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New opossum species named after UW-Oshkosh professor

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Mammal experts have named a new species of opossum after the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh professor who discovered it.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reported Thursday that UW-Oshkosh biology professor Greg Adler was working on research near the Panama Canal in 2001 when he found a mouse opossum with a longer tail than usual and a brownish rather than the common salmon-colored belly.

“In 2001, I was capturing a lot of mouse opossums, which were common and widespread throughout forested parts of central Panama. I captured one individual in a national park that had a slightly different color on the belly, and I did not know if it was just a color variation of a common species or a different species,” Adler explained.

He sent the animal to the American Museum of Natural History and forgot about it until this year, when he received an email from museum curator Robert Voss.

He said the opossum was a new species and it had been named Marmosa adleri, Latin for “Adler’s mouse opossum.”

The museum published the discovery on Dec. 8. Adler says he’s honored.

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