Dasyprocta punctata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Dasyproctidae

Scientific Name: Dasyprocta punctata Gray, 1842
Common Name(s):
English Central American Agouti
French Agouti Ponctué
Spanish Agoutí Rojizo
Taxonomic Source(s): Patton, J.L. and Emmons, L.H. 2015. Family Dasyproctidae Bonaparte, 1838. In: Patton, J.L., Pardiñas, U.F.G. and D'elia, G. (eds), Mammals of South America Volume 2: Rodents, pp. 733-762. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Taxonomic Notes: Includes variegata (Goldman 1913:11); but also see Handley (1976: 56) and Emmons and Feer (1997: 227) who listed variegata as a distinct species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-06-10
Assessor(s): Emmons, L.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Timm, R., Ojeda, R., Samudio Jr, R. & Bidau, C.
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 in decline. If the northern and southern ranges are split into two species, each should be re-assessed.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in Mesoamerica and South America, and has a disjunct range. The northern portion of the range occurs from Chiapas and the Yucatan Peninsula (southern Mexico) to northern Ecuador and Colombia and western Venezuela in the Sierra de Perija and western slopes of the Sierra de Merida to south along the Pacific Coast of Colombia and Ecuador. Extends onto the eastern slope of the eastern Andes in Colombia and into the headwaters of the Rio Sarare in Venezuela (Gilbert 2016, Patton and Emmons 2015). In South America, it is found from sea level up to at least 1,600 m (Patton and Emmons 2015).
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Cayman Islands; Cuba
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This rodent is widespread, and is one of the most common species throughout most of its range (Emmons and Freer 1997, Reid 1997).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs in mature deciduous and evergreen forest, secondary forest, and in gardens and plantations (Emmons and Freer 1997, Reid 1997).

It is a lowland tropical forest species that feeds on palm (Attalea butyraceae), and is an important seed disperser (Wright and Duber 2001). It is diurnal; activity starts early in the morning and continues on and off throughout the day. It is sometimes seen at night as it is easily disturbed when sleeping, and it may continue feeding after sunset. It sleeps in hollow logs, under buttress roots, or in tangles of vegetation. Burrows in banks may be used in some regions. Each individual has several sleeping sites that are used repeatedly. The diet consists mainly of seeds and fruits; small amounts of plant material and fungi are included when supplies of fruit are low. When food is abundant, it carries seeds away and buries them for future use, depositing each seed in a different place. Since not all seeds are recovered, this rodent is an important seed disperser for a number of tree species including Guapinol (Hymenaea courabil) (Hallwachs 1986).

Agoutis live in stable pairs that remain together until one of the pair dies. Often only one individual may be seen, as members of the pair do not stay in close contact with each other. Pairs maintain territories but are fairly tolerant of other agoutis if food is plentiful. In aggressive interactions, the long rump hairs are raised to form a fan-shaped crest. Females give birth to 1 or 2 well-developed young. Soon after birth, the mother leads the young to a small nest hole. Young are independent at 4 to 5 months (Reid 1997).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is a preferred game species (Wright and Duber 2001). This agouti is heavily hunted for meat, and populations are much reduced in many areas with suitable habitat (Emmons and Freer 1997, Reid 1997). It is reluctant to leave its territory and so can be run to ground by dogs and killed with machetes (Reid 1997). In the northern portion of its range, this species is also threatened by habitat loss (conversion to pasture) (Emmons and Freer 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed under CITES Appendix III in Honduras. Guyana had a CITES Annual Export Quota of 350 live animals for 2001. In Panama it is listed as Least Concerned. Occurs in Panamanian national parks and on Panamanian islands.

Citation: Emmons, L. 2016. Dasyprocta punctata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T89497686A78319610. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
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