Chiloé marsupial rat(Dromiciops gliroides)
Dromiciops is a genus of marsupials within Australidelphia, with three species distributed in South America. It belongs to the family Microbiotheriidae, which was widespread in South America during the Oligocene and Miocene, and from which the three species represent the last recent representatives.
The marsupials of the genus Dromiciops are rat-like animals with dense, short fur, whereby the light brown-grey back fur stands out strongly against the lighter side fur. The belly is light gray to yellowish-white in color. They reach a body length of about 8.5 to 12 centimetres, the tail reaches about the same length at 9 to 13 centimetres and their weight is between 16 and 42 grams. The tail is densely hairy except for a hairless area on the underside of the tail tip and is easy to grip. They can be distinguished from the dwarf possum rats and Chilean opossum mice living in their range by their marbled fur, as well as by significantly smaller, only sparsely haired ears compared to the dwarf possum rats and a longer tail compared to the Chilean opossum mice. The female has a small but recognizable pouch with 4 teats.
The range of the Dromiciops species extends over parts of Chile as well as the adjacent regions of Argentina in South America. The largest distribution area is the Chiloé marsupial rat(Dromiciops gliroides), which occurs in Chile from the 40th to the 43rd parallel, in the bordering Argentina and on the island of Chiloé, which belongs to Chile. Dromiciops bozinovici lives in a small area in the south of the Chilean Lake Region (approximately Región de la Araucanía and Región del Bío-Bío) and also in adjacent Argentina, and Dromiciops mondaca is known only from two small, closely spaced areas in the coastal cordillera of the Región de Los Ríos in southern Chile.
The genus Dromiciops was established in 1894 by the British naturalist Oldfield Thomas, who also used it to describe the Chiloé marsupial rat(Dromiciops gliroides), long recognized as the only species of the genus. The species is so morphologically variable that two additional species of the genus Dromiciops were described and separated from Dromiciops gliroides in April 2016. The scientific name Dromiciops bozinovici was introduced for the Dromiciops population between latitudes 41° and 43°, and the scientific name Dromiciops mondaca was introduced for a small Dromiciops population near San Martín in the northwest of the Región de Los Ríos.
- Guillermo D’Elía, Natalí Hurtado, Alejandro D’Anatro. Alpha taxonomy of Dromiciops (Microbiotheriidae) with the description of 2 new species of monito del mon te. Journal of Mammalogy. April 2016. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyw068
- Ronald M. Nowak: Walker’s Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1999, ISBN 0801857899.
- Kent H. Redford, John F. Eisenberg: The Southern Cone. University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1992, ISBN 0226706826(Mammals of the Neotropics. Volume 2).
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