Trinidad and Tobago Biodiversity - Mammals

The species included in this checklist include both native and introduced exotic species. Species that occur on Tobago are indicated by asterisks and those found only on Tobago are indicated by a notation in brackets. The taxonomy used in this list ignores sub-specific classification for purposes of simplicity, and because of a lack of recent genetic studies in most cases, to substantiate sub-specific designations. The species-level taxonomic nomenclature is taken from Nelson and Nelson (in press).

The mammals of Trinidad and Tobago are represented by 96 native mammals from 27 families and eight mammalian orders as follows:

Order: Artidactyla

Order: Carnivora

Order: Chiroptera
Order: Marsupalia
Order: Primates
Order: Rodentia
Order: Sirenia
Order: Xenartha (Edentata)

This order is found in its natural distribution globally except Australia, Oceanic Islands and Antarctica. There are three families in South America, of which two are found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Family: Tayassuidae (Peccaries)
These pig-like mammals are large animals with long, slim legs, large heads, an elongated snout and almost no tail. Their large canines have been modified into tusks. Although the peccaries are close relatives of the pigs, they are in a separate family and have some distinguishing features from true pigs: small litters of precocial young. Peccaries are gregarious, living in varying sizes of groups. They are omnivores eating fruits, roots, seeds and tubers.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Tayassu tajacu
Collared peccary, Quenk, Wild Hog

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Family: Cervidae (Deer)

Deer are slim-bodied animals with long legs, long necks and short tails. They are best characterised by the annual growing and shedding of antlers borne on the males of most genera; females are slightly smaller and more delicately built than males. Deer are true ruminants, where plant material is fermented in complex stomachs. After feeding they need time to rest, while they regurgitate, and re-masticate (chew cuds) the rumen contents. They are herbivores, browsing and grazing on leaves, grasses and sometimes fruit.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Mazama americana
Red Brocket Deer, Biche

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Present day distribution of the Carnivora includes all continents except Antarctica and Australia (but Canis was introduced there). There are eight extant families; five occur in South America and three are native to Trinidad and Tobago.

Family: Procyonidae (Racoons)
The Procyonidae family includes the raccoons, coatis and kinkajous. Procyonids are omnivorous, feeding primarily on small vertebrates, insects, crustaceans, fruit and berries. Some species are arboreal, but most species will climb to avoid danger and to nest. They are able to dig and manipulate prey with their hands.

Scientific Name
Local Name

Procyon cancrivorus

Crab-eating Racoon, Mangrove Dog

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Family: Mustelidae (Weasels)

Although a member of the Carnivora, the Mustelidae is a diverse family of carnivores, insectivores, omnivores and piscivores. Some species are among the few carnivores that can single-handedly catch prey larger than themselves due to their extremely powerful bite. These small to medium sized mammals produce a strong-smelling musk from scent glands which can be used for communication. Most species are terrestrial or semi-aquatic in the New World, although some are also semi-arboreal. Many mustelids are persecuted by humans for their valuable fur and as pests.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Eira barbara Tayra, High Woods Dog, Chien Bois

Lontra longicaudis

Neotropical River Otter, Water Dog, Chien de l'eau

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Family:Viverridae (Mongooses)

These are small, lithe-bodied, and sometimes arboreal mammals. Their general appearance is broadly cat-like, but the muzzle is extended and often pointed. The entire Mongoose population in the Caribbean is descended from 9 individuals introduced into Jamaica by European settlers in the 19th Century.

