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The opossums, also known by their scientific name Didelphimorphia /daɪˌdɛlfɨˈmɔrfiə/), make up the largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, including 103 or more species in 19 genera. They are also commonly called possums, particularly in the southern United States,[3] although that term technically refers to Australian animals of the suborder Phalangeriformes. The Virginia opossum was the first animal named an opossum; usage of the name was published in 1610.[4] The word opossum was borrowed from the Virginia Algonquian (Powhatan) language in the form aposoum and ultimately derives from the Proto-Algonquian word *wa˙p- aʔθemw, meaning "white dog" or "white beast/animal".[5] Their unspecialized biology, flexible diet, and reproductive habits make them successful colonizers and survivors in diverse locations and conditions. Didelphimorphs are small to medium-sized marsupials, ranging in size from a large house cat to a small mouse. They tend to be semi-arboreal omnivores, although there are many exceptions. Most members of this taxon have long snouts, a narrow braincase, and a prominent sagittal crest. The dental formula is: By mammalian standards, this is an unusually full jaw. The incisors are very small, the canines large, and the molars are tricuspid. Didelphimorphs have a plantigrade stan...

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