Priodontes maximus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Priodontes maximus
Species Authority: (Kerr, 1792)
Common Name/s:
English Giant Armadillo
Spanish Carachupa Manan, Armadillo Gigante, Cuspon, Tatú Carreta, Tatú Guazú
French Tatou Géant
Priodontes giganteus G. Fischer, 1814

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-12-11
Assessor/s: Superina, M. & Abba, A.M.
Reviewer/s: Anacleto, T.C.S. & Porini, G.
Contributor/s: Miranda, F., Anacleto, T.C.S., Cuellar, E., Medri, I. & Porini, G.
Priodontes maximus is listed as Vulnerable as, although widespread, it is rare over its entire range. Estimates for population declines based on habitat loss and hunting are at a level of at least 30% in the past three generations.
2006 Vulnerable
2006 Vulnerable (IUCN 2006)
1996 Endangered
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
1982 Vulnerable (Thornback and Jenkins 1982)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This largest of all armadillo species ranges from northern Venezuela (east of the Andes) and the Guianas (French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname), south to Paraguay, and northern Argentina. Srbek-Araujo et al. (2009) recently confirmed its presence in Espirito Santo, Brazil, although the populations in southeastern Brazil seem to be very reduced. The species may be extinct in Uruguay, and is not listed at all for this country by Fallabrino and Castiñeira (2006). It has been recorded from sea level up to 500 m asl.
Argentina (Chaco, Formosa, Salta, Santiago del Estero); Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guyana; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Regionally extinct:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: P. maximus appears to be naturally rare where it occurs, with a very patchy distribution. Surveys in Suriname over an 18 year period recorded seven individuals in an area of 650 km² (Walsh and Gannon 1967). The density has been estimated to be from 5.77 to 6.28 per 100 km² using camera trapping (Noss et al. 2004). The wild populations are decreasing.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This terrestrial species is found close to water within undisturbed primary rain forest habitats. It excavates burrows, usually in grasslands or open areas of the forest. Nowak (1999) suggested that the species had declined by at least 50% over the last decade. In 1954, three individuals were found in an area of 16.7 km² in Espirito Santo, Brazil (Ruschi 1954). Home range size has been estimated to be at least 450 ha in Brazil (Carter and Encarnação 1983).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): P. maximus is threatened by hunting for meat (generally for subsistence) and deforestation of habitat. The illegal capture of Giant Armadillos for clandestine sale to wealthy animal collectors may also be a threat, but is difficult to quantify.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: P. maximus is listed on Appendix I of CITES. It is present in many protected areas. There is a need to decrease hunting pressure, and maintain habitat where viable populations occur.
Citation: Superina, M. & Abba, A.M. 2010. Priodontes maximus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 17 April 2014.
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