Armadillo
Overview
Armadillos are New World placenta
Placenta
The placenta is an organ that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother's blood supply. "True" placentas are a defining characteristic of eutherian or "placental" mammals, but are also found in some snakes and...

l mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s, known for having a leathery armor
Armour (zoology)
Armour in animals is external or superficial protection against attack by predators, formed as part of the body , usually through the hardening of body tissues, outgrowths or secretions. It has therefore mostly developed in 'prey' species...

 shell. Dasypodidae is the only surviving family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 in the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra
Xenarthra
The superorder Xenarthra is a group of placental mammals , existent today only in the Americas and represented by anteaters, tree sloths, and armadillos. The origins of the order can be traced back as far as the Paleogene in South America...

 along with the anteater
Anteater
Anteaters, also known as antbear, are the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingua commonly known for eating ants and termites. Together with the sloths, they compose the order Pilosa...

s and sloth
Sloth
Sloths are the six species of medium-sized mammals belonging to the families Megalonychidae and Bradypodidae , part of the order Pilosa and therefore related to armadillos and anteaters, which sport a similar set of specialized claws.They are arboreal residents of the jungles of Central and South...

s. The word armadillo is Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 for "little armored one". The Aztec called them azotochtli, Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 for “turtle-rabbit.”

There are approximately ten extant genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 and around 20 extant species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of armadillo, some of which are distinguished by the number of bands on their armor.
Encyclopedia
Armadillos are New World placenta
Placenta
The placenta is an organ that connects the developing fetus to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother's blood supply. "True" placentas are a defining characteristic of eutherian or "placental" mammals, but are also found in some snakes and...

l mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s, known for having a leathery armor
Armour (zoology)
Armour in animals is external or superficial protection against attack by predators, formed as part of the body , usually through the hardening of body tissues, outgrowths or secretions. It has therefore mostly developed in 'prey' species...

 shell. Dasypodidae is the only surviving family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 in the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra
Xenarthra
The superorder Xenarthra is a group of placental mammals , existent today only in the Americas and represented by anteaters, tree sloths, and armadillos. The origins of the order can be traced back as far as the Paleogene in South America...

 along with the anteater
Anteater
Anteaters, also known as antbear, are the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingua commonly known for eating ants and termites. Together with the sloths, they compose the order Pilosa...

s and sloth
Sloth
Sloths are the six species of medium-sized mammals belonging to the families Megalonychidae and Bradypodidae , part of the order Pilosa and therefore related to armadillos and anteaters, which sport a similar set of specialized claws.They are arboreal residents of the jungles of Central and South...

s. The word armadillo is Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 for "little armored one". The Aztec called them azotochtli, Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 for “turtle-rabbit.”

There are approximately ten extant genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 and around 20 extant species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of armadillo, some of which are distinguished by the number of bands on their armor. Their average length is about 75 centimetres (29.5 in), including tail; the giant armadillo
Giant Armadillo
The giant armadillo , colloquially tatou, ocarro, tatu-canastra or tatú carreta, is the largest living species of armadillo...

 grows up to 150 centimetres (59.1 in) and weighs up to 59 kilograms (130.1 lb), while the pink fairy armadillo
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The pink fairy armadillo or pichiciego is the smallest species of armadillo...

s are diminutive species with an overall length of 12 to 15 cm (4.7 to 5.9 in). All species are native to the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, where they inhabit a variety of environments.

Armadillos species are primarily found in South
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 and Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, particularly in Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

 and surrounding areas. Many species are endangered. Some species groups, such as the long-nosed armadillos, are widely distributed over the Americas, whereas others, such as the fairy armadillos, are concentrated in smaller ranges in South America. One species, the nine-banded armadillo
Nine-banded Armadillo
The nine-banded armadillo , or the nine-banded, long-nosed armadillo, is a species of armadillo found in North, Central, and South America, making it the most widespread of the armadillos...

, (Dasypus novemcinctus), is found in the United States, primarily in the south central states (notably Texas), but with a range that extends as far east as South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 and Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and as far north as Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

; they have been consistently expanding their range in North America over the last century due to a lack of natural predators, and have been found as far north as southern Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 and Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

.

Habitat and anatomy

Armadillos are prolific diggers with sharp claws. Many species use their sharp claws to dig for food, such as grubs, and to dig dens. The nine-banded armadillo prefers to build burrow
Burrow
A burrow is a hole or tunnel dug into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct of locomotion. Burrows provide a form of shelter against predation and exposure to the elements, so the burrowing way of life is quite popular among the...

s in moist soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 near the creeks, streams, and arroyos
Arroyo (creek)
An arroyo , a Spanish word translated as brook, and also called a wash is usually a dry creek or stream bed—gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. Wadi is a similar term in Africa. In Spain, a rambla has a similar meaning to arroyo.-Types and processes:Arroyos...

 around which it lives and feeds. The diet of different armadillo species varies, but consists mainly of insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s, grubs, and other invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s. Some species, however, feed almost entirely on ants and termites.

In common with other xenarthrans
Xenarthra
The superorder Xenarthra is a group of placental mammals , existent today only in the Americas and represented by anteaters, tree sloths, and armadillos. The origins of the order can be traced back as far as the Paleogene in South America...

, armadillos in general have low body temperature
Thermoregulation
Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different...

s (33–36°C) and basal metabolic rate
Basal metabolic rate
Basal Metabolic Rate , and the closely related resting metabolic rate , is the amount of daily energy expended by humans and other animals at rest. Rest is defined as existing in a neutrally temperate environment while in the post-absorptive state...

s (from 40–60% of that expected in a placental mammal of their mass). This is particularly true of types that specialize on using termites as their primary food source (for example, Priodontes and Tolypeutes
Tolypeutes
The genus Tolypeutes contains the two species of three-banded armadillos. They are restricted to South America, mostly Brazil.- Species :There are two recognized species:* Tolypeutes matacus – Southern Three-banded Armadillo...

).

Armadillos have poor vision, but large eyes.

The armor is formed by plates of dermal bone covered in relatively small, overlapping epidermal scales called "scute
Scute
A scute or scutum is a bony external plate or scale, as on the shell of a turtle, the skin of crocodilians, the feet of some birds or the anterior portion of the mesonotum in insects.-Properties:...

s", composed of bone with a covering of horn. In most species, rigid shields over the shoulders and hips, with a number of bands separated by flexible skin cover the back and flanks. Additional armor covers the top of the head, the upper parts of the limbs, and the tail. The underside of the animal is never armored, and is simply covered with soft skin and fur.

This armor-like skin appears to be the main defense of many armadillos, although most escape predators by fleeing (often into thorny patches, from which their armor protects them) or digging to safety. Only the South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n three-banded armadillos (Tolypeutes) rely heavily on their armor for protection. When threatened by a predator, Tolypeutes species frequently roll up into a ball. Other armadillo species cannot roll up because they have too many plates. The North American nine-banded armadillo tends to jump straight in the air when surprised, and consequently often collides with the undercarriage or fenders of passing vehicles.

Armadillos have short legs, but can move quite quickly, and have the ability to remain underwater for as long as six minutes. Because of the density of its armor, an armadillo will sink in water unless it swallows air, inflating its stomach to twice normal size and raising its buoyancy above that of water, allowing it to swim across narrow streams and ditches.

Armadillos use their claws for digging and finding food, as well as for making their homes in burrows. They dig their burrows with their claws, only making a single corridor where they fit themselves. They have five clawed toes on the hindfeet, and three to five toes with heavy digging claws on the forefeet. Armadillos have a large number of cheek teeth, which are not divided into premolar
Premolar
The premolar teeth or bicuspids are transitional teeth located between the canine and molar teeth. In humans, there are two premolars per quadrant, making eight premolars total in the mouth. They have at least two cusps. Premolars can be considered as a 'transitional tooth' during chewing, or...

s and molar
Molar (tooth)
Molars are the rearmost and most complicated kind of tooth in most mammals. In many mammals they grind food; hence the Latin name mola, "millstone"....

s, but usually have incisor
Incisor
Incisors are the first kind of tooth in heterodont mammals. They are located in the premaxilla above and mandible below.-Function:...

s or canines. The dentition
Dentition
Dentition pertains to the development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth. In particular, the characteristic arrangement, kind, and number of teeth in a given species at a given age...

 of the nine-banded armadillo is P 7/7, M 1/1 = 32.

