Mammal Species of the World
Collared Peccaries are found in the Nearctic and Neotropical regions. The 14 subspecies occur from northern Argentina in South America, throughout Central America, and have spread into the southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: Northern Argentina and northwestern Peru to north-central Texas, northwestern New Mexico (Albert et al. 2004), and Arizona; introduced in Cuba (Grubb, in Wilson and Reeder 1993).
Shoulder height: 0.3 to 0.5 m Length: 0.8 to 1.0 m. Weight: 15 to 25 kg. Collared Peccaries are often confused with pigs due to their appearance. Their coat is a grizzled grayish black throughout, except for a yellowish tinge on the cheeks and a whitish to yellowish collar extending the mane, over the shoulders, and to the throat. While males and females are very similar in size and color, young are a yellowish brown color, with a black stripe down the back. Collared Peccaries have short, straight tusks that fit together tightly enough to hone eachother down with every jaw movement. This razor sharpness gives this species its common name: Javelina: a javelin is a lightweight, tip-shaped spear. Javelinas have a distinct dorsal gland on the rump that is essential in much species-specific behavior. They also have poor eyesight and good hearing, which are believed to contribute to the very vocal nature of this species.
Range mass: 15 to 25 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike
Average basal metabolic rate: 33.165 W.
Length: 102 cm
Weight: 29500 grams
Size in North America
Range: 0.85-1.02 m
Range: 15-25 kg
Habitat and Ecology
Like all peccaries, P. tajacu is a highly social animal, living in herds, which vary from fewer than six to over 30 individuals. Home ranges of groups average approximately 150 ha, but can range from 24 to 800 ha (Sowls 1984). Variation of home range size among different herds in various regions is not unusual. In the Neotropics mean home range estimates of radio-tracked Collared Peccary herds were 102 - 287 ha in the semideciduous Atlantic forest in southeastern Brazil (Keuroghlian et al 2004); 64 109 ha in Northwestern Costa Rica (McCoy et al 1990); 460 543 ha on the Maraca Island of Brazil (Fragoso 1994); 685 ha in the Chaco of Paraguay (Taber et al 1994); and 157 - 243 ha in the French Guyana (Judas and Henry 1999).
The species' diet varies in accordance with this range of habitats (Beck 2005, 2006). Foods of P. tajacu can include roots, tubers, fruits, seeds, and edible parts of green growing plants, insects, and small animals (Beck 2005, 2005; Desbiez 2007; Keuroghlian and Eaton 2008). Throughout their neotropical range P. tajacu consume fruits from over 128 plant species, and destroy seeds form 79 species (Beck 2006). In tropical forests, diets are dominated by palm fruits (over 25 species, Beck 2005), supplemented with small vertebrates and invertebrates (Bodmer 1989, Beck 2005), whereas in deserts environments their diet is dominated by the cladophylls of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.) (Corn and Warren 1985, Beck 2005). In a heterogeneous environment, the distribution and abundance of resources would be expected to vary among the small, spatially-stable home ranges of Collared Peccary herds. Because each herd uses a unique subset of the available habitat types (McCoy et al 1990, Judas and Henry, 1999, Fragoso,1999; Keuroghlian et al 2004, Neri 2004). The level of frugivory will vary according to local vegetation types or frugivore guild composition (Keuroghlian and Eaton 2008). Frugivory in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil for Collared Peccaries was 78% for both the dry and wet seasons. In the Peruvian Amazon 59 - 66% was composed of fruits (Kiltie 1981, Bodmer 1989); and in the Brazilian Pantanal, frugivory dramatically differed between dry and wet seasons, 17% to 49% respectively (Desbiez 2007).
Habitat and riparian zone use were herd specific for Collared Peccaries in the Atlantic Forest fragment of Brazil, and related to habitat quality and composition where stable home ranges had been established (Neri 2007, Keuroghlian and Eaton in press). Herds are kept together by vocalizations and a strong musk released from the dorsal gland. They deposit scent on tree trunks, rocks and other individuals (Byers 1980). The Collared Peccary has a diurnal/crepuscular activity pattern, typically feeding in early hours of the night but varying seasonally. They commonly rest in small groups of three to four individuals and often seek shelter in burrows, caves and under logs. Collared Peccaries frequently wallow in mud or dust and rarely spend time auto-grooming (Sowls 1984). Keuroghlian et al 2004 observed that subgrouping of herds occurred on a different spatial and temporal scale than the subherding of White-lipped Peccaries. Usually, a herd would be united early in the morning and again in late afternoon, but would split into groups of 1 to 3 individuals during the day. These subgroups appeared to forage separately and were from 30 to 250 m apart. Sightings of lone Collared Peccaries or groups of 2 to 3 individuals have frequently been reported from sites in both the Neotropics and the southwestern United States (Kiltie and Terborgh, 1983; Robinson and Eisenberg, 1985; Sowls, 1997; Castellanos, 1983; Oldenburg et al. 1985; Bissonette, 1976; Green et al. 1984). Collared Peccaries appeared to travel more in the early morning and late afternoon, when the full herd was together. During midday, subherds would usually remain in a relatively restricted area foraging. They also spent a good part of late morning and early afternoon resting in cavities excavated at the bases of large trees, next to fallen trunks, or in other cool locations (Taber et al. 1994, Keuroghlian et al. 2004).
