Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Dasyproctidae

Scientific Name: Dasyprocta punctata
Species Authority: Gray, 1842
Common Name(s):
English Central American Agouti
French Agouti Ponctué
Spanish AgoutĂ­ Rojizo
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: 2013
Date Assessed: 2008-07-01
Assessor(s): Ojeda, R., Bidau, C., Timm, T., Samudio, R. & Emmons, L.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. & Schipper, J.
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.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

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. The southern portion of the range occurs from southern Peru and Bolivia, through south-western Brazil and Paraguay to northern Argentina (Woods and Kilpatrick 2005). It has been introduced to western and eastern Cuba and the Cayman Islands (Woods and Kilpatrick 2005). In Mesoamerica, it can be found from lowlands to 2,400 m (Reid 1997). In South America, it is found up to at least 1,500 m (Emmons and Freer 1997).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Cayman Islands; Cuba
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.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability: Suitable  
0. Root -> 16. Introduced vegetation
suitability: Suitable  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

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

Hallwachs, W. 1986. Agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata), the inheritors of guapinol (Hymenaea courbaril: Leguminosae). In: A. Estrada and T. H. Fleming (eds), Frugivores and Seed Dispersal, pp. 285-304. W. Junk, Dordrecht.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2013).

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

Woods, C. A. and Kilpatrick, C. W. 2005. Infraorder Hystricognathi. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 1538-1599. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Wright, S. J. and Duber, H. C. 2001. Poachers and Forest Fragmentation Alter Seed Dispersal, Seed Survival, and Seedling Recruitment in the Palm Attalea butyraceae. Biotropica 33(4): 583-595.

Citation: Ojeda, R., Bidau, C., Timm, T., Samudio, R. & Emmons, L. 2013. Dasyprocta punctata. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T6277A22198457. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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