Jessica Light Profile picture
Mar 12, 2021 16 tweets 9 min read Read on X
FIRST UP: No.1 seed Dugong (Dugong dugon) vs No. 16 seed Colo Colo Opossum (Dromiciops gliroides). Genetics tweets for this battle provided by the awesome @sexchrlab #2021MMM Picture of a dugong on the ...
Dugongs are found in tropical, marine waters of the eastern hemisphere oceans. These large mammals (3m long, 300kg) never come out of the water; they are obligate, aquatic specialists #2021MMM Map of range of the dugong ...
Dugongs are 1 of 2 living genera within the order Sirenia. The other living genus is Trichechus, or Manatees (a #2019MMM combatant!). Tricksy taxonomy: what in the world are Sirenians? Where do they belong in the mammal phylogenetic tree? #2021MMM
Turns out, Dugongs & all Sirenians are closely related to Elephants & Rock Hyraxes (Plön et al. 2019;…) & Aardvarks, Elephant Shrews, Tenrecs, & Golden Moles. Amazing! These animals look so different from each other but are close relatives! #2021MMM Phylogeny of dugongs and cl...
Colo Colo Opossum, also known as Monito del Monte, is a small, terrestrial marsupial (220 mm, including tail, & ~40g) restricted to southern South America & is found primarily in high elevation temperate forests #2021MMM Map showing the range of th...
What makes this Colo Colo Opossum Taxonomically Tricky? Well, you would think that this South American marsupial & other members of the Order Microbiotheria would be closely related & most similar to other South American marsupials, right? Nope! WRONG! #2021MMM
Chromosome structure, morphology, & genetic data definitively show that Colo Colo Opossum & all Microbiotheria are more closely related to AUSTRALIAN marsupials (Suárez-Villota et al 2016 ……; Nilsson et al. 2010…) #2021MMM Three arrays of 7 pairs of ...
This means all living Australian marsupials share a common ancestor with Colo Colo Opossum in the Americas, supporting the trek of marsupial mammals from South America, across Antarctica, into Australia (shallow water & warmer climate) over 50 million years ago #2021MMM Three part figure showing t...
The site for tonight's first battle is just off the shore of Talibong Island, Thailand. Mating season just wrapped up (Adulyanukosol et al. 2007…) & our male, herbivorous Dugong is busy grazing in a shallow seagrass bed #2021MMM 9 part figure of dugong mat...
Colo Colo Opossum is way out of her element; she prefers the ground & trees. All of this water is disconcerting to say the least. Colo Colo Opossum clings desperately to the piece of wood she has found herself on, floating & surrounded by water #2021MMM
Dugong happily & cluelessly munches on seagrass, rooting around in the sand on the seafloor [video is a dugong grazing & swimming] #2021MMM
The waves are rocking Colo Colo Opossum's piece of wood & she struggles to maintain her balance. And to top that off, Colo Colo feels the water dragging her raft away from land. It's low tide! #2021MMM
Colo Colo Opossum frantically looks around & notices newly exposed vegetation along with random floating debris. These provide a perfect bridge for Colo Colo to use to scramble to land. Colo Colo abandons the field of play! [gif is person running over water] #2021MMM
Meanwhile, the low tide doesn't bother Dugong at all; there's still plenty of water & available seagrass for continual, uninterrupted grazing (Sheppard et al. 2010…) #2021MMM
Even with this one & done #2021MMM appearance of Mircrobiotheria, March Mammal Madness has now featured combatants from ALL Mammalian Orders!!!

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More from @je_light

Mar 25, 2021
FIRST UP: No. 2 seed Midgardia Seastar (Midgardia xandaros) vs No. 6 seed Ammonite (Didymoceras nebrascense) #2021MMM Figure of Midgardia xandaros on the right, from the original
Sea Beasties should be TERRIFYING based on the origins of their names: fabulous sea monster of middle earth (Midgardia Seastar) & paired horns (Ammonite). But Round 1 & 2 action has been, well, NOT TERRIFYING. Maybe this round will be different??? #2021MMM
What IS Midgardia Seastar, anyway? Seastars also go by the name starfish, but starfish are not fish! They are echnioderms along with sand dollars, sea urchins & sea cucumbers. Midgardia Seastar belongs to the order Brisingida, which are primarily deep-sea animals #2021MMM Image is a collage of colorful echinoderms, including seasta
Read 19 tweets
Mar 23, 2021
NEXT UP: No. 2 seed Midgardia Seastar (Midgardia xandaros) vs No. 7 seed Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta). This battle is #TeamWork between myself & @Mammals_Suck #2021MMM Image is a Midgardia Seastar on the left, located on the sea
In Norse mythology, Migard (Migardia) Serpent was the child of LOKI! Our Seastar's species name, xanderos, is Greek for fabulous sea monster. More about deep-sea starfish from #ActualLivingScientist @echinoblog here:… [gif is Loki flipping knives] #2021MMM
Unfortunately, little is known about our long-legged creature of the deep. There are less than 20 specimens in natural history collections, most at the @TAMU Biodiversity Research & Teaching Collections #BRTC #CollectionsAreEssential #2021MMM Midgardia xandaros specimen from the Texas A&M University Bi
Read 15 tweets
Mar 19, 2021
FIRST UP: No.1 seed Dugong (Dugong dugon) vs No. 8 Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus). Teamwork battle by myself & @MarcKissel (& a great assist from @Mammals_Suck), with genetics info from @sexchrlab & @StoneLab_ASU #2021MMM Image of a Dugong floating vertically in the water on the le
Although our two combatants may seem really different (one being obligate aquatic in tropical, marine waters & the other terrestrial in mountain forests), they do have one thing in common......TUSKS #2021MMM Image of Dugong skull on left, Musk Deer skull on right, bot
Dugong tusks are elongated second incisors, similar to elephants (remember, Dugongs & Elephants are close relatives!). Tusks are found in all adult males (& mature females). Take a spin on @Sketchfab to have a look:… #2021MMM
Read 16 tweets
Mar 11, 2021
NEXT UP: No.5 seed Red Brocket (Mazama americana) vs No. 12 seed Siberian Weasel (Mustela sibirica) #2021MMM
GET THIS: Red Brocket is RED! This South American deer species is reddish-brown in coloration across most of its body, perfect for camouflage in dense, tropical forests #2021MMM
Red Brockets are the biggest of the Mazama cervids. Our male Red Brocket is ~4.3 stoats long (145 cm) & he's dense weighing in at 30 kg (136 stoats) #StoatsAsMeasurement #2021MMM
Read 18 tweets
Mar 13, 2020
LAST UP: No. 8 seed Finlayson's Squirrel (Callosciurus finlaysonii) vs No. 9 seed Kowari (Dasyuroides byrnei) #2020MMM
Finlayson's Squirrel is our 3rd #TeamRodent of the night. These "beautiful squirrels" (but aren't they all??) are quite lovely with highly variable coat colors ranging from all white to all black to all red (Boonkhaw et al. 2017 #2020MMM
In fact, Callosciurus is Greek for beautiful ('callo'), shadow ('skia'), & tail ('oura') (Borror 1960 Finlayson's Squirrel are #smol squirrels (1.3 stoats #StoatsAsMeasurements), found in the trees (arboreal) in southeast Asia rainforests #2020MMM
Read 18 tweets
Mar 12, 2020
FIRST UP: No.1 seed Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) vs No. 16 seed & wildcard winner Pygmy Spotted Skunk (Spilogale pygmaea) #2020MMM
Our #TeamDogsish Pygmy Spotted Skunk is a #smol skunk, blackish-brown in color w/creamy-buff longitudinal stripes over most of the body. The genus name Spilogale is derived from the Greek "spilos" (spot) and "gale" (weasel) (Kinlaw 1995 #2020MMM
The Pygmy Spotted Skunk is @IUCNRedList vulnerable due to rapid human encroachment on their Pacific Mexican habitat, hunting, & predation by CATS AND DOGS! #IntraOrderCarnage… #2020MMM
Read 13 tweets

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