Cyclopes didactylus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Cyclopes didactylus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name/s:
English Pygmy Anteater, Silky Anteater
Spanish Inti Pelejo, Serafín, Serafín del Platanar
Taxonomic Notes: There are seven subspecies of Cyclopes didactylus (Gardner 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-05-23
Assessor/s: Miranda, F. and Meritt, D.A.Jr.
Reviewer/s: Bermúdez Larrazabal, L. & Superina, M.
Contributor/s: Tirira, D. & Arteaga, M.
C. didactylus is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, its occurrence in a number of protected areas, its tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
2006 Least Concern (IUCN 2006)
2006 Least Concern
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:C. didactylus ranges from Mexico (Veracruz and Oaxaca) in the north, south into Colombia from where it ranges west of the Andes to southern Ecuador, and east of the Andes into Venezuela, Trinidad Island, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil (Acre state east to western Maranhão state), and as far south as Bolivia (La Paz and Santa Cruz) (Gardner 2007). The species has not been recorded from El Salvador and it is unclear if the species was ever present there. It has been recorded from sea level up to 1,500 m asl. There is a population of C. didactylus on the northeastern coast of Brazil; it is evaluated separately due to its isolation from the main population.
Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Not much is known about the wild populations of C. didactylus.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This nocturnal and arboreal species occurs in semi-deciduous and evergreen tropical moist lowland forest, gallery forest, and mangrove forest. It can be found in secondary forest habitat. Adults are solitary; the home range of a male overlaps the home range of three females (Montgomery 1983). The females give birth to a single young once per year.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although general deforestation is taking place over many parts of the range, C. didactylus remains widespread in the Amazon Basin and there are currently no major threats to the survival of this small anteater. In some areas it is captured and kept as a pet species, although it usually does not survive long in captivity.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: C. didactylus is present in a number of protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Anderson, S. 1997. Mammals of Bolivia: Taxonomy and distribution. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 231: 1?652.

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Cabrera, A. 1957. Catalogo de los mamíferos de América del Sur: I (Metatheria-Unguiculata-Carnivora).

Ceballos, G. and Oliva, G. 2005. Los mamíferos silvestres de México. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad and Fondo de Cultura Económica, México.

Crandall, L. S. 1964. The Management of Wild Animals in Captivity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Eisenberg, J. F. 1989. Mammals of the Neotropics. The Northern Neotropics. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA and London, UK.

Eisenberg, J. F. and Redford, K. H. 1999. Mammals of the Neotropics: The Central Neotropics. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Emmons, L. H. and Feer, F. 1997. Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide, Second edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, USA.

Engstrom, M. and Lim, B. 2000. Checklist of the mammals of Guyana. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Gardner, A. L. 1993. Order Xenarthra. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Second Edition, pp. 63-68. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Gardner, A. L. 2005. Order Pilosa. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Gardner, A. L. 2007. Magnorder Xenarthra. In: Gardner, A. L. (ed.), Mammals of South America, pp. 127-176. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Hall, E. R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Lord, R. 2000. Wild mammals of Venezuela. Armitano Editores, C. A., Caracas, Venezuela.

Meritt, D. A. 1971. The silky anteater, Cyclopes didactylus, in captivity. International Zoo Yearbook 11: 193-196.

Montgomery, G. G. 1983. Cyclopes didactylus (Tapacara, serafín de platanar, silky anteater). In: Janzen, D. H. (ed.), Costa Rican natural history, pp. 461-463. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Montgomery, G. G. 1985. Movements, foraging and food habits of the four extant species of neotropical vermilinguas (Mammalia; Myrmecophagidae). In: Montgomery, G. G. (ed.), The evolution and ecology of armadillos, sloths and vermilinguas, pp. 365-377. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington & London.

Nowak R. M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA and London, UK.

Pacheco, V., de Macedo, H., Vivar, E., Ascorra, C. F., Arana-Cardó, R. and Solari, S. 1995. Lista anotada de los mamíferos peruanos. Occasional Papers in Conservation Biology 2: 1-35.

Reid, F. 1997. A field guide to the mammals of Central America and southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.

Reid, F. 2009. A field guide to the mammals of Central America and southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Tirira, D. 1999. Mamíferos del Ecuador. Publicación especial Nº 2, Museo de Zoología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador.

Tirira, D. 2007. Guía de Campo de los Mamíferos del Ecuador. Ediciones Murciélago Blanco. Publicación especial sobre los mamíferos del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador.

Wetzel, R. M. 1982. Systematics, distribution, ecology, and conservation of South American edentates. In: M. A. Mares and H. H. Genoways (eds), Mammalian biology in South America, pp. 345-375. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Citation: Miranda, F. and Meritt, D.A.Jr. 2011. Cyclopes didactylus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 18 April 2014.
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