Births have been recorded year-round, though in the southern USA there is a birth peak during the summer rainy season. In the Amazon, the Collared Peccary female is considered to be aseasonally polyoestrous (Mayor et al. 2006), with an oestrous cycle length of 27.8 1.5 days (Mauget et al. 1997), a mean gestation period of 138 days (Mayor et al. 2005), a pregnancy rate of 42.5% (Mayor et al. 2010) and a litter size of 1.7 1.9 foetuses or newborns (Gottdenker and Bodmer 1998, Mayor et al. 2006). Reproductive production of the species in the wild was estimated at 1.12 births/year and 1.98 piglets per pregnant female (Mayor et al. 2010). Collared Peccary females presented a mean ovulation rate of 2.25 0.58 CLs, a litter size of 1.77 0.48 embryos or foetuses and a reproductive wastage of 0.45 0.65 (21.3%) oocytes or embryos per pregnant female female (Mayor et al. 2010). Among 163 piglets, 78 were females and 85 were males. The young are highly precocial at birth, following their mothers within an hour of parturition and stopping to suckle at frequent intervals. In one case infants were observed to spend up to 24% of their time suckling (Sowls 1966). Weaning occurs at approximately 6 weeks (Sowls 1984).
In South and Central America, the Collared Peccary inhabits tropical rainforests. In the southern United States, herds occur in Saguaro deserts, where they prefer mesquite habitats with an abundance of prickly pear cacti. Collared Peccaries have also become common in residential areas, where they may rely on human handouts for food.
Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; forest ; rainforest
Comments: Seldom abundant in absence of dense, scrubby ground cover. Often in thickets along creeks and washes. In southern Texas, prime habitat was dense scrub cover with succulents (Ilse and Hellgren 1995). On the Zuni Indian Reservation, New Mexico, animals were observed at elevations up to 2,335 m in piñon-juniper and ponderosa pine habitats (Albert et al. 2004). Rests in caves, mine shafts, rock crevices, holes in ground. May visit water hole daily.
it prefers desert,subdesert,prairie grasslands and open areas.
Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Collared Peccaries are primarily herbivorous, and have complex stomachs for digesting coarsely-chewed food. In its southern range, this species eats a variety of foods, including roots, bulbs, fungi, and nuts, in addition to fruits and occasional eggs, carrion, snakes, fish, and frogs. In the northern range, Collared Peccaries eats more herbivorous foods, such as roots, bulbs, beans, nuts, berries, grass, and cacti. Despite all this supplementary diet, the main dietary components of this species are agaves and prickly pears. The prickly pear is ideal in the Javelina's arid range due to its high water content. This species is also capable of eating cultivated planted by humans.
Comments: Opportunistic omnivore. Eats acorns, tubers, bulbs, fruits and rhizomes, pads or cladophyls of cacti, beans of mesquite, catclaw, figs, eggs of birds and turtles, some carrion. Prickly pear cactus is a preferred food.
Travels in socially cohesive groups of two to thirty individuals, may bed down together. At Welder Wildife Refuge, Texas, crude density was 2.0 per sq km; mean annual home range size (95% minimum convex polygon) was 1.76 sq km (Ilse and Hellgren 1995). Group home range size is several hundred acres; herd may defend territiory. Extreme cold may result in considerable mortality.
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Comments: Active in early morning, late afternoon, and at night. Activity crepuscular and nocturnal in hot weather; may continue throughout day with short rest periods in winter.
Status: captivity: 31.5 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
A designated or specific breeding season does not prevail in Collared Peccary herds; rather, mating reflects climate, especially rain, and occurs throughout the year. More young are raised in rainy years. The dominant male does virtually all the breeding. Subordinate males do not have to leave the herd, but are not allowed to approach females in estrus. As a result, bachelor herds do not exist. 1 to 3, but rarely 4, young are born after a gestation period of 141 to 151 days. Birthing mothers retreat from the group; the newborn might otherwise be eaten by other group members. However, mothers rejoin the herd 1 day after giving birth. Only the older sisters of the newborn are tolerated with the young; these often become nursemaids for the new mother. Weaning occurs at 2 to 3 months. Males reach sexual maturity at 11 months; females, at 8 to 14 months. Despite the high mortality rate in this species, members have a life span of up to 24 years, which was observed in captivity.
