Thinspined porcupine

Chaetomys subspinosus

SUBFAMILY

Chaetomyinae

TAXONOMY

Hystrix subspinosa (Olfers, 1818), Cameta, Para, Brazil. Formerly classed with the Neotropical porcupines (Erythrozonti-dae), but now recognized as an echimyid and as a remarkable example of parallel evolution. Characteristics that led to this reassessment included the retention of deciduous premolars throughout life and the lack of an internal carotid artery.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Rabbit-sized and weighing some 2.87 lb (1.3 kg), C. semi-spinosus has its back covered with long thin bristles. On the head, neck, and shoulders, these are more spine-like. Like sloths, this species has low levels of muscle mass for its body size.

DISTRIBUTION

A small portion of Atlantic Coastal Rainforest in southeastern Brazil, in the states of Sergipe, Bahia, Espirito Santo and Rio de Janeiro. Not seen after 1952, but was rediscovered in 1987.

HABITAT

Rainforest and secondary scrub, cocoa plantations.

BEHAVIOR

Nocturnal, arboreal, solitary, and slow moving. Spends the day asleep and nearly 70% of the night resting between bouts of moving, feeding, and grooming. Tail is probably not fully prehensile, but capable of a tight grip and so assists in climbing. Like a sloth, descends to ground to defecate and urinate. Lethargic life in keeping with ingestion and digestion of poor quality, hard-to-digest forage.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Leaves, plus some insects and fruit.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Vulnerable. However, ability to live in modified habitats may mitigate the fact that it has a very restricted distribution in an area of very rapid deforestation.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

None known. Eats cocoa pods but punitive hunting not reported. ♦

Common name /

Physical

Habitat and

Conservation

Scientific name

characteristics

behavior

Distribution

Diet

status

Rufous tree rat

Upperparts rusty brown, reddish, or

Forests or clearings, near

Panama, western

Grass, sugar cane,

Not threatened

Diplomys labilis

orange buffy mixed with black; under-

water. Nocturnal.

Colombia, and northern

bananas, other fruits,

parts buffy, reddish, or reddish white.

Ecuador.

and nuts.

Head and body length 9.8-18.9 in

(25-48 cm); tail length 7.9-11 in (20-

28 cm).

Armored spiny rat

Upperparts dark yellowish brown,

Lives in trees, preferably

Andes of northern

Grass, sugar cane,

Not listed by

Makalata armata

heavily lined with black; back speckled

along rivers.

Ecuador and Colombia,

bananas, other fruits,

IUCN

with yellow. Spines are pale gray at the

Venezuela, Guianas,

and nuts.

base and darker at the top. Underparts

Amazon Basin of

pale yellowish or grayish brown with no

Brazil, Tobago, and

spines. Short tail, many lose their tails.

Trinidad.

Head and body length 6.7-8 in (17-

20.2 cm); tail length 7.2 in (18.2 cm);

weight 5.2-11.2 oz (147-317 g).

Bishop's fossorial spiny rat

Upperparts grayish brown and black,

Live in clearings. Build

Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Grass, sugar cane,

Vulnerable

Clyomys bishopi

mixed with rufous; underparts whitish or

burrows and appear to live

bananas, other fruits,

buffy. May have grayish patches at throat,

in communities.

and nuts.

chest, or belly. Fur is bristly. Head and

body length 4.1-9.1 in (10.5-23 cm); tail

length 2.2-3.4 in (5.5-8.7 cm); weight

0.74-1.4 oz (21-39 g).

Guiara

Upperparts drab brown; underparts

Areas covered with grass or

Southern and eastern

Grass, sugar cane,

Not listed by

Euryzygomatomys spinosus

whitish. Hands and feet are brown.

bushes, preferably near water.

Brazil, northeastern

bananas, other fruits,

IUCN

Spines present on back. Head and body

Nocturnal and apparently

Argentina, and

and nuts.

length 6.7-10.6 in (17-27 cm); tail

fossorial.

Paraguay.

length 2-2.2 in (5-5.5 cm). Males may

be somewhat larger than females.

Tuft-tailed spiny tree rat

Upperparts dark brown, buffy spots in

Lives in forests and is likely

Central Brazil, south of

Grass, sugar cane,

Not threatened

Lonchothrix emiliae

shoulder region; sides are tawny; under

arboreal.

the Amazon River.

bananas, other fruits,

parts are pale tawny. Spines present on

and nuts.

back; belly is somewhat spiny. Tail is

mostly furless, but tufted at the end.

Head and body length about 7.9 in

(20 cm); tail length about 7.5 in (19 cm).

Brazilian spiny tree rat

Upperparts various shades of brown;

Lives in forests at elevations

Brazil.

Grass, sugar cane,

Data Deficient

Mesomys didelphoides

spines may have dark brown and pale

of 295-6,400 ft (90-1,950

bananas, other fruits,

buffy bands. Underparts orangish, pale

m) and is likely arboreal.

and nuts.

buffy, or whitish. Spines present on back.

Brown, tufted tail. Head and body length

5.9-7.9 in (15-20 cm); tail length 4.4-

8.7 in (11.3-22 cm).

Punare

Upperparts dull brown; underparts

Rocky and thickly vegetated

Eastern Brazil and

Cotton seeds or fruits,

Not threatened

Thrichomys apereoides

grayish to white. Soft fur, with no spines

areas, and swamps.

Paraguay.

coconuts, and cacti.

or bristles; hairy tail. Head and body

Generally active at twilight.

length 7.9-11.4 in (20-29 cm); tail

length 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm); weight

10.6-15.9 oz (300-450 g).

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