Jul 8, 2009

Of Double Wombs and Albus

BJ volunteers at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa and snapped some shots of one of their newest guests.

There are 65 species of possums worldwide, but only one is native to North America: Didelphis virginiana, aka the Virginia opossum. Possums get their common name from the Algonquin name for them: apasam, which means 'white animal.' The Latin world, Didelphis, means 'double womb,' a reference to the marsupial pouch which functions as a secondary stage for offspring development. And, of course, for the last bit of etymology trivia: the word albino comes from the Latin word albus, which means 'white."

No, sorry. One more bit of word trivia: ROUS stands for Rodent Of Unusual Size. Beware the Fire Swamp.

Thanks for the albino possum, BJ.


Christopher Taylor said...

"Double womb" doesn't refer to the pouch, as it happens - marsupials have a divided uterus, with a separate vagina for each compartment of the uterus, so they do have a "double womb".

W. A. Whipple said...

I used to think that 'possums couldn't get any creepier... 'til I saw an albino one. *shudder*

hydrolagus said...

Definitely not an improvement. I'll stick with Possum Classic.

Anonymous said...

It's looking horrible But it is,I think these should be in preservation.


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