Chapter 3: Didelphis virginiana (Marsupialia, Didelphimorphia): A Proposal for its Use as a Biomonitor of Environmental Pollution
Published:24 Jun 2022
H. A. Ruiz-Piña, J. R. Osten, and R. M. Flores-Serrano, in Marsupial and Placental Mammal Species in Environmental Risk Assessment Strategies, ed. M. L. Larramendy and G. Liwszyc, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2022, ch. 3, pp. 47-64.
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There is a lack of scientific research in the literature on the ecotoxicology of marsupials, more specifically on opossums of the genus Didelphis. So far, little is known about how marsupials have responded to disturbances caused by strong anthropogenic antecedents, both present and past. Currently, there are very few studies related to the presence of contaminants in opossums and even fewer regarding the evaluation of the possible effects that these contaminants may exert on these organisms. Studies on the presence of organochlorine pesticide residues in tissue and blood samples, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in muscle and other tissues of the Virginia opossum, Didelphis virginiana, have confirmed this suspicion. Likewise, there is evidence of the presence of metals in the hair and livers of opossums. The wide distribution of D. virginiana in rural and urban environments of the American continent and its feeding habits allow us to use the opossum as a good bioindicator of human environmental contamination in any region where it is found, as well as a receptor species in ecological risk assessments.