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Brief Summary

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The family Dasypodidae, the armadillos, is the only extant family in the Order Cingulata. The Dasypodidae includes 21 species placed in 8 genera, all found only in the New World (the 21st armadillo species to be recognized, Dasypus yepesi, was described only in 1995 from the Gran Chaco of Paraguay and northern Argentina). Armadillos occur from the southern United States to the Straits of Magellan. Only the Nine-banded Armadillo (D. novemcinctus) reaches as far north as the United States.

The dorsal surface of an armadillo's body is covered with bony plates that protect the head, back, and sides and sometimes the legs and tail. Around the center of the body this armor is arranged into bands of plates separated by soft skin, allowing the animal to bend its body (the number of bands is often a useful character in distinguishing armadillo species). The back is smoothly rounded and the legs are short and powerful, with strong claws on the toes. There are three to five toes on the forefeet and five on the hindfeet. The belly is soft and naked. Most species have little or no hair, but one montane species has dense hair covering the armor.

Armadillos are generally termite and ant specialists (although other animal and even plant food is consumed as well). All species apparently sleep and raise their young in burrows they dig themselves, each species building a burrow with a characteristic size and shape. An armadillo burrow can be recognized by its smooth dome-shaped roof. The litter size is 1 to 12 young.

Head and body length among armadillo species ranges from around 125 to 1000 mm and tail length from 25 to 500 mm. The Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus) may weigh as much as 60 kg, whereas the little known Pink Fairy Armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus) and Chacoan fairy armadillo (Calyptophractus retusus), which are both thoroughly adapted to a subterranean lifestyle, weigh only around 100 g (Delsuc et al. 2012 and references therein). Armadillos have small ears. The snout, which encloses a long protrusible tongue, varies considerably in length and all species have very reduced peglike dentition, with no incisors or canines.

Armadillos generally inhabit open areas such as savannahs and pampas, but they also occur in forests (four genera and eight species are found in lowland rainforest). They travel singly, in pairs, or occasionally in small groups and may be diurnal or nocturnal. Armadillos can run surprisingly rapidly. Armadillos in a few species may roll themselves into a ball when threatened.

(Emmons 1990; Nowak 1991)

The Nine-banded Armadillo has been the focus of much research on polyembryony. Polyembryony, the production of two or more embryos from a single zygote (fertilized egg), occurs sporadically in diverse animal taxa (including humans). Among the vertebrates, only armadillos of the genus Dasypus are known to utilize polyembrony as their standard reproductive mode. Each litter is typically a set of four identical quadruplets derived from a single fertilized egg. (Prodohl et al. 1996; Loughry 1998)

In the 1970s it was discovered that Nine-banded Armadillos could contract leprosy and since then armadillos have been the primary animal model in leprosy research. Genetic and other studies haverevealed that, although leprosy was absent from the New World prior to European colonization, leprosy now occurs naturally in New World armadillo populations (with a prevalence exceeding 20% in some populations). Infected armadillos have been reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Mexico. Although the United States sees only around 150 new cases of human leprosy each year, and two thirds of these are in people who have traveled to regions with endemic leprosy, around 50 cases a year appear to have been contracted within the U.S., often in Texas or Louisiana. Truman et al. (2011) found that a high percentage of unrelated leprosy cases in the southern United States involve infection with the same unique strain of the responsible bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae, that occurs naturally among wild armadillos in the region. These armadillos thus appear to represent a large natural reservoir for M. leprae. However, high prevalence rates among armadillos have been observed in only parts of the southern United States, mainly in the western Gulf Coast states. (Truman et al. 2011 and references therein)