Gestation
Gestation
Gestation is the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside a female viviparous animal. Mammals during pregnancy can have one or more gestations at the same time ....

 lasts anywhere from 60 to 120 days, depending on species, although the nine-banded armadillo also exhibits delayed implantation, so the young are not typically born for eight months after mating. Most members of the genus Dasypus give birth to four monozygotic young (that is, identical quadruplets), but other species may have typical litter sizes that range from one to eight. The young are born with soft, leathery skin, which hardens within a few weeks; they reach sexual maturity in three to 12 months, depending on the species. Armadillos are solitary animals that do not share their burrows with other adults.

Classification

Order CINGULATA
  • FamilyPampatheriidae
    Pampatheriidae
    Pampatheridae is an ancient family, now extinct, of large armadillo-like plantigrade armored xenarthrans. They are related to Glyptodontidae, an extinct family of much larger and more heavily armored xenarthrans, as well as to smaller extant armadillos...

    : pampatheres
    • Genus †Machlydotherium
    • Genus †Kraglievichia
    • Genus †Vassallia
    • Genus †Plaina
    • Genus †Scirrotherium
    • Genus †Pampatherium
    • Genus †Holmesina
      Holmesina
      Holmesina is a genus of pampathere, an extinct group of armadillo-like creatures that were distantly related to extant armadillos. Like armadillos, and unlike the other extinct branch of Cingulata, the glyptodonts, the shell was made up of flexible plates which allowed the animal to move more easily...

  • FamilyGlyptodontidae
    Glyptodontidae
    Glyptodonts were large, more heavily armored relatives of extinct pampatheres and modern armadillos.They first evolved during the Miocene in South America, which remained their center of species diversity...

    : glyptodonts
    • Genus †Doedicurus
      Doedicurus
      Doedicurus clavicaudatus was a prehistoric glyptodont, living during the Pleistocene until the end of the last glacial period, some 11,000 years ago. This was the largest known glyptodontid, and one of the better known members of the New World Pleistocene megafauna, with a height of 1.5 meters and...

    • Genus †Glyptodon
      Glyptodon
      Glyptodon was a large, armored mammal of the family Glyptodontidae, a relative of armadillos that lived during the Pleistocene Epoch. It was roughly the same size and weight as a Volkswagen Beetle, though flatter in shape...

    • Genus †Glyptotherium
    • Genus †Hoplophorus
      Hoplophorus
      Hoplophorus was an extinct genus of glyptodont, a family of mammals related to armadillo. The only known species was H. euphractus....

    • Genus †Panochthus
      Panochthus
      Panochthus is an extinct genus of glyptodont, who lived in Argentina during the Pleistocene epoch.It could reach 3 m of length; the upper skull and the body were protected by hemispherical armor composed of hundred of rounded scales. The tail, short and wedge-shaped, consisted of small bony...

    • Genus †Parapropalaehoplophorus
      Parapropalaehoplophorus
      Parapropalaehoplophorus septentrionalis was a relatively small species of glyptodont, extinct relatives of the modern armadillo. The mammal, identified in 2007 from the fossilized remains of a specimen found in 2004, weighed approximately 200 pounds and had a shell covered by tiny circular bumps...

    • Genus †Plaxhaplous
  • Incertae sedis
    Incertae sedis
    , is a term used to define a taxonomic group where its broader relationships are unknown or undefined. Uncertainty at specific taxonomic levels is attributed by , , and similar terms.-Examples:*The fossil plant Paradinandra suecica could not be assigned to any...

    : †Pachyarmatherium
    Pachyarmatherium
    Pachyarmatherium is an extinct large armadillo-like cingulate genus of North and South America from the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs, related to the extant armadillos and the extinct pampatheres and glyptodonts. It was present from 4.9 Mya—300,000 years ago, existing for approximately...

  • Family Dasypodidae: armadillos
    • Subfamily Dasypodinae
      • Genus Dasypus
        Dasypus
        Dasypus is a genus of armadillo in the Dasypodidae family. It is the only genus in the subfamily Dasypodinae and contains the following species:*Nine-banded Armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus*Seven-banded Armadillo, Dasypus septemcinctus...


        • Nine-banded armadillo
          Nine-banded Armadillo
          The nine-banded armadillo , or the nine-banded, long-nosed armadillo, is a species of armadillo found in North, Central, and South America, making it the most widespread of the armadillos...

           or long-nosed armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus
        • Seven-banded armadillo
          Seven-banded Armadillo
          Seven-banded, long-nosed armadillo or just seven-banded armadillo, Dasypus septemcinctus, is a species of armadillo from South America...

          , Dasypus septemcinctus
        • Southern long-nosed armadillo
          Southern Long-nosed Armadillo
          The Southern Long-nosed Armadillo, Dasypus hybridus, is an armadillo species from South America. It is found in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.-References:*...

          , Dasypus hybridus
        • Llanos long-nosed armadillo
          Llanos Long-nosed Armadillo
          The Llanos Long-nosed Armadillo is a species of armadillo in the Dasypodidae family. It is endemic to Colombia and Venezuela. The species is very closely related to the Nine-banded Armadillo and the Greater Long-nosed Armadillo. It has very little hair and can weigh up to 22 pounds , and can...

          , Dasypus sabanicola
        • Great long-nosed armadillo, Dasypus kappleri
        • Hairy long-nosed armadillo
          Hairy Long-nosed Armadillo
          The hairy long-nosed armadillo is a species of armadillo in the family Dasypodidae. It is endemic to Peru. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical, moist, lowland forests and subtropical or tropical, moist montanes. It is threatened by habitat loss....

          , Dasypus pilosus
        • Yepes's mulita
          Yepes's Mulita
          Yepes's mulita is a species of armadillo in the family Dasypodidae. It is endemic to Argentina. Its natural habitat is subtropical dry forests....

          , Dasypus yepesi
        • †Beautiful armadillo, Dasypus bellus
    • Subfamily Euphractinae
      Euphractinae
      Euphractinae is a subfamily of armadillo in the Dasypodidae family. It contains the following genera:*Calyptophractus*Chaetophractus Hairy Armadillos*Chlamyphorus*Euphractus six-banded armadillos*Zaedyus pichis...

      • Genus Calyptophractus
        • Greater fairy armadillo
          Greater Fairy Armadillo
          The greater fairy armadillo , also known as Burmeister's armadillo or the Chacoan fairy armadillo, is a species of armadillo in the family Dasypodidae. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland and subtropical or tropical dry...

          , Calyptophractus retusus
      • Genus Chaetophractus
        Chaetophractus
        Chaetophractus is a small genus of armadillos in the Dasypodidae family. It contains the following three species:*Screaming Hairy Armadillo, Chaetophractus vellerosus*Big Hairy Armadillo, Chaetophractus villosus...

        • Screaming Hairy Armadillo
          Screaming Hairy Armadillo
          The Screaming Hairy Armadillo is a species of armadillo also known as the Small Screaming Armadillo, Crying Armadillo or the Small Hairy Armadillo. It is a burrowing armadillo found in the central and southern parts of South America...

          , Chaetophractus vellerosus
        • Big Hairy Armadillo
          Big Hairy Armadillo
          Chaetophractus villosus, commonly called the Big Hairy Armadillo is one of the largest and most numerous armadillos in South America. It lives from sea level to altitudes of up to 1,300 meters across the southern portion of South America and can be found in grasslands, forests, savannahs, and has...

          , Chaetophractus villosus
        • Andean Hairy Armadillo
          Andean Hairy Armadillo
          The Andean Hairy Armadillo is an armadillo present in Bolivia, in the region of the Puna, the departments of Oruro, La Paz, and Cochabamba . Nowark describes it as distributed in Bolivia and northern Chile. A recent publication of Pacheco et al. also locates the species in Peru...

          , Chaetophractus nationi
      • Genus †Peltephilus
        Peltephilus
        Peltephilus ferox, the Horned Armadillo, was a species of dog-sized, armadillo-like xenarthran mammal which first inhabited Argentina during the Oligocene epoch, and became extinct in the Miocene epoch. Notably, the scutes on its head were so developed that they formed horns protecting its eyes...

