Sphiggurus insidiosus can be found in evergreen forests in the Caatinga region of Brazil. This region extends from northeastern to east-central Brazil, where it is bordered by semi-arid desert.
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines are small porcupines, from 1.2 to 1.5 kg and 70 cm from tail to nose. The tail is prehensile, which allows greater stability in trees. Individually barbed quills and soft hair protect them from predators. All white variants of this species are sometimes observed.
Range mass: 1.2 to 1.5 kg.
Range length: 60 to 80 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry ; polymorphic
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike
The Caatinga region of Brazil receives powerful winds from each direction which influences rainfall. The climate is hot and arid, with a summer rainfall pattern. Caatinga consists of a mosaic of vegetation communities, from cerrado (savanna) to humid montane forest in high areas.
Range elevation: 0 to 1000 m.
Average depth: 0 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest
Habitat and Ecology
Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines are mainly herbivorous, although they will also eat ant pupae. They eat mostly fruit, seeds, roots, and bark while foraging at night.
Animal Foods: insects
Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Lignivore)
Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines benefit many plants by eating and dispersing their seeds. They also negatively affect some tree species by eating the roots and bark of trees, causing them to die. Some ant species are also preyed on by S. insidiosus. They destroy ant communities by eating the pupae and digging through the nests.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines use their quills to deter predators. The quills are barbed, making them painful and potentially dangerous when they enter the flesh of a predator. Predators include snakes, raptors, cats, and humans.
- snakes (Serpentes)
- raptors (Falconiformes)
- cats (Felidae)
- humans (Homo sapiens)
Life History and Behavior
Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines are usually quiet, except during the mating season when they use a series of whines, grunts, barks, and screams to attract mates. They also have vocalizations that they use between mothers and young. Like most mammals, it is likely that chemical cues are important in communicating.
Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic ; chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
There is little information on longevity in S. insidiosus. Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines are expected to live to around 15 years in the wild before natural causes or predation limits their life.
Status: wild: 15 years.
Status: captivity: 21 years.
The mating system for S. insidiosus is not well documented. Screaming, barking, and grunting are used to attract females in heat.
Female Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines are pregnant or lactating for much of their lives. They usually produce one precocial offspring with each pregnancy. The gestation period is about 200 days, with young reaching independence at about 8 to 12 weeks old. Males and females reach sexual maturity at 1.5 to 2.5 years of age.
Breeding interval: Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines breed once each year.
Breeding season: Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines breed throughout the year.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 1.
Average gestation period: 200 days.
Average weaning age: 0 minutes.
Range time to independence: 8 to 12 weeks.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1.5 to 2.5 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1.5 to 2.5 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
Parental care in Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines is rather short. The young are born with hair and quills, and capable of walking within the first few minutes of birth. The juvenile reaches independence within 8 to 12 weeks.
Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sphiggurus insidiosus
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine populations are considered stable currently.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
There are no known adverse effects of S. insidiosus on humans.
Humans hunt Bahia hairy dwarf porcupines for their quills and meat. The quills may be used for artwork, weapons, or medical reasons.
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material
The Bahia porcupine, Sphiggurus insidiosus, is a New World porcupine species in the genus Sphiggurus endemic to the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil. Sphiggurus pallidus, formerly considered a separate species but known from two young specimens only, is a synonym of this species.
- Leite, Y. & Patterson, B. (2008). Sphiggurus insidiosus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- Woods, C. A.; Kilpatrick, C. W. (2005). "Infraorder Hystricognathi". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1538–1600. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
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