Cuniculus paca 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Cuniculidae

Scientific Name: Cuniculus paca (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Name(s):
French Agouti
English Spotted Paca
Spanish Paca, Tepezquintle
Agouti paca (Linnaeus, 1766)
Mus paca Linnaeus, 1766
Taxonomic Notes: Formerly Agouti paca.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-03-01
Assessor(s): Emmons, L.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Vieira, E., Queirolo, D. & Samudio Jr, R.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category. However, local extinctions have occurred in the southeast of its range due to habitat destruction.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Occurs in eastern and southern Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and most of Brazil, and has also been introduced into Cuba and the lesser Antilles (Patton 2015). There are two new records in Tamaulipas and Hidalgo (Northeastern Mexico) (Rodriguez-Ruiz et al. 2012). It has a widespread distribution in Puebla, Mexico--16 records (Ramirez-Bravo and Hernandez Santin 2012).

Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Algeria; Cuba
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Widespread and locally common in the northern part of its range; scarce in the south of its distribution. Local extinctions of the species have occurred due to habitat destruction in the southeast of its range (Quierolo pers. comm.).

This rodent occurs at population densities of 84 to 93 individuals per square kilometer in suitable habitat in Colombia (Eisenberg and Redford 1999). Populations range from 25-70 adults per square km depending on the habitat (Patton 2015). It makes up to 16% of biomass of non-volent mammals in their communities (Patton 2015). Santos-Moreno and Perez-Irineo (2013) found the population 0.492 +/- 0.361 per hectare with variation probably due to precipitation; they also found an inverse statistically significant relationship between paca and their predators and competitors.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species occurs in a wide range of forest types in moist areas. It is frequently found in gallery forests near rivers and standing waters, where it builds its own burrow, or it can occupy that of another animal. Its diet is frugivorous and it may be an important seed distributor (Eisenberg and Redford 1999). Adults can live up to 13 years; fecundity is low but survivorship of adults is high (Patton 2015). They are solitary animals. Breeding occurs all year round, females breed one to three times a year with a litter size of one. Gestation ranges from 114-119 days in the lab with an interbirth interval of 191 days (Patton 2015). It carries diseases such as leishmanial and trypanosomiasis. Predators are all species of cats, coyotes, bush dogs, crocodiles, and boa constrictors (Patton 2015).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Agouti is hunted for food. There have been studies on producing this species in captivity, it is not known how successful these have been and whether some are captively sourced.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This rodent is an important game animal throughout its range, and is frequently taken as bush meat. It makes up as much as 8% of wild meat consumed (Patton 2015). Asprilla-Perea et al. (2011) found no relation between the relative abundance of paca and the number of hunters of the harvest value per month. Valsecchi et al. (2014) found that hunting happened at night and that moonlighting was a common technique. Aquino et al. (2009) estimated hunting pressures to be 0.4 individuals/km2 and population density to be 6.2 individuals per km2. Gallina et al. (2012) interviewed 176 people in Mexico and estimated that this group had hunted 488 paca in the year. There are no regulations on hunting in the area.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species in included in Annex C of the Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein. Honduras is included the species in CITES Appendix III in 1987. CITES Export Quotas have been issued for certain countries since 1997.

Citation: Emmons, L. 2016. Cuniculus paca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T699A22197347. . Downloaded on 14 August 2018.
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