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
Average birth mass: 700 g.
Average gestation period: 145 days.
Average number of offspring: 2.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 358 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 329 days.
Breeds throughout year, but in desert areas births are concentrated in the summer rainy season (July or August in Arizona). Litter size is 1-3 (usually 2). Gestation lasts 142-148 days. Young are precocial at birth and follow their mother from the first day or two until they are at least a year old.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Pecari tajacu
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pecari tajacu
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Tayassu tajacu
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- Least Concern (LC)
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
The main predators of Collared Peccaries are humans, coyotes, pumas, jaguars, and bobcats. For centuries, young Peccaries have been captured, kept as domestic pets, and even fattened by Central and South American Indians. In Peru, 10,000 skins have been exported annually for decades. In Texas, more than 20,000 individuals are shot during the hunting season. Populations are fairly resilient due to adaptability, although subspecies in the tropics are threatened by rainforest destruction.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Densities of Collared Peccary differ among habitats. In the south-eastern USA, older reports of densities ranged from 10.9 individuals/km2 in the Tucson mountains (Schweinsburg 1969), 7.3 individuals/km2 at the King Ranch, Texas and 3.5 individuals/km2 at the Welder Wildlife Refuge, Texas, to only 1.1 individuals/km2 in a Texas desert. In Venezuela, Collared Peccary density in the llanos was found to be 8 individuals/km2, whereas, in gallery forests was 2 individuals/km2 (Eisenberg 1980). In the Pantanal of Brazil densities range from 6.6 (forested) to 5.5 (cerrado) individuals/km2 (Desbiez 2007). Densities in tropical forest range from 9 individuals/km2 on Barro Colorado Island, Panama (Glanz 1982), to 5 individuals/km2 in Manu National Park, Peru (Terborgh et al. 1986). In the Peruvian Amazon, densities range from 3,7 individuals/km2 in non-flooded terra firme forest to 1.0 in flooded forest (Fang et al. 2008). In a forest fragment of Atlantic Forest of Brazil, the density found was 5.9 and 6.4 individuals/km2 (Cullen 1997, Keuroghlian et al. 2004). In a recent study conducted in the Argentine Chaco, Altrichter and Boaglio (2004) found the Collared Peccary to be more common, widely distributed and present under a wider range of conditions than the other two species of peccaries. Previous studies have shown that Collared Peccaries are less vulnerable than White-lipped Peccaries to habitat fragmentation and hunting pressure, and can maintain healthy populations even in highly degraded areas (Peres 1996, Cullen et al. 2000). The Collared Peccary's smaller herd size and range requirements facilitate its survival in small, disturbed forest remnants (i.e. Atlantic Forest of Brazil), and they have frequently been observed using matrix habitat adjacent to larger forest fragments, e.g. satellite forests and secondary growth (Keuroghlian et al. 2004).
Comments: At Welder Wildlife Refuge, Texas, feral hogs may have been involved in reducing herd and group size of peccaries (Ilse and Hellgren 1995).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Collared Peccaries have readily habituated urban environments, and often frequent locations where they know they will be fed. Thus, they are potential nuisances.
Collared Peccaries have for decades been a source of economic income due to their skins and as hunting trophies. They are among the most important big game species in Arizona. The young are often captured and serve as domestic farm animals.
Comments: May cause considerable damage to crops. Hunted for meat and hides in much of range.
The collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) is a species of mammal in the family Tayassuidae found in North, Central, and South America. They are commonly referred to as javelina, saíno or báquiro, although these terms are also used to describe other species in the family. The species is also known as the musk hog, Mexican hog, and javelina. In Trinidad, it is colloquially known as quenk.
Although somewhat related to the pigs and frequently referred to as one, this species and the other peccaries are no longer classified in the pig family, Suidae.
The collared peccary stands around 510–610 millimetres (20–24 in) tall at the shoulder and is about 1.0–1.5 m (3 ft 3 in–4 ft 11 in) long. It weighs between 16 and 27 kg (35 and 60 lb). The dental formula is as followed: 2/3,1/1,3/3,3/3. The collared peccary has small tusks that point toward the ground when the animal is upright. It also has slender legs with a robust or stocky body. The tail is often hidden in the coarse fur of the peccary.
Range and habitat
The collared peccary is a widespread creature found throughout much of the tropical and subtropical Americas, ranging from the Southwestern United States to northern Argentina in South America. The only Caribbean island where it is native, however, is Trinidad, although introduced populations exist in Cuba. It inhabits deserts and xeric shrublands, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands, flooded grasslands and savannas, tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, and several other habitats, as well. In addition, it is well adapted to habitats shared by humans, merely requiring sufficient cover; they can be found in cities and agricultural land throughout their range, where they consume garden plants. Notable populations are known to exist in the suburbs of Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.
