#Biodiversity150 number 13 of 150 Virginia Opossum

13/150: Did the opossum play possum?

Animalia: Chordata: Mammalia: Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae: Didelphis: Didelphis virginiana (Kerr, 1792)

The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found in North America. These furry creatures are also one of the oldest mammals on the planet, dating to at least 70 million years ago! Often wrongly mistaken for rodents, the Virginia opossums do not possess hair on their large ears and their tails, with the exception of its base. This makes these hairless areas a common site for frostbite! Speaking of bites, though opossums are known to fake death, hence, the saying “playing possum” in response to threats, not all are docile, for some may react aggressively to defend themselves! These animals are cunning opportunists that have a taste for plants, animals and even carrion! You might even see one digging up your garbage bins at night. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Virginia opossum scaling up a tree in search of food. Photo Credit: Andrew C goo.gl/et7bJ5
A pair of young Virginia opossums sticking together as they wait for their mother to bring food. Photo Credit: California Department of Fish and Wildlife goo.gl/c6IaJH
Tiny Virginia opossum on the look-out for its next adventure! Photo Credit: Mathesont goo.gl/mdLmrN

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  ABMC255-05

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAA9549

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Title Image: Virginia opossums show colour variation depending on what their location. The lighter fur hairs shown in this individual suggests it is from the northern region.
Photo Credit: Cody.pope goo.gl/Oe5wlH