Monday, February 27, 2017

[Mammalogy • 2017] Monodelphis (Mygalodelphys) saci • A New Species of Monodelphis (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) from the Brazilian Amazon

Monodelphis (Mygalodelphys) saci 
Pavan, Mendes-Oliveira & Voss, 2017 

We describe a new species of the didelphid marsupial genus Monodelphis from Brazil, where it appears to be widely distributed in the states of Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and Acre. Monodelphis saci, new species, belongs to the subgenus Mygalodelphys, and analyses of DNA sequence data suggest that it is most closely related to M. handleyiM. osgoodi, and M. peruviana. Diagnostic morphological traits include pelage coloration, qualitative aspects of craniodental morphology, and a distinctive range of morphometric variation. The new species has sometimes been misidentified in the literature as Mkunsi, a distinct but apparently allopatric taxon. Monodelphis saci occurs sympatrically with MemiliaeMglirina, and M. touan in the rainforested lowlands south of the Amazon River.

FIG. 4. Adult female of Monodelphis saci (MPEG 42956), from Mina do Palito, Itaituba, Pará, Brazil.
Photos: A.O. Maciel. 

Monodelphis (Mygalodelphys) saci, new species

Distribution: Monodelphis saci is currently known from at least 14 localities scattered along the south bank of the Amazon in the Brazilian states of Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and Acre (fig. 2).

Habitats and sympatry: At Bom Jardim, Penedo, and Boca do Rato, Monodelphis saci was found in both primary and disturbed forest (logged areas and secondary vegetation) on both banks of the Rio Tapajós. Capture sites at these localities included terra firme forest characterized by a relatively low canopy (10–15 m) with numerous lianas (fig. 3A–B), as well as seasonally flooded riparian forest characterized by clayey soil, abundant epiphytes, palm trees, and herbaceous vegetation (fig. 3C).

Etymology: The specific epithet is a noun in apposition and refers to the Brazilian folkloric character Saci, a one-legged gnome with a red cap. Saci is allegedly derived from the Yaci Yaterê of Tupi-Guarani mythology, to which elements of African and European folklore have been added over the last several centuries (Cascudo, 1947).

Silvia E. Pavan, Ana C. Mendes-Oliveira and Robert S. Voss. 2017. A New Species of Monodelphis (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) from the Brazilian Amazon.

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