Scientific Name
Local Name

Herpestes auropunctatus (Introduced)

Indian Mongoose

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Family: Felidae (Cats)
The felids include all 36 species of cats worldwide, and are the most strictly carnivorous of all the nine families of the Carnivora. Their teeth and sharp, retractile claws are highly adapted for killing vertebrate prey. These predators have well defined hearing and colour vision and although mostly nocturnal, can be active during the day. Many are able to climb. Most cats are solitary species that prey on predominantly small-sized prey, including rodents, birds, snakes and reptiles. Marking behaviour is used to communicate between cats and includes spraying urine and scratching logs.
Scientific Name
Local Name

Leopardus pardalis

Ocelot, Tiger Cat, Chat Tigre

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Bats are the second largest order of mammals, with over 950 species in about 15 families on all continents except Antarctica. They are the only true flying mammals. All New World bats belong to the suborder Microchiroptera. Echolocation, a kind of sonar, is used by these bats to navigate and to locate prey. Bats are important for pollinating flowers, and dispersing seeds of many trees and other plants. Few of the New World species have actually been found to carry rabies.

Family: Emballonuridae (Sheath-tailed Bats)
These bats are typically small in size, with smooth face and lips, no nose leaf, large eyes, and ears that are often united across the top of the head. A distinguishing feature is that the tail is enclosed in a sheath of membrane, with the tail tip extending above it. Bats of this family will fly at dusk and dawn, and are all aerial insectivores. This family is found worldwide and consists of about 48 species.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Diclidurus albus Ghost or White Bat, Jumbie Bat
Peropteryx macrotis Doglike Sac-winged Bat

Rhynchonycteris naso

Brazilian Long-nosed Bat
Saccopteryx bilineata
White-lined, Sac-winged Bat
Saccopteryx leptura
Lesser Sac-winged or White-lined Bat

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Family: Noctilionidae (Bulldog Bats)
These distinctive bats are medium to large sized. They have a bulldog-like face with large canines exposed by drooping lips. They skim the surface of the water catching small, surface swimming fish, aquatic crustaceans and insects with their sharp, curved claws. Noctilio leporinus is one of the largest New World bats.
Scientific Name
Local Name

Noctilio leporinus

Bulldog or Fish eating Bat, Fisherman Bat

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Family: Mormoopidae (Leaf-chinned, Mustached and Naked-backed Bats)

These small to medium sized bats have expanded lips that flare into plates that are flapped and folded. They have stiff hairs on the sides of the lips forming a mustache. They have long, narrow wings, are strong flyers and are aerial insectivores. These bats prefer to roost in warm, dark caves.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Mormoops megalophylla Leaf-chinned Bat
Pteronotus davyi Naked-backed Rat

Pteronotus parnelli

Greater Mustache Bat
Pteronotus personatus
Lesser Mustache Bat

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Family: Phyllostomidae (Leaf-nosed Bats)
This family contains small to large sized bats typically with a prominent nose-leaf which acts as a megaphone for echolocation. Their broad wings allow for slow flight and greater manoeuvrability. This family is found only in the New World, and includes 140 species, with a huge diversity of morphological adaptations, feeding habits and behaviour. The species Vampyrum spectrum is the largest bat in the New World.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Ametrida cenurio
Little White-shouldered Bat
Anoura geoffroyi
Tailless Long Tongued Bat
Artibeus cinerus
Little Brazilian Fruit Bat
Artibeus jamaicensis
Lesser Fruit Bat
Artibeus lituratus
Greater Fruit Bat
Carollia perspicillata
Short Tailed Fruit Bat
Centurio senex
Wrinkle Face Bat, Old Man Bat
Chiroderma trinitatum
Lesser White Lined Bat
Chiroderma villosum
Greater White Lined Bat
Choeroniscus intermedius
Intermediate Long-Tailed Bat
Enchisthenes hartii
Little Fruit Bat
Glossophaga longirostris
Long Tongued Bat
Glossophaga soricina
Common Long-tongued Bat
Lonchorhina aurita
Long Eared Bat, Long Nose Leaf Bat
Lampronycteris brachyotis °
Yellow-throated Bat
Micronycteris hirsuta
Hairy Big-eared Bat
Micronycteris megalotis
Little Big-eared Bat
Micronycteris minuta
White Bellied Big-eared Bat
Micronycteris nicefori
White-lined Big-eared Bat
Micronycteris sylvestris
Tricoloured Big-eared Bat
Mimon crenulatum
Wrinkle Nose Leaf Bat
Phyllostomus discolor
Long Tongued Spear Nosed Bat
Phyllostomus hastatus
Greater Spear-nosed Bat
Sturnira lilium
South American Yellow Shouldered Bat
Sturnira tildae
Yellow Shouldered Bat
Tonatia bidens
Great Round Eared Bat
Tonatia minuta
Lesser Round Eared Bat
Trachops cirrhosus
Lizard Eating or Fringe Lipped Bat
Uroderma bilobatum
Yellow eared Bat, Tent-making bat
Vampyrodes caraccioloi
White Lined Bat
Vampyrops helleri
Central American White Lined Bat
Vampyrum spectrum
Spectral Bat, False Vampire Bat