Nine-banded Armadillos apparently crossed the Rio Grande into southeastern Texas some time in the 1820s.In contrast, the eastern population apparently originated from a separate introduction of armadillos into south-central Florida in the 1920s, which subsequently expanded and has only relatively recently merged with the main U.S. population. The extent to which leprosy will become established in eastern armadillo populations remains to be seen. In humans, susceptibility to leprosy appears to depend on multiple genes and the majority of people appear to be naturally immune to M. leprae infection, somewhat moderating the risk to the general human population, although extensive contact with or consumption of armadillos is not recommended. (Loughry et al. 2009 and references therein; Truman et al. 2011 and references therein)

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Cingulata

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Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra, is an order of armored New World placental mammals. Dasypodids and chlamyphorids, the armadillos, are the only surviving families in the order.[1] Two groups of cingulates much larger than extant armadillos (maximum body mass of 45 kg (100 lb) in the case of the giant armadillo[2]) existed until recently: pampatheriids, which reached weights of up to 200 kg (440 lb)[3] and chlamyphorid glyptodonts, which attained masses of 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)[4] or more.

The cingulate order originated in South America during the Paleocene epoch about 66 to 56 million years ago, and due to the continent's former isolation remained confined to it during most of the Cenozoic. However, the formation of a land bridge allowed members of all three families to migrate to southern North America during the Pliocene[5] or early Pleistocene[6] as part of the Great American Interchange. After surviving for tens of millions of years, all of the pampatheriids and giant glyptodonts apparently died out during the Quaternary extinction event at the beginning of the Holocene,[7][8] along with much of the rest of the regional megafauna, shortly after the colonization of the Americas by Paleo-Indians.

Description

Armadillos have dorsal armor that is formed by osteoderms, plates of dermal bone covered in relatively small, overlapping keratinized epidermal scales called "scutes". Most species have rigid shields over the shoulders and hips, with three to nine bands separated by flexible skin covering the back and flanks.[9]

Pampatheres also had shells that were flexible due to three movable lateral bands of osteoderms.[3] The osteoderms of pampatheres were each covered by a single scute, unlike those of armadillos, which have more than one.[3] Glyptodonts, on the other hand, had rigid, turtle-like shells of fused osteoderms.

Both groups have or had a cap of armor atop their heads. Glyptodonts also had heavily armored tails; some, such as Doedicurus, had mace-like clubs at the ends of their tails, similar to those of ankylosaurs, evidently used for defensive or agonistic purposes.[4]

Most armadillos eat insects and other invertebrates; some are more omnivorous and may also eat small vertebrates and vegetable matter. Pampatheres are thought to have been specialized for grazing,[3] and isotopic analysis indicates the diet of glyptodonts was dominated by C4 grasses.[10] Euphractinae is unique for speciations towards carnivory, culminating in the macropredatory genus Macroeuphractus.

Classification

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Holmesina septentrionalis (Cosmo Caixa, Barcelona)
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Glyptodon clavipes (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin)

The taxonomic table below follows the results of a phylogenetic analysis published by Delsuc et al., 2016. While glyptodonts have traditionally been considered stem-group cingulates outside the group that contains modern armadillos, this 2016 study conducted an analysis of Doedicurus mtDNA and found that it was, in fact, nested within the modern armadillos as the sister group of a clade consisting of Chlamyphorinae and Tolypeutinae.[11] (No pampathere DNA sequence findings are yet available.)

Order CINGULATA

References

  1. ^ Gardner, A.L. (2005). "Order Cingulata". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 94–99. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Giant Armadillo Priodontes maximus (Kerr, 1792). FaunaParaguay.com
  3. ^ a b c d Vizcaíno, S. F.; De Iuliis, G.; Bargo, M. S. (1998). "Skull Shape, Masticatory Apparatus, and Diet of Vassallia and Holmesina (Mammalia: Xenarthra: Pampatheriidae): When Anatomy Constrains Destiny". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 5 (4): 291–322. doi:10.1023/A:1020500127041.
  4. ^ a b Blanco, R. E.; Jones, W. W.; Rinderknecht, A. (2009-08-26). "The sweet spot of a biological hammer: the centre of percussion of glyptodont (Mammalia: Xenarthra) tail clubs". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 276 (1675): 3971–3978. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1144. ISSN 0962-8452. PMC 2825778. PMID 19710060.
  5. ^ Mead, J. I.; Swift, S. L.; White, R. S.; McDonald, H. G.; Baez, A. (2007). "Late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) Glyptodont and Pampathere (Xenarthra, Cingulata) from Sonora, Mexico" (PDF). Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicas. 24 (3): 439–449 (see p. 440). Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  6. ^ Woodburne, M. O. (2010-07-14). "The Great American Biotic Interchange: Dispersals, Tectonics, Climate, Sea Level and Holding Pens". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 17 (4): 245–264 (see p. 249). doi:10.1007/s10914-010-9144-8. ISSN 1064-7554. PMC 2987556. PMID 21125025.
  7. ^ Hubbe, A.; Hubbe, M.; Neves, W. A. (March 2013). "The Brazilian megamastofauna of the Pleistocene/Holocene transition and its relationship with the early human settlement of the continent". Earth-Science Reviews. 118: 1–10 (see pages 3, 6). Bibcode:2013ESRv..118....1H. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.01.003. ISSN 0012-8252.
  8. ^ Fiedal, Stuart (2009). "Sudden Deaths: The Chronology of Terminal Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinction". In Haynes, Gary (ed.). American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology. Springer. pp. 21–37 (see p. 31). doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-8793-6_2. ISBN 978-1-4020-8792-9. OCLC 313368423.
  9. ^ Dickman, Christopher R. (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 781–783. ISBN 978-0-87196-871-5.
  10. ^ Pérez-Crespo, V. A.; Arroyo-Cabrales, J.; Alva-Valdivia, L. M.; Morales-Puente, P.; Cienfuegos-Alvarado, E. (2011-10-18). "Diet and habitat definitions for Mexican glyptodonts from Cedral (San Luis Potosí, México) based on stable isotope analysis". Geological Magazine. 149 (1): 153–157. doi:10.1017/S0016756811000951. ISSN 0016-7568.
  11. ^ Delsuc, F.; Gibb, G. C.; Kuch, M.; Billet, G.; Hautier, L.; Southon, J.; Rouillard, J.-M.; Fernicola, J. C.; Vizcaíno, S. F.; MacPhee, R. D.E.; Poinar, H. N. (2016-02-22). "The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct glyptodonts". Current Biology. 26 (4): R155–R156. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.01.039. PMID 26906483.
  12. ^ Guillaume Billet; Lionel Hautier; Christian de Muizon; Xavier Valentin (2011). "Oldest cingulate skulls provide congruence between morphological and molecular scenarios of armadillo evolution". Proceedings of the Royal Society. 278 (1719): 2791–2797. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.2443. PMC 3145180. PMID 21288952.
"
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Cingulata: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra, is an order of armored New World placental mammals. Dasypodids and chlamyphorids, the armadillos, are the only surviving families in the order. Two groups of cingulates much larger than extant armadillos (maximum body mass of 45 kg (100 lb) in the case of the giant armadillo) existed until recently: pampatheriids, which reached weights of up to 200 kg (440 lb) and chlamyphorid glyptodonts, which attained masses of 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) or more.

The cingulate order originated in South America during the Paleocene epoch about 66 to 56 million years ago, and due to the continent's former isolation remained confined to it during most of the Cenozoic. However, the formation of a land bridge allowed members of all three families to migrate to southern North America during the Pliocene or early Pleistocene as part of the Great American Interchange. After surviving for tens of millions of years, all of the pampatheriids and giant glyptodonts apparently died out during the Quaternary extinction event at the beginning of the Holocene, along with much of the rest of the regional megafauna, shortly after the colonization of the Americas by Paleo-Indians.

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cc-by-sa-3.0
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Wikipedia authors and editors
original
visit source
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