Priodontes maximus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Priodontes maximus
Species Authority: (Kerr, 1792)
Common Name/s:
English Giant Armadillo
Spanish Carachupa Manan, Armadillo Gigante, Cuspon, Tatú Carreta, Tatú Guazú
French Tatou Géant
Priodontes giganteus G. Fischer, 1814

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-12-11
Assessor/s: Superina, M. & Abba, A.M.
Reviewer/s: Anacleto, T.C.S. & Porini, G.
Contributor/s: Miranda, F., Anacleto, T.C.S., Cuellar, E., Medri, I. & Porini, G.
Priodontes maximus is listed as Vulnerable as, although widespread, it is rare over its entire range. Estimates for population declines based on habitat loss and hunting are at a level of at least 30% in the past three generations.
2006 Vulnerable
2006 Vulnerable (IUCN 2006)
1996 Endangered
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
1982 Vulnerable (Thornback and Jenkins 1982)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This largest of all armadillo species ranges from northern Venezuela (east of the Andes) and the Guianas (French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname), south to Paraguay, and northern Argentina. Srbek-Araujo et al. (2009) recently confirmed its presence in Espirito Santo, Brazil, although the populations in southeastern Brazil seem to be very reduced. The species may be extinct in Uruguay, and is not listed at all for this country by Fallabrino and Castiñeira (2006). It has been recorded from sea level up to 500 m asl.
Argentina (Chaco, Formosa, Salta, Santiago del Estero); Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Ecuador; French Guiana; Guyana; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Regionally extinct:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: P. maximus appears to be naturally rare where it occurs, with a very patchy distribution. Surveys in Suriname over an 18 year period recorded seven individuals in an area of 650 km² (Walsh and Gannon 1967). The density has been estimated to be from 5.77 to 6.28 per 100 km² using camera trapping (Noss et al. 2004). The wild populations are decreasing.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This terrestrial species is found close to water within undisturbed primary rain forest habitats. It excavates burrows, usually in grasslands or open areas of the forest. Nowak (1999) suggested that the species had declined by at least 50% over the last decade. In 1954, three individuals were found in an area of 16.7 km² in Espirito Santo, Brazil (Ruschi 1954). Home range size has been estimated to be at least 450 ha in Brazil (Carter and Encarnação 1983).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): P. maximus is threatened by hunting for meat (generally for subsistence) and deforestation of habitat. The illegal capture of Giant Armadillos for clandestine sale to wealthy animal collectors may also be a threat, but is difficult to quantify.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: P. maximus is listed on Appendix I of CITES. It is present in many protected areas. There is a need to decrease hunting pressure, and maintain habