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Growth and home range size of the gracile mouse opossum Gracilinanus microtarsus (Marsupialia: Didelphidae) in Brazilian cerrado

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2010

Fernanda Rodrigues Fernandes*
Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Instituto de Biologia, Departamento de Parasitologia, Caixa Postal 6109, Campinas, São Paulo, 13083-970, Brazil
Leonardo Dominici Cruz
Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Biológicas (Zoologia), Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho, Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil
Eduardo Guimarães Martins
Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
Sérgio Furtado dos Reis
Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
1Corresponding author. Email:


Differences in growth patterns between the sexes of the gracile mouse opossum Gracilinanus microtarsus and the consequences for home range size were investigated in a savanna habitat (cerrado) of south-eastern Brazil. A total of 51 juvenile individuals of Gracilinanus microtarsus was monitored using capture–mark–recapture from November 2005 to August 2006. The increase in body mass of gracile mouse opossums was described using the Gompertz growth model. Male gracile mouse opossums grew faster than females (dimorphic ratio of 1.5). Home range size, estimated with the minimum convex polygon method, was positively related to body mass. Model selection using Akaike's Information Criterion (AICc) and incorporating body mass, sex and season as independent variables showed that the best-supported model describing variance in home range sizes included only body mass. Our data suggest that a greater body mass gain in juvenile males is probably the proximate cause of sexual dimorphism in adult gracile mouse opossums and that energetic needs required for growth have a greater influence in home range size.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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2Current address: Department of Forest Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.


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Growth and home range size of the gracile mouse opossum Gracilinanus microtarsus (Marsupialia: Didelphidae) in Brazilian cerrado
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