Lampronycteris brachyotis° formally belonging to the genus Micronycteris is now considered a monotypic genus (Weinbeer & Kalko, 2004).

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Family: Desmodontidae (Vampire Bats)
This family are the only true vampire bats, being specialised for feeding on blood of mammals and birds. These medium sized bats are agile crawlers using their thumbs which have thickened pads. Vampire bats have a complex social organisation. These bats can transmit diseases such as rabies and the resulting wounds from their bites can be susceptible to screwfly infection.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Desmodus rotundus
South American Vampire Bat
Diaemus youngi White-winged Vampire Bat

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Family: Natalidae (Funnel-eared Bats)

This family includes one genus of tiny bats with large, funnel shaped ears. Little is known about this family but their fluttering moth-like flight may be adapted for hunting insects in dense vegetation. They roost in dark niches in colonies that can reach in the thousands.
Scientific Name
Local Name

Natalus tumidirostris

Funnel Eared Bat

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Family: Furipteridae (Thumbless Bats)
These are tiny grey bats, as their name suggests, have a thumb that is nothing more than a rudimentary stump with barely any claw. They feed on insects, foraging near the forest floor with a slow, moth-like flight.
Scientific Name
Local Name

Furipterus horrens

Thumbless Bat

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Family: Thyropteridae (Sucker-footed Bats)

These tiny insectivorous bats roost inside of rolled leaf fronds (such as banana) with sucker discs on their ankles and thumbs. Unlike other bats they hang with their heads upwards.
Scientific Name
Local Name

Thyroptera tricolour

Disc Winged Bat, Sucker Foot Bat

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Family: Vespertilionidae (Vespertilionid Bats)
This is a large family of small to medium sized insectivorous bats. Their faces are plain with no nose-leaf and small eyes. These bats are highly specialised fliers, being agile and fast. They feed on insects in flight, often using their well developed tail membrane as a pouch to scoop up their prey. This family is found on all continents, being the most widespread family of bats. There are about 318 species in 37 genera.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Eptesicus brasiliensis Big Brown Bat
Lasiurus ega Southern Yellow Bat
Lasiurus borealis Costa Rica Red Bat
Myotis keaysi Little Brown Bat

Myotis nigricans

Little Black Bat
Myotis riparius Little Brown Bat
Rhogeëssa tumida Little Yellow Bat

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Family: Molossidae (Free-tailed or Mastiff Bats)
These medium to large sized bats are termed ‘free-tailed’ since their tail projects well beyond the end of the membrane. The have no nose-leaf, have intricately folded ears and strong legs. Their wings are long and narrow and they tend to fly high in the canopy. Preferred diets consist of large insects such as moths and beetles.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Eumops auripendulus Bonneted Bat
Molossus ater Large Free Tailed Bat

Molossops greenhalli

Dog-faced or Free-tailed Bat
Molossus molossus* (Tobago only) Mastiff Bat
Molossus major Small Free Tailed Bat
Molossus trinitatis Mastiff or free-tailed Bat
Promops centralis Mexican Crested Mastiff Bat
Promops nasutus Crested Mastiff Bat
Tadarida brasiliensis Wrinkle-lipped Free Tailed Bat

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Marsupials are currently found only in the Australasian, and the South and Central American regions of the world. Of the three surviving families in the New World, one is found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Family: Didelphidae (Opossums)
The family Didelphidae contains small to medium-sized marsupials. They tend to be nocturnal, semi-arboreal omnivores. Most of these species have large ears, long snouts, and a narrow braincase. They have an opposable ‘thumb’ on the hind foot which is used for grasping and climbing and, has a nail - not a claw. Nails are rare in the animal world and are common only among primates. The tail of most species is prehensile and can grip objects strongly. As in other marsupial mammals, young Didelphids are born tiny and underdeveloped. They attach themselves to the mothers nipples for several weeks, which are protected in a pouch in some of the species.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Chironectes minimus Yapok, Water Opossum

Caluromys philander

Woolly Mouse Opossum, Manicou Gros-Yeux
Didelphis marsupialis Common Opossum, Manicou
Marmosa murina* (Tobago only) Murine Mouse Opossum
Marmosa robinsoni Robinson’s Mouse Opossum
Marmosops fuscatus Grey-bellied Slender Mouse Opossum

Marmosops is now recognised as a distinct genus, having formally been a subgenus of Marmosa; revision of this family is ongoing (Voss, et al., 2004).

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The primates are found in both the New and the Old World, except for Australasia. There are three extant families in the New World, one of which is found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Family: Cebidae (Monkeys)
All monkeys in this family are arboreal and feed primarily on leaves, fruits and insects. Their size ranges to that of medium-sized dogs, although most are smaller. Many of the Cebidae have strong prehensile tails that are hairless on the underside and have sensitive tactile pads. This strong tail functions as a third hand; no other family of primates has this. Monkeys are important keystone species in forests, as they disperse seeds for many different plant species.
Scientific Name
Local Name

Alouatta seniculus

Red Howler Monkey, Macaque Rouge
Cebus albifrons White-fronted Capuchin Monkey, Weeping Capuchin, Matchin

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Rodents are found throughout the world except for Antarctica. They are the most diverse order of living mammals: there are about 2,050 species worldwide. Seven families are found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Family: Sciuridae (Squirrels)
The Sciuridae is comprised of 265 species in 50 genera, which can be found throughout most of the world. Squirrels have an omnivorous diet, including nuts, fruits, fungi and insects. Their chisel-like incisors and large jaws enable them to gnaw hard nuts. Being adept climbers, most inhabit trees and the South American squirrels are diurnal.

Scientific Name
Local Name

Sciurus granatensis

Red-tailed Squirrel, Écuirel, Squirrel

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Family: Heteromyidae (Pocket Mice)
This family consists of nocturnal, small mouse-like rodents characterised by externally opening fur-lined cheek pouches. Many species are adapted to leaping and hopping, with hind limbs that are large and strong and forelegs that are small and week. They are mainly seed eaters that use their pouches for transporting seeds to cache. In the New World there are 59 species in 6 genera.
Scientific Name
Local Name

Heteromys anomalus

Spiny Pocket Mouse, Pouched Rat

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Family: Muridae (Murid Rodents)
The sigmodontine rodents are a subfamily of the Muridae family and are often referred to as the New World cricetines. The Murids make up the largest family of mammals, with about 1,326 species in 17 subfamilies worldwide. The subfamily Sigmodontinae or Cricetids contains almost 600 species. It is a diverse group, with a huge range in size, morphology, and ecologies. Typically arboreal species have long, hairy tails, small ears, large eyes, and long whiskers. Terrestrial species tend to have short tails and whiskers, large ears, pointed snouts and rotund bodies. There are also semi-aquatic species that have webbing between the toes on their paddle-shaped hind feet. These rodents tend to be nocturnal and diets often include fruits, seeds, and insects.

