3 · 4th
Tooth formula of the actual opossum mice

Just like the other species of the mouse opossum, the species of the actual opossum mice also have a set of teeth typical of the family with enlarged lower central incisors that protrude forward, as well as the reduced number of incisors compared to other marsupials. The species of the genus have four incisors (incisors), a canine tooth (caninus), three premolars (premolars) and two molars (molares) in one upper jaw half, in the lower jaw they have one less incisor per half. The animals have a total of 46 teeth.

Like other marsupials, the mouse opossums have two uteri and two vaginae , and it is assumed that the number of ovaries corresponds to the number of teats (unlike opossums ). The species of the actual opossum mice do not have a belly pouch (pouch); However, they have four teats , two of which are located on the abdomen on the abdomen.

Way of life

The habitat of these animals are mountain forests and meadows at 1500 to 4000 meters above sea level. They prefer cool, moist habitats with sufficient vegetation. They are nocturnal ground dwellers who mainly stay on the ground, but can also climb well if necessary. To get ahead quickly, they create tunnels or trails in the thick undergrowth.

Actual opossum mice are mainly carnivores, their diet consists of insects and their larvae, worms and small vertebrates.


Females have four teats but no pouch. The mating season is in summer, the litter size is estimated at one to six young. These spend their first weeks of life hanging from the mother's teat, only protected by their fur.


Actual mousopossums are shy, little-known animals. Due to their inaccessible area of ​​distribution, there are no precise data on the risk, but it is assumed that they are rather common. None of the species are listed as endangered or threatened.

The species

The genus contains a total of five species, one of which was first described in 2013 :


  • Ronald M. Nowak: Walker's Mammals of the World . Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999 ISBN 0-8018-5789-9

supporting documents

  1. a b c Leila Siciliano: Caenolestes fuliginosus, silky shrew opossum. in the Animal Diversity Net. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  2. ^ A b Reed Ojala-Barbour, C. Miguel Pinto, Jorge Brito M., Luis Albuja V., Thomas E. Lee, Jr. and Bruce D. Patterson. 2013. A New Species of Shrew Opossum (Paucituberculata: Caenolestidae) with A Phylogeny of Extant caenolestids. Journal of Mammalogy. 94 (5): 967-982. doi: 10.1644 / 13-MAMM-A-018.1

Web links

Commons : Actual opossum mice ( Caenolestes )  - collection of images, videos and audio files