Collared peccaries normally feed on cactus, mesquite beans, fruits, roots, tubers, palm nuts, grasses, invertebrates, and small vertebrates. In areas inhabited by humans, they will also consume cultivated crops and ornamental plants, such as tulip bulbs.
Collared peccaries are diurnal creatures that live in groups of up to 50 individuals, averaging between six and 9 members. They frequently sleep at night in burrows, often under the roots of trees, but sometimes they can be found in caves or under logs. The collared peccary (javelina) are not totally diurnal. In central Arizona they are often active at night but less so during daytime.
Although they usually ignore humans, they will react if they feel threatened. They defend themselves with their long tusks, which can sharpen themselves whenever their mouths open or close. A collared peccary will release a strong musk or give a sharp bark if it is alarmed.
- Gongora, J., Reyna-Hurtado, R., Beck, H., Taber, A., Altrichter, M. & Keuroghlian, A. (2011). "Pecari tajacu". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 18 January 2012. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
- "Collared Peccary: Javelina ~ Tayaussa ~ Musk Hog". Digital West Media Inc. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
- Reid, Fiona (2006). Peterson Field Guide: Mammals of North America (4th ed.). New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-395-93596-5.
- Reid, Fiona (2006). Peterson Field Guide: Mammals of North America (4th ed.). New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 488. ISBN 978-0-395-93596-5.
- Friederici, Peter (August–September 1998). "Winners and Losers". National Wildlife Magazine (National Wildlife Federation) 36 (5).
- Sowls, Lyle K. (1997). Javelinas and Other Peccaries: Their Biology, Management, and Use (2 ed.). Texas A&M University Press. pp. 61–68. ISBN 978-0-89096-717-1.
The giant peccary (Pecari maximus) is a possible fourth species of peccary, discovered in Brazil in 2000 by Dutch naturalist Marc van Roosmalen. In 2003, he and German natural history filmmaker Lothar Frenz succeeded in filming a group and gathering material, which later would serve as the type. Though recently reported, it has been known to locals as caitetu munde and northern Bolivia it knew him before its discovery by the natives and settlers by the name of Chancho de tropa grande, which means "great peccary which lives in pairs". It was formally described in 2007, but the scientific evidence for its species status has later been questioned, which also is one of the reasons for it being evaluated as data deficient by IUCN.
Its assumed range encompass the south-central Amazon between the Madeira and the Tapajós River and north Bolivia reaching the east side of the Madidi National Park. It is restricted to Terra Firme forest. Unlike other peccaries in its range, the giant peccary appears to mainly occur in pairs or small family groups.
According to its original description, the giant peccary is larger, longer-legged, and proportionally smaller-headed than the only other member of the genus, the collared peccary (P. tajacu). Compared to the sympatric populations of the collared peccary, the giant peccary also has thinner fur that is grizzled in brown and white, blacker legs, and a relatively faint collar. Five skins of the giant peccary had a total length of 120–137 cm (47–54 in), while local hunters have estimated a weight of 40–50 kg (88–110 lb). Based on mtDNA, the collared and the giant peccaries are estimated to have diverged 1.0–1.2 million years ago, but these results have been considered questionable due to the low bootstrap support, small sample size, and the absence of nDNA and cytogenetic results. Furthermore,extensive intraspecific variations (both individual and locality-based) are known in the morphology of the collared peccary.
- Gongora, J. (2008). Pecari maximus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 25 November 2008.[dead link]
- Roosmalen, M.G.M.; Frenz, L.; Hooft, W.F. van; Iongh, H.H. de; Leirs, H. 2007. A New Species of Living Peccary (Mammalia: Tayassuidae) from the Brazilian Amazon. Bonner zoologische Beitrage 55(2): 105–112.
- Trials of a Primatologist. – smithsonianmag.com. Accessed March 15, 2008
- Gongora, J., Taber, A., Keuroghlian, A., Altrichter, M., Bodmer, R.E., Mayor, P., Moran, C., Damayanti, C.S., González S. (2007). Re-examining the evidence for a ‘new’ peccary species, ‘Pecari maximus’, from the Brazilian Amazon. Newsletter of the Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos Specialist Group of the IUCN/SSC. 7(2): 19–26.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Placed in family Dicotylidae by Jones et al. (1992), in Tayassuidae by Grubb (in Wilson and Reeder 2005).
Appropriate generic name has been debated. Placed in genus Dicotyles by some authors, genus Pecari by Grubb (in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005), and genus Tayassu by Jones et al. (1992). MtDNA data support the recognition of three genera of extant peccaries: Catagonus, Pecari, and Tayassu, with this species in the genus Pecari (Theimer and Keim 1998).
In Arizona, Theimer and Keim (1994) found three mtDNA haplotypes, the frequencies of which varied significantly across geographic regions, probably related to founding events.