The House Mouse and the Black and Norway Rats belong to the subfamily Murinae. This is an Old World subfamily of rodents (there is no taxonomic division between rats and mice; the names are traditionally used for larger and smaller species) that appear superficially similar to sigmodontine rodents. All these murines have been introduced by humans into the New World.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Akodon urichi Grass Mouse
Mus musculus* (Introduced) House Mouse
Nectomys squamipes Water Rat

Oryzomys capito ‡

Common Rice Rat
Oecomys concolor Arboreal Rice Rat
Oliogoryzomys delicatus Pygmy Rice Rat
Rattus norvegicus (Introduced) Norway Rat, Wharf Rat
Rattus rattus * (Introduced) Black Rat
Rhipidomys couesi Climbing Rat
Rhipidomys venezuelae* (Tobago only) Climbing Rat
Zygodontomys brevicauda Cane Mouse

‡The genus Oryzomys has undergone much revision recently, with the subgenus’ Oecomys and Oligoryzomys being raised to genus level. However, despite the revision, Oecomys concolor is believed to in fact represent a large number of species and similarly, Oryzomys capito is believed to be a ‘complex’ containing a number of species (Patton, et al., 2000; Voss et al., 2001). Many of these species are hard to identify in the field and the revision of this subfamily is ongoing; detailed work is needed to review the status of these species in Trinidad and Tobago.

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Family: Erethizontidae (Porcupines)

Porcupines are covered in sharp spines (modified hair) with barbed tips that detach easily when touched. They are adapted for arboreal life; each limb has four functional digits with strong curved claws and the thumb of the hindfoot has been replaced by a broad movable pad. The tail is also prehensile, tapering from a thick base to a thin tip, which spirals ‘backwards’ around branches. The muzzle is bulbous, pink and naked. Porcupines have a thick body, short legs and small eyes and ears. They feed on fruits, seeds, bark and leaves.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Coendu prehensilis
Brazilian Prehensile-tailed Porcupine

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Family: Agoutidae (Pacas)
Pacas are large, nocturnal, mostly solitary rodents. Their heads are large, with short ears and they have no visible tail. They have dark brown hair, with four lines of white spots on each side of the body. Pacas feed on fruits, nuts, seeds and sometimes vegetation. They can construct their own burrows and plug the entrance with leaves where they shelter during the day.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Agouti (=Cuniculus) paca
Paca, Lappe, Lapa

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Family: Dasyproctidae (Agoutis)

Agoutis are large, solitary, diurnal rodents, similar to the pacas, but lacking a spotted pattern. They are ungulate-like rodents with a slender build and long legs. The family is large, widespread in South and Central American, with highly variable colouration from reddish brown, almost black, and brown, white, yellow or grey underparts. Agoutis feed on fruits, seeds and vegetation. They tend not to use burrows.
Scientific Name
Local Name

Dasyprocta leporina (=agouti)

Red-rumped Agouti

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Family: Echimyidae (Spiny Rats and Tree Rats)
These rodents are medium sized, nocturnal and characterised by spiny or bristly fur interspersed in their dorsal pelage. They have short ears, large eyes and long whiskers. If pulled, their tails will break off easily. The spiny rats are terrestrial and tend to be one of the most abundant terrestrial rodents. They are omnivores feeding on fruit, seeds, fungi and insects. The tree rats are arboreal and although some are very beautiful, little is known about them.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Echimys semivillosus Speckled Tree Rat
Proechimys semispinosus
Spiny Rat, Long-tailed Pilori

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There are two extant families of the order Sirenia. The Dugongidae of Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and the Trichechidae of West Africa, the Amazon/Orinoco systems and the Caribbean.

Family: Trichechidae (Manatees)
Manatees have a rounded, hairless body with a small head, nostrils on the tip of the snout, small eyes and no external ears. Their snout has a cleft upper lip where each half is capable of independent movement for feeding. Their molars are worn down and replaced by new teeth in the rear. Their forelimbs are paddle-like, they have no free hind limbs, and the tail is whale-like. Manatees are herbivores that feed on aquatic vegetation, and spend their whole life in the water.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Trichechus manatus
West Indian Manatee, Lamantin , Sea Cow

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The Edentates are found only in the New World from the Southern United States to Patagonia. Four extant families make up this order of which two are found in Trinidad and Tobago.

Family: Myrmecophagidae (Anteaters)
Anteaters have an elongated head and their snout is tapered to a tubular mouth.  Members of this family have long extensible tongues covered with sticky saliva. They lack teeth, have small ears and eyes and have a good sense of smell. They can be both nocturnal and diurnal. Their large, powerful front claws prevent them from walking on the soles of their forefeet, so they walk on the outside of the hand, with the claws folded inward. They also have prehensile tails, which they use as a fifth paw. As their name implies, anteaters eat ants, but also other social insects such as termites and bees.

Scientific Name
Local Name
Cyclopes didactylus
Silky or Pygmy Anteater, Two-toed Anteater, Poor-me-one
Tamandua tetradacyla
Southern or Yellow Tamandua, Three-toed Anteater, Mataperro, Matapel

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Family: Dasypodidae (Armadillos)

There are about twenty known species of armadillo. The most recognizable feature of this family is their shell-like covering; made of true bone and consisting of bands of plates connected by flexible skin to permit bending. The number of bands is used to distinguish some species. Armadillos have a good sense of smell, poor eyesight, small ears and a snout with a protrusible tongue. Their short strong legs have strong claws adopted for digging rapidly. They are mostly nocturnal and solitary. Their diet is mainly insectivorous, especially ants and termites, although they may sometimes eat other small animals and fruit.
Scientific Name
Local Name
Dasypus novemcinctus
Nine-banded Long-nosed Armadillo, Tatu, Tatoo

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Alkins, M.E. (1979) ‘Mammals of Trinidad,’ Occasional Paper No. 2, Department of Zoology, University of the West Indies

Eisenberg, J.F. (1989) ‘Mammals of the Neotropics: The Northern Neotropics,’ Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Emmons, L.H. (1997) ‘Neotropical Forest Mammals: A Field Guide,’ Second Edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Goodwin, G.G. and Greenhall, A.M. (1961) ‘A Review of the Bats of Trinidad and Tobago: Descriptions, Rabies Infection, and Ecology,’ Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 122 (3), 1-301.

Gorman, M.L. (1979) ‘Island Ecology,’ Cambridge: Chapman and Hall

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources), (2005) ‘2002 IUCN Red List,’

Nelson, H.P. and Nelson, E.S. (in press) ‘A field guide to the Mammals of Trinidad and Tobago.’

Patton, J.L., Da Silva, M.N.F. and Malcolm, J.R. (2000) ‘Mammals of the Rio Juruá and the Evolutionary and Ecological Diversification of Amazonia,’ Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 244, 1-306

Voss, R.S., Lunde, D. P. and Simmons, N.B. (2001) ‘The Mammals of Paracou, French Guiana: A Neotropical Lowland Rainforest Fauna Part 2: Nonvolant Species,’ Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 263, 1-236

Voss, R.S., Tarifa, T. and Yensen, E. (2004) ‘An Introduction to Marmosops (Marsupialia: Didelphidae), with the Description of a New Species from Bolivia and Notes on the Taxonomy and Distribution of other Bolivian Forms,’ American Museum Novitates, 3466, 1-40

Weinbeer, M. and Kalko, E.K.V. (2004) ‘Morphological characteristics predict alternate foraging strategy and microhabitat selection in the Orange-bellied Bat, Lamproncyceris brachyotis,’ Journal of Mammalogy, 85 (6) 1116-1123

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