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Reproduction in didelphis marsupialis and didelphis albiventris in colombia

Reproduction in didelphis marsupialis and didelphis albiventris in colombia

Journal of Mammalogy 57(2): 249-265

Specimens of D. marsupialis and D. albiventris were collected from 4 habitats in central Colombia during 1967-1971. The main series were obtained of D. marsupialis in the llanos orientales at altitudes up to 500 m and in the Valle del Cauca at 1000 m, whereas smaller series of both species were collected in low montane forest at 1600-2000 m and of D. albiventris in high montane forest at 2700-3300 m. In the llanos, breeding began in Jan. at the start of the dry season and 2nd litters were born in April-May but no females bred in Sept.-Dec. The litter size was 6.5 .+-. 1.2 (SD), and there was no evidence of mortality during pouch life. There was a lower proportion of immature young than would be expected from this, so that mortality of newly independent young may be high. In the Valle del Cauca, breeding commenced in Jan. with 2nd litters in April or May, but 3rd litters in Aug. also occurred. The litter size was 4.5 .+-. 1.4, the smallest recorded for any sample of Didelphis. The small series of D. albiventris is insufficient to determine the extent of the breeding season, but the average litter size for 10 litters was 4.2 .+-. 1.4. Two collections of D. marsupialis from 23.degree. S are reexamined with additional data and the results for South America compared to those from Central and North America. The correlations between latitude and litter size and breeding season previously reported for D. virginiana are seen to hold for D. marsupialis near the Equator and to be reversed in southern latitudes.

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Accession: 006315669

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