Use of highway culverts by the water opossum (Chironectes minimus) in southeastern Brazil


  • Paula Ribeiro Prist Universidade de São Paulo, Instituto de Biociências
  • Guilherme S. T. Garbino Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zoologia
  • Fernanda Delborgo Abra Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Center for Conservation Education and Sustainability
  • Thais Pagotto Concessionária Auto Raposo Tavares
  • Osnir Ormon Giacon Concessionária Auto Raposo Tavares


Atlantic rainforest, camera traps, Didelphidae, wildlife passages


Abstract The water opossum (Chironectes minimus) is a semi-aquatic mammal that is infrequently sampled in Atlantic rainforest areas in Brazil. Here we report on new records of C. minimus in the state of São Paulo, southeastern Brazil, and comment on its behavior and ecology. We placed nine camera traps in culverts and cattle boxes under a highway, between 2017 and 2019. From a total of 6,750 camera-trap-days, we obtained 16 records of C. minimus (0.24 records/100 camera-trap-days) in two cameras placed in culverts over streams. Most of the records were made between May and August, in the dry season and in the first six hours after sunset. The new records are from a highly degraded area with some riparian forests. The records lie approximately 30 km away from the nearest protected area where the species is known to occur. We suggest that C. minimus has some tolerance to degraded habitats, as long as the water bodies and riparian forests are minimally preserved. The new records presented here also fill a distribution gap in western São Paulo state.




How to Cite

Prist, P. R., Garbino, G. S. T., Abra, F. D., Pagotto, T., & Giacon, O. O. (2020). Use of highway culverts by the water opossum (Chironectes minimus) in southeastern Brazil. Biota Neotropica, 20(4). Retrieved from //



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