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

  • Fernanda Rodrigues Fernandes (a1), Leonardo Dominici Cruz (a2), Eduardo Guimarães Martins (a3) and Sérgio Furtado dos Reis (a3)


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.


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1Corresponding author. Email:


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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

  • Fernanda Rodrigues Fernandes (a1), Leonardo Dominici Cruz (a2), Eduardo Guimarães Martins (a3) and Sérgio Furtado dos Reis (a3)


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