Opossum

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Didelphimorphia
Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous – Recent
Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Didelphimorphia
Gill, 1872
Family: Didelphidae
Gray, 1821

Opossums are the largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, the Didelphimorphia.

They are often called possums, though that term is more properly applied to Australian fauna of the suborder Phalangeriformes.

The Virginia Opossum was the first animal to be named an opossum: the word comes from the Algonquian language, and means "white beast". It was one of the few South American marsupials to establish itself permanently in North America after the Great American Interchange, and the only one to survive there today.