Gray Four-eyed Opossum
(Philander opossum) #66-76

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Physical characteristics and distribution

Gray Four-eyed Opossum Philander opossum

Head and body length of P. opossum is 250-350 mm, tail length is 253-329 mm. Adult weights range from 240-400 grams. The short, straight fur is gray to black and the underparts vary from yellowish to buffy white. There is a white spot above each eye, frolm which P. opossum derives its common name of Four-eyed opossum. The black prehensile tail is furred about 40-50 mm beyond the rump, and then becomes hairless. The end of the tail is white with a pink tip. The ears are also naked, and the body is slender. P. opossum has a large head with a conical muzzle. Females have a distinct pouch with between 5 and 9 mammae.

The mainly terrestrial P. opossum inhabits forested areas, often near swamps and streams, and is also adept at climbing and swimming. The nests are globular, approximately 30 cm. In diameter. It is believed that they are mostly nocturnal, but have been observed to be just as active during the day in Surinam (Husson, 1978).

The diet of P. opossum includes small mammals, birds and their eggs, reptiles, amphibians, insects, freshwater crustaceans, snails, earthworms, fruits, and probably carrion. In some areas, damage to fruit crops and corn fields has given them a bad reputation.

Depending on its locale, P. opossum may breed seasonally or throughout the year. Litter size ranges from 3-7 young, with the larger number of young occurring in northern populations.

P. opossum is found in Tamaulipas, Mexico, through Central and South America to Bolivia and SC Brazil.

Description of the brain

The brain weight is 4.3311 g (includes R.& L. Trg.). The brain meaurements are: Length AP left 18.1 mm; Length AP right 19.3 mm; Bitemporal width 18.8 mm; Temporal height left 8.8 mm; Temporal height right 9.8 mm.

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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