Overview

Distribution

Found in Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam, the Amazon Basin of Peru and northern Brazil.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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Range Description

This species occurs from southern Venezuela and adjacent areas of Colombia, south to Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Suriname, and west central Brazil (Eisenberg and Redford, 1999).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Head and body length ranges from 415-620 mm. Tail length ranges from 10-35 mm. Fur is coarse and glossy, with the longest and thickest hair located on the posterior part of the back. Fur color ranges from pale orange through several shades of brown to almost black. The underparts are white, yellow or buff colored. The body form is slender, the ears are short, and the hindfoot fas three toes with hooflike claws. Females have four pairs of mammae.

Range mass: 1.300 to 4.000 kg.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Ecology

Habitat

They are found in forests, thick brush, savannahs and cultivated areas. In Peru, they are confined to the Amazonian region where they are found in all parts of the low selva zone and many parts of the high selva zone. It is found at altitudes of 2000 m or more. Agoutis live in close proximity to water, being found on the banks of all types of streams.

In some areas, they construct burrows among limestone boulders, along river banks or under the roots of trees.

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The agouti is a significant harvester of seeds and fruits. Within its home range it accumulates stores for times of fruit scarcity, caching food in small pits which it excavates and then covers. Adult females defend parts of their home ranges when food is scarce. Young may be tolerated within the parent’s home range. An adult male defends as large an area as he can against other adult males, thereby ensuring the paternity of the young in his range. At high densities the ranges of a male and a female may be coincident, and thus they give the appearance of living in pairs (Smythe, 1978). During times of fruit scarcity, the subadults may lose weight. When startled, agouti produce a bark like warning call to alert family members within the home range to a potential predator, and the long hairs of the rump are erected, increasing the animal’s apparent size. On encountering boas (Boa constrictor), they sit at a distance and drum with a hind foot, attracting other family members, who join them in foot drumming until the snake moves off (Kleiman, 1974; Eisenberg, 1974; Eisenberg and Redford, 1999).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Trophic Strategy

Diet consists of fruits, vegetables, and various succulent plants.

Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore )

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
18 (high) years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 18 years (captivity) Observations: One wild born specimen was about 18 years old when it died in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

In Venezuela agoutis breed throughout the year. Females have an average estrous cycle of about 34 days, with gestation lasting around 104 to 120 days. They also experience postpartum estrus. Litters are usually made up of one or two young, sometimes three occurs. Newborns are fully furred, have their eyes open and are able to run in their first hour of life. Females lactate for about twenty weeks.

Range number of offspring: 1.000 to 3.000.

Range gestation period: 104 to 120 days.

Range weaning age: 140 (high) days.

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Parental Investment: precocial

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Conservation

Conservation Status

In some areas, they have declined drastically due to habitat destruction and hunting.

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Catzeflis, F., Patton J., Percequillo, A., Bonvicino, C. & Weksler, M.

Reviewer/s
Chapman, R., Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.

History
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/least concern
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
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Population

Population
This rodent is common to uncommon and has a large geographic range (Emmons and Feer, 1997).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is intensively hunted for meat, but nevertheless persists close to villages (Emmons and Feer, 1997).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species occurs in several protected areas within its geographic range.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Agoutis tame easily and make good pets. They are also extensively hunted for food.

Positive Impacts: food

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Wikipedia

Black Agouti

The Black Agouti, Dasyprocta fuliginosa, is a South American agouti species from the Dasyproctidae family. It is found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. The agouti is the only animal that has sharp enough teeth to crack open the tough shell of a brazil nut, something that similar rodents such as the guinea pig cannot do.

References

  1. ^ Catzeflis, F., Patton, J., Percequillo, A., Bonvicino, C. & Weksler, M. (2008). Dasyprocta fuliginosa. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 5 January 2009.
  • John F. Eisenberg and Kent H. Redford, 2000. Mammals of Neotropics: Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil.


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