Shrew-opossum Caenolestes fuliginosus, from here.

Belongs within: Metatheria.
Contains: Didelphidae, Diprotodontia, Peramelemorphia, Dasyuromorphia.

The Marsupialia are the marsupials, the clade of mammals including (among others) opossums, kangaroos and koalas. They are most obviously distinguished from other living mammals by their mode of reproduction: the young are born at an earlier stage of development than in placental mammals, and are subsequently nurtured attached to nipples generally contained in a pouch. Of the basally diverging living marsupial lineages, the Didelphidae, opossums, and the Caenolestidae are found in South America. The remaining marsupials, belonging to the Australidelphia, are mostly Australasian, except for the South American monitos del monte, Dromiciops.

The Caenolestidae, shrew-opossums, are a group of shrew-like carnivorous marsupials, found primarily in dense, humid forest. Members of this family have large procumbent incisors in the lower jaw, used to dispatch prey.

See also: The mysterious name of Queen Lestoros.

Characters (from Nowak 1999): Cranial cavity and brain relatively small; corpus callosum absent. Nasal bones large, expanded posteriorly; zygomatic arches complete, jugal bone extending backward below zygomatic process of squamosal bone as far as glenoid fossa. Palate usually imperfect, with spaces between back molars. Angular process of mandible usually bent inward. Teeth usually numbering 40-50; cheek teeth divided into three premolars and four to five molars. Epipubic bones usually associated with pelvic girdle. Abdominal pouch (marsupium) usually present; mammae usually abdominal, located within pouch. Female reproductive tract bifid; median vagina or birth canal either transitory, forming when offspring are born, or permanent; ureters passing medially between vaginae. Scrotum in males usually in front of penis; baculum absent; vas deferens passing laterally to ureters.

<==Marsupialia [Ameridelphia]
    |--+--+--Didelphidae MJ11
    |  |  `--Peradectidae GH99
    |  |       |--Kasserinotherium tunisiense Crochet 1986 GH99
    |  |       `--Peradectes Matthew & Granger 1921 S35
    |  |            `--*P. elegans Matthew & Granger 1921 S35
    |  `--Australidelphia [Polyprotodontia] CB-E04
    |       |--+--Diprotodontia MJ11
    |       |  `--+--+--Peramelemorphia MJ11
    |       |     |  `--Dasyuromorphia MJ11
    |       |     `--Notoryctes [Notoryctemorphia, Notoryctidae] MJ11
    |       |          |--N. caurinus CB-E04
    |       |          `--N. typhlops CB-E04
    |       `--Microbiotheriidae [Microbiotheria] MJ11
    |            |--Pachybiotherium acclinum S32
    |            |--Microbiotherium [Microbiotheriinae] S32
    |            |    |--M. hernadezi Simpson 1932 S32
    |            |    `--M. tortor S32
    |            `--Dromiciops Thomas 1894 CB-E04, C57
    |                 |--*D. gliroides Thomas 1894 C57, CB-E04, C57 (see below for synonymy)
    |                 `--D. australis (Philippi 1894) [=Didelphys australis] C57
    `--Caenolestidae [Caenolestoidea, Paucituberculata] MJ11
         |  i. s.: Lestoros Oehser 1934 (see below for synonymy) C57
         |           `--*L. inca (Thomas 1917) [=Orolestes inca, Cryptolestes inca] C57
         |         Rhyncholestes Osgood 1924 C57
         |           `--*R. raphanurus Osgood 1924 C57
         |--Abderitinae S32
         |    |--Abderites crispus Ameghino 1902 S32
         |    |--Parabderites S32
         |    `--Micrabderites Simpson 1932 S32
         |         `--*M. williamsi Simpson 1932 S32
         `--Caenolestinae [Garzoniidae] S32
              |--Pitheculites minimus S32
              |--Halmarhipus S32
              |    |--H. nanus S32
              |    `--H. riggsi Simpson 1932 S32
              `--Caenolestes Thomas 1895 [incl. Hyracodon Tomes 1863 non Leidy 1856] C57
                   |--*C. fuliginosus (Tomes 1863) [=Hyracodon fuliginosus] C57
                   |--C. caniventer Anthony 1921 C57
                   |--C. convelatus Anthony 1924 C57
                   |--C. obscurus Thomas 1895 C57
                   `--C. tatei Anthony 1923 C57

Marsupialia incertae sedis:
  Protalphadon lulli G03
  Eodelphis cutleri G03
  Thylatheridium D02
  Zeusdelphys [Protodidelphidae] MC00
  Yalkaparidon Archer, Hand & Godthelp 1988 [Yalkaparidontia, Yalkaparidontidae] LA02
    |--*Y. coheni Archer, Hand & Godthelp 1988 LA02
    `--Y. jonesi Archer, Hand & Godthelp 1988 LA02
  Thylacotinga Archer, Godthelp & Hand 1993 LA02
    `--*T. bartholomaii Archer, Godthelp & Hand 1993 LA02
  Homunculites pristinus S32
  Palaepanorthus primus S32
  Diarcodon parvus Stephenson 1963 F71
  Leptosiagon gracilis Owen 1874 F71
  Mylodon australis Krefft 1870 F71
  Pachysiagon otuel Owen 1874 F71
  Palaeopetaurus elegans Broom 1895 F71
  Phascolagus altus Owen 1874 F71
  Sceparnodon F71
    |--S. ramsayi Owen 1883 F71
    `--S. stephensii Ramsay 1880 F71
  Thylacopardus australis Owen 1888 F71
  Stilotherium MJ11
  Minoperadectes MJ11

*Dromiciops gliroides Thomas 1894 C57, CB-E04, C57 [=Dr. australis gliroides C57; incl. Didelphys elegans Cunningham 1871 non Waterhouse 1839 C57]

Lestoros Oehser 1934 [incl. Cryptolestes Tate 1934 non Ganglbauer 1899, Orolestes Thomas 1917 non MacLachlan 1895] C57

*Type species of generic name indicated


[C57] Cabrera, A. 1957. Catalogo de los mamiferos de America del Sur. I (Metatheria - Unguiculata - Carnivora). Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” e Instituto Nacional de Investigacion de Las Ciencias Naturales, Ciencias Zoológicas 4 (1): 1-307.

[CB-E04] Cardillo, M., O. R. P. Bininda-Emonds, E. Boakes & A. Purvis. 2004. A species-level phylogenetic supertree of marsupials. Journal of Zoology 264: 11-31.

[D02] Dyck, S. van. 2002. Morphology-based revision of Murexia and Antechinus (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 48: 239-330.

[F71] Fletcher, H. O. 1971. Catalogue of type specimens of fossils in the Australian Museum, Sydney. Australian Museum Memoir 13: 1-167.

[GH99] Gheerbrant, E. & J.-L. Hartenberger. 1999. Nouveau mammifère insectivore (?Lipotyphla, ?Erinaceomorpha) de l’Eocène inférieur de Chambi (Tunisie). Paläontologische Zeitschrift 73 (1-2): 143-156.

[G03] Gordon, C. L. 2003. A first look of estimating body size in dentally conservative marsupials. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 10 (1-2): 1-21.

[LA02] Long, J., M. Archer, T. Flannery & S. Hand. 2002. Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. University of New South Wales Press: Sydney.

[MJ11] Meredith, R. W., J. E. Janečka, J. Gatesy, O. A. Ryder, C. A. Fisher, E. C. Teeling, A. Goodbla, E. Eizirik, T. L. L. Simão, T. Stadler, D. L. Rabosky, R. L. Honeycutt, J. J. Flynn, C. M. Ingram, C. Steiner, T. L. Williams, T. J. Robinson, A. Burk-Herrick, M. Westerman, N. A. Ayoub, M. S. Springer & W. J. Murphy. 2011. Impacts of the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution and KPg extinction on mammal diversification. Science 334: 521-524.

[MC00] Muizon, C. de, & R. L. Cifelli. 2000. The “condylarths” (archaic Ungulata, Mammalia) from the early Palaeocene of Tiupampa (Bolivia): Implications on the origin of the South American ungulates. Geodiversitas 22 (1): 47-150.

Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. JHU Press.

[S32] Simpson, G. G. 1932. Some new or little-known mammals from the Colpodon beds of Patagonia. American Museum Novitates 575: 1-12.

[S35] Simpson, G. G. 1935. The Tiffany fauna, Upper Paleocene. I.–Multituberculata, Marsupialia, Insectivora, and ?Chiroptera. American Museum Novitates 795: 1-19.

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