Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Shrew Opossum
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Shrew Opossum

Shrew opossums
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Subclass:Marsupialia
Order:Paucituberculata
Family:Caenolestidae
Genera
 Caenolestes
 Lestoros
 Rhyncholestes

The biological order Paucituberculata contains the five surviving species of shrew opossum: small, shrew-like marsupials which are confined to the Andes mountains of South America. It is thought that the order diverged from the ancestral marsupial line very early. As recently as 20 million years ago, there were at least 7 genera in South America. Today, just 3 remain.

Shrew oppossums are largely carnivorous. Although typically small—about the size of a small rat at 9 to 14cm long—they are active hunters of insects, earthworms and small vertebrates. They have small eyes and poor sight, and hunt in the early evening and at night, using their hearing and long, sensitive whiskers to locate prey.

Largely because of their rugged, inacessable habitat, they are very poorly known and have traditionally been considered rare. Recent studies suggest that they may be more common than had been thought.

Classification

Within the family of the Caenolestidae, five species are known:

See also: the magnorder Ameridelphia.

Mammals
Xenarthra | Dermoptera | Desmostylia | Scandentia | Primates | Rodentia | Lagomorpha | Insectivora | Chiroptera | Pholidota | Carnivora | Perissodactyla | Artiodactyla | Cetacea | Afrosoricida | Macroscelidea | Tubulidentata | Hyracoidea | Proboscidea | Sirenia
Monotremata
Didelphimorphia | Paucituberculata | Microbiotheria | Dasyuromorphia | Peramelemorphia | Notoryctemorphia | Diprotodontia