        • †Horned Armadillo, Peltephilus ferox
      • Genus Chlamyphorus, Chlamyphorus truncatus
        • Pink Fairy Armadillo
          Pink Fairy Armadillo
          The pink fairy armadillo or pichiciego is the smallest species of armadillo...

          , Chlamyphorus truncatus
      • Genus Euphractus
        • Six-banded Armadillo
          Six-banded Armadillo
          The Six-banded Armadillo , also known as the Yellow Armadillo, is a species of armadillo from South America. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and isolated populations in Suriname . Its body is usually yellowish in color, sometimes tan or light reddish-brown...

          , Euphractus sexcinctus
      • Genus Zaedyus
        • Pichi
          Pichi
          The Pichi or Dwarf Armadillo is a small armadillo that is the only member the genus Zaedyus. The range of the Pichi is from central and southern Argentina , west to the Andean grasslands of Chile and south to the Strait of Magellan.Its body is approximately long with a tail of 4-6 inches...

          , Zaedyus pichiy
    • Subfamily Tolypeutinae
      Tolypeutinae
      Tolypeutinae is a subfamily of armadillo in the Dasypodidae family. It contains the following three extant genera:Kuntinaru*Cabassous*Priodontes*Tolypeutes...

      • Genus †Kuntinaru
        Kuntinaru
        Kuntinaru is an extinct genus of tolypeutine dasypodid armadillo which existed in Bolivia, during the late Oligocene . It is known from the holotype MNHN-SAL 1024, skull missing the apex of the rostrum and the paratype MNHN-SAL 3, second skull missing the apex of the rostrum, recovered from the...

      • Genus Cabassous
        Cabassous
        Cabassous is a genus of armadillo in the Dasypodidae family. It contains the following species:*Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous centralis*Chacoan Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous chacoensis...

        • Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo
          Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo
          The Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo is a species of armadillo. It is found from Chiapas in southern Mexico to western Colombia, northwestern Ecuador and northwestern Venezuela, at altitudes from sea level to 3000 m...

          , Cabassous centralis
        • Chacoan Naked-tailed Armadillo
          Chacoan Naked-tailed Armadillo
          The Chacoan Naked-tailed Armadillo is a species of armadillo in the Dasypodidae family. It is found in Argentina, Paraguay, and possibly Brazil. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland. It is threatened by habitat loss....

          , Cabassous chacoensis
        • Southern Naked-tailed Armadillo
          Southern Naked-tailed Armadillo
          The Southern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous unicinctus, is a small species of armadillo from South America. It is found in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil....

          , Cabassous unicinctus
        • Greater Naked-tailed Armadillo
          Greater Naked-tailed Armadillo
          The Greater Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous tatouay, is an armadillo species from South America. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.-References:*...

          , Cabassous tatouay
      • Genus Priodontes
        • Giant Armadillo
          Giant Armadillo
          The giant armadillo , colloquially tatou, ocarro, tatu-canastra or tatú carreta, is the largest living species of armadillo...

          , Priodontes maximus
      • Genus Tolypeutes
        Tolypeutes
        The genus Tolypeutes contains the two species of three-banded armadillos. They are restricted to South America, mostly Brazil.- Species :There are two recognized species:* Tolypeutes matacus – Southern Three-banded Armadillo...

        • Southern Three-banded Armadillo
          Southern Three-banded Armadillo
          The Southern Three-banded Armadillo , also called the La Plata Three-Banded Armadillo, is an armadillo species from South America...

          , Tolypeutes matacus
        • Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo
          Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo
          The Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo is an armadillo species endemic to Brazil. It is one of only two species of armadillo that can roll into a ball...

          , Tolypeutes tricinctus


† indicates extinct taxon

In science

Armadillos are often used in the study of leprosy
Leprosy
Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

, since they, along with mangabey
Mangabey
The term mangabey can refer to three different genera of Old World monkeys. Lophocebus and Cercocebus were once thought to be very closely related, so much so that all the species were in one genus...

 monkey
Monkey
A monkey is a primate, either an Old World monkey or a New World monkey. There are about 260 known living species of monkey. Many are arboreal, although there are species that live primarily on the ground, such as baboons. Monkeys are generally considered to be intelligent. Unlike apes, monkeys...

s, rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

s and mice
Mouse
A mouse is a small mammal belonging to the order of rodents. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse . It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles...

 (on their footpads), are among the few known non-human animal species that can contract the disease systemically. They are particularly susceptible due to their unusually low body temperature, which is hospitable to the leprosy bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae
Mycobacterium leprae
Mycobacterium leprae, also known as Hansen’s coccus spirilly, mostly found in warm tropical countries, is a bacterium that causes leprosy . It is an intracellular, pleomorphic, acid-fast bacterium. M. leprae is an aerobic bacillus surrounded by the characteristic waxy coating unique to mycobacteria...

. (The leprosy bacterium is difficult to culture and armadillos have a body temperature of 34 °C (93.2 °F), similar to human skin.) Humans can acquire a leprosy infection from armadillos by handling them or consuming armadillo meat. Armadillos are a presumed vector and natural reservoir
Natural reservoir
Natural reservoir or nidus, refers to the long-term host of the pathogen of an infectious disease. It is often the case that hosts do not get the disease carried by the pathogen or it is carried as a subclinical infection and so asymptomatic and non-lethal...

 for the disease in Texas and Louisiana. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the late 15th century, leprosy was unknown in the New World. Given that armadillos are native to the New World, at some point they acquired the disease from humans.

The Armadillo is also a natural reservoir
Natural reservoir
Natural reservoir or nidus, refers to the long-term host of the pathogen of an infectious disease. It is often the case that hosts do not get the disease carried by the pathogen or it is carried as a subclinical infection and so asymptomatic and non-lethal...

 for Chagas disease
Chagas disease
Chagas disease is a tropical parasitic disease caused by the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. T. cruzi is commonly transmitted to humans and other mammals by an insect vector, the blood-sucking insects of the subfamily Triatominae most commonly species belonging to the Triatoma, Rhodnius,...

.

The nine-banded armadillo also serves science through its unusual reproductive system, in which genetically
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 identical quadruplets
Multiple birth
A multiple birth occurs when more than one fetus is carried to term in a single pregnancy. Different names for multiple births are used, depending on the number of offspring. Common multiples are two and three, known as twins and triplets...

 are born in each litter.
Because they are always genetically identical, the group of four young provides a good subject for scientific, behavioral or medical tests that need consistent biological and genetic makeup in the test subjects. This is the only reliable manifestation of polyembryony
Polyembryony
Polyembryony is the phenomenon of two or more embryos developing from a single fertilized egg . Polyembryony occurs regularly in many plants and animals. The nine banded armadillo, for instance, usually gives birth to four identical young...

 in the class Mammalia, and only exists within the genus Dasypus
Dasypus
Dasypus is a genus of armadillo in the Dasypodidae family. It is the only genus in the subfamily Dasypodinae and contains the following species:*Nine-banded Armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus*Seven-banded Armadillo, Dasypus septemcinctus...

and not in all armadillos, as is commonly believed. Other species which display this trait include parasitoid wasps, certain flatworms and various aquatic invertebrates.

Armadillos (mainly Dasypus) make common roadkill due to their habit of jumping to about fender
Fender (vehicle)
Fender is the US English term for the part of an automobile, motorcycle or other vehicle body that frames a wheel well . Its primary purpose is to prevent sand, mud, rocks, liquids, and other road spray from being thrown into the air by the rotating tire. Fenders are typically rigid and can be...

 height when startled (such as by an oncoming car). Wildlife enthusiasts are using the northward march of the armadillo as an opportunity to educate others about the animals, which can be a burrowing nuisance to property owners and managers.

As musical instruments

Armadillo shells had traditionally been used to make the back of the charango
Charango
The charango is a small Andean stringed instrument of the lute family, 66 cm long, traditionally made with the shell of the back of an armadillo. Primarily played in traditional Andean music, and is sometimes used by other Latin American musicians. Many contemporary charangos are now made with...

, an Andean
Andean music
Andean music comes from the general area inhabited by Quechuas, Aymaras and other peoples that lived roughly in the area of the Inca Empire prior to European contact. It includes folklore music of parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela...

 lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

instrument, but they are now made entirely of wood.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK