|Scientific Name:||Myrmecophaga tridactyla|
|Species Authority:||Linnaeus, 1758|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Three subspecies are recognized by Gardner (2007).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable A2c ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Miranda, F., Bertassoni, A. & Abba, A.M.|
|Contributor(s):||Rojano, C. & González-Maya, J.F.|
Myrmecophaga tridactyla is widespread geographically, but there have been many records of population extirpation, especially in Central America (where it is considered the most threatened mammal) and the southern parts of its range. The dietary specificity, low reproductive rates, large body size, along with threats to habitat degradation in many parts of its range, have proved to be significant factors in its decline. The giant anteater is currently listed in a threat category in virtually all regional and national Red Lists. A population loss of at least 30% over the past 10 years has been estimated based on local extinctions, habitat loss, and deaths caused by fires and road kills. Based on this decline and past threats that are still ongoing today, it is likely that the population has suffered an overall reduction in population size of >30% over the last three generations (suspected to be around 21 years). Because of the real threats to this species and the noticeable declines, a precautionary assessment of Vulnerable is given. More data and population monitoring are required for this species, and a reassessment is recommended as soon as additional information becomes available.
|Range Description:||Myrmecophaga tridactyla has been recorded from Honduras in Central America, south through South America to the Gran Chaco region of Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. Within Central America, the species has disappeared from much of its range, with recent sightings generally confined to highland regions. The giant anteater is considered the most threatened mammal of Central America; it seems to be extinct in Belize and Guatemala, and has disappeared from parts of Costa Rica. It is not listed in Owen and Girón's (2002) checklist of mammals of El Salvador. In South America, this species seems to be extinct in Uruguay (Fallabrino and Castiñeira 2006) and in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil (Cherem et al. 2004). It is listed as Regionally Extinct in the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro (Bergallo et al. 2000) and Espírito Santo (Chiarello et al. 2007). It is classified as Critically Endangered in Paraná (Mikich and Bérnils 2004) and in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (Fontana et al. 2003) but will be categorized as Extinct in the next update of this state's Red List (C. Kasper pers. comm. 2009). Its presence in Ecuador west of the Andes needs to be confirmed.|
Native:Argentina (Chaco, Córdoba - Possibly Extinct, Corrientes, Entre Ríos - Possibly Extinct, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta, Santa Fé, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán); Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil (Acre, Alagoas, Amapá, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceará, Espírito Santo - Possibly Extinct, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraíba, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro - Possibly Extinct, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul - Possibly Extinct, Rondônia, Roraima, Santa Catarina - Possibly Extinct, São Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins); Colombia (Colombia (mainland)); Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); French Guiana; Guyana; Honduras (Honduras (mainland)); Nicaragua (Nicaragua (mainland)); Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Venezuela (mainland))
Possibly extinct:Belize; El Salvador; Guatemala; Uruguay
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Myrmecophaga tridactyla is locally uncommon to rare. Habitat loss, roadkills, hunting, and wildfires have been substantially affecting the populations over the past 10 years, and there have been many records of population extirpation, especially in Central America and in the southern parts of its range.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
This terrestrial anteater is found in tropical moist forest, dry forest, savanna habitats and open grasslands; it has also been reported from the Gran Chaco (Meritt 2008, Noss et al. 2008) and timber plantations (Kreutz et al. 2013). Recent camera trap data suggest that the species may be more abundant in areas of upland forest in the Brazilian Amazon than previously thought (F. Miranda pers. comm. 2013). Giant anteaters require large areas for their survival, which should contain forested patches.
Animals are generally solitary. Once per year, the female gives birth to a single young. Gestation length is 171 to 184 days (Bartmann 1983, Patzl et al. 1998, Knott et al. 2013). The mother carries the offspring on its back for approximately six months. Data from captive animals in European zoos show several females reproducing for the first time at 18-22 months, and the oldest known reproductive captive dams were 20-24 years old (unpublished report provided by I. Schappert). For wild females, sexual maturity is usually indicated as being around 2 years however, as it is not possible to determine their age once they reach adult size and long-term population studies on giant anteaters are lacking, there are no data on the longevity, survival rates, or reproductive rates of wild giant anteaters.
The generation length of M. tridactyla in the wild is therefore unknown, but it is suspected to be around 7 years
|Use and Trade:||In some areas, giant anteaters are hunted for food; this is especially true in the Caatinga area of Brazil. Their skin is used to manufacture harnesses and other leather products, as well as for medicinal use (Ferreira et al. 2013).|
|Major Threat(s):||Myrmecophaga tridactyla is at risk from habitat loss in parts of its range, and this is a significant threat to Central American populations in particular. Where this species inhabits grassland habitats it is particularly susceptible to fires. In Brazil, burning of sugar cane plantations prior to their harvest leads to the death of significant numbers of giant anteaters due to severe burn injuries (F. Miranda pers. comm. 2013). Animals are sometimes killed on roads or by dogs. Giant anteaters are hunted for food throughout their distribution, and are additionally hunted as a pest, for pets or for illegal trade in some parts of their range.|
Myrmecophaga tridactyla is listed on Appendix II of CITES. It has been recorded from many protected areas. It is listed on several national Red Data lists, and is protected as a national heritage species in some provinces in Argentina. There is a need to improve fire management practices, especially in sugarcane plantations and within the regions of grassland habitat occupied by this species. Population and genetic data, as well as habitat use information, are needed, especially for areas that are being subjected to land use change.
A reintroduction program is being carried out in Corrientes province, Argentina.
Anderson, S. 1997. Mammals of Bolivia: Taxonomy and distribution. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 231: 1-652.
Anonymous. 2003. Giant anteater sighting. Edentata 5: 63.
Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Bartmann, W. 1983. Haltung und Zucht von Grossen Ameisenbären, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, im Dortmunder Tierpark. Zoologischer Garten, Neue Folge 53(1): 1-31.
Bergallo, H., de G., da Rocha, C.F.D., Alves, M.A. dos S. and Van Sluys, M. 2000. A Fauna Ameacada de Extinção do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Editora da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (EDUERJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Cherem, J.J., Simões-Lopes, S.A. and Graipel, M.E. 2004. Lista dos mamíferos do Estado de Santa Catarina, sul do Brasil. Mastozoología Neotropical 11(2): 151-184.
Chiarello, A.G., Costa, L.P., Leite, Y.L.R., Passamani, M., Siciliano, S. and Zortéa, M. 2007. Os mamíferos ameaçados de extinção no Estado do Espírito Santo. In: M. Passamani and S.L. Mendes (eds), Espécies da fauna ameaçadas de extinção no Estado do Espírito Santo, pp. 29-45. Instituto de Pesquisas da Mata Atlântica, Vitória.
Eisenberg, J.F. 1989. Mammals of the Neotropics. The Northern Neotropics. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA and London, UK.
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.
Fallabrino, A. and Castiñeira, E. 2006. Situacion de los Edentados en Uruguay. Edentata 7: 1-3.
Ferreira, F.S., Fernandes-Ferreira, H., Léo Neto, N.A., Brito, S.V. and Alves, R.R.N. 2013. The trade of medicinal animals in Brazil: current status and perspectives. Biodiversity and Conservation 22: 839-870.
Fontana, C.S., Bencke, G.A. and Reis, R.E. 2003. Livro vermelho da fauna ameaçada de extinção no Rio Grande do Sul. EDIPUCRS, Porto Alegre.
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: A.L. Gardner (ed.), Mammals of South America, pp. 127-176. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.
INBio. 2007. Myrmecophaga tridactyla Linnaeus, 1758 (Oso caballo, oso hormiguero). San José de Costa Rica Available at: http://darnis.inbio.ac.cr/FMPro?-DB=UBIpub.fp3&-lay=WebAll&-Format=/ubi/detail.html&-Op=bw&id=1617&-Find. (Accessed: May 23).
INBio-SINAC. 2003. Revisión del estado de conservación de los mamíferos de Costa Rica y delimitación de prioridades de investigación. INBio-SINAC, San José de Costa Rica.
IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
IUCN. 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 12 June 2014).
IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1986. 1986 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1988. 1988 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Knott, K.K., Roberts, B.M., Maly, M.A., Vance, C.K., DeBeachaump, J., Majors, J., Riger, P., DeCaluwe, H. and Kouba, A.J. 2013. Fecal estrogen, progestagen and glucocorticoid metabolites during the estrous cycle and pregnancy in the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla): evidence for delayed implantation. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 83: 1-13.
Koster, J. 2008. Giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) killed by hunters with dogs in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, Nicaragua. The Southwestern Naturalist 53(3): 414-416.
Kreutz, K., Fischer, F. and Linsenmair, K.E. 2012. Timber plantations as favourite habitat for giant anteaters. Mammalia 76(2): 137-142.
McCain, C.M. 2002. First evidence of the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in Honduras. The Southwestern Naturalist 46: 252-254.
Meritt Jr., D.A. 2008. Xenarthrans of the Paraguayan Chaco. In: S. F. Vizcaíno and W. J. Loughry (eds), The Biology of the Xenarthra, pp. 294-299. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Mikich, S.B. and Bernils, R.S. 2004. Livro Vermelho da Fauna Ameaçada no Estado do Paraná. Instituto Ambiental do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.
Morales-Jiménez, A.L., Sánchez, F., Poveda, K. and Cadena, A. 2004. Mamíferos terrestres y voladores de Colombia, guía de campo. Ramos López Editorial, Bogotá.
Noss, A., Cuéllar, E., Tarifa, T., Vargas, J. and Aliaga-Rossel, E. 2010. Myrmecophagidae, Cyclopedidae, Bradypodidae y Megalonychidae. In: R.B. Wallace, H. Gómez, Z.R. Porcel and D. I. Rumiz (eds), Distribución, ecología y conservación de los mamíferos medianos y grandes de Bolivia, pp. 213-234. Centro de Ecología Difusión Simón I. Patiño, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
Noss, A.J., Cuellar, R.L. and Cuellar, E. 2008. Exploitation of xenarthrans by the Guarani-Isoseno indigenous people of the Bolivian Chaco: comparisons with hunting by other indigenous groups in Latin America, and implications for conservation. In: S. F. Vizcaíno and W. J. Loughry (eds), The Biology of the Xenarthra, pp. 244-254. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Owen, J.G. and Girón, L. 2012. Revised checklist and distributions of land mammals of El Salvador. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University 310: 1-30.
Patzl, M., Schwarzenberger, F., Osmann, C., Bamberg, E. and Bartmann, W. 1998. Monitoring ovarian cycle and pregnancy in the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) by faecal progestagen and oestrogen analysis. Animal Reproduction Science 53: 209-219.
Pedroso-Júnior, N.N. and Sato, M. 2005. Ethnoecology and conservation in protected natural areas: incorporating local knowledge in Superagui National Part management. Brazilian Journal of Biology 65(1): 117-127.
Pérez-Jimeno, G. and Llarín Amaya, L. 2009. Contribución al conocimiento de la distribución del oso hormiguero gigante (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) en Argentina. Edentata 8-10: 8-12.
Reid, F. 1997. A field guide to the mammals of Central America and southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.
Sanborn, C.C. 1953. Mammals from the Departments of Cuzco and Puno, Peru. Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Serie A, Zoología 12: 1-8.
Tarifa, T. 2009. Myrmecophaga tridactyla. In: Aguirre, L.F., Aguayo, R., Balderrama, J.A., Cortez, C., Tarifa, T., and Rocha O., O. (eds), Libro rojo de la fauna silvestre de vertebrados de Bolivia, pp. 141-144. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Agua, La Paz.
Thornback, J. and Jenkins, M. 1982. The IUCN Mammal Red Data Book. Part 1: Threatened mammalian taxa of the Americas and the Australasian zoogeographic region (excluding Cetacea). IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
Tirira, D.G. 1999. Mamíferos del Ecuador. Museo de Zoología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Publicación especial sobre los mamíferos del Ecuador 2, Quito, Ecuador.
Tirira, D.G. 2007. Guía de Campo de los Mamíferos del Ecuador. Ediciones Murciélago Blanco. Publicación especial sobre los mamíferos del Ecuador 6, 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.
Wetzel, R.M. 1985. Taxonomy and distribution of armadillos, Dasypodidae. In: G.G. Montgomery (ed.), The evolution and ecology of armadillos, sloths, and vermilinguas, pp. 23-48. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.
|Citation:||Miranda, F., Bertassoni, A. & Abba, A.M. 2014. Myrmecophaga tridactyla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided|