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A possum is any of about 25 small to medium-sized arboreal marsupials native to Australia. The name derives from their resemblance to the opossums of the Americas and, unlike most names applied to Australian fauna in the early years of European colonisation, happens to be accurate: the opossums of America are distant relatives. (The name is from Algonquian wapathemwa, not Greek or Latin, so the plural is possums, not *possa.) Possum is also used in North America as a diminutive for the Virginia opossum.