Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:38
Specimens with Barcodes:37
Species With Barcodes:1
The genus Cuniculus contains the two species of pacas. It is the only genus in the family Cuniculidae.
Pacas are found from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. Their range includes Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname,Trinidad and Venezuela.
It is now considered a luxury food-source by the people of Guyana and Mexico. In Nicaragua is called Guardatinaja, and it is raised as the prime gourmet Nicaraguan Wild Meat. The legend goes in the Mayan Region of the Yucatan Peninsula that the kings and Caciques used to raise Pacas for their personal use, and if a servant ate one they would be punished harshly. In Trinidad (in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago), it is called 'Lappe' and is considered among the most highly prized of wild game, its flesh being sold at high prices resulting in high levels of poaching and a decline of its populations at some localities on the island. In Belize, it is referred to as a "gibnut," and considered a delicacy.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama has studied the possibilities of developing the Paca as a viable high-priced food supply for the Tropics.
Pacas primarily live in tropical rainforests but are also found in a wide variety of forest habitats, including mangrove swamps, deciduous and semi-deciduous forest, dense upland scrub, and narrow growth along river banks.
Both species of paca eat mainly fruit but their diet changes throughout its range and based on the seasons. Other foods include roots, seeds, leaves, buds, and flowers. In the wild, pacas are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. In captivity, they are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and flesh. Pacas in zoos eat fruits, vegetables, raw meat, lizards, and insects.
- ^ Woods, Charles A.; Kilpatrick, C. William (16 November 2005). "Infraorder Hystricognathi (pp. 1538-1600)". In Wilson, Don E., and Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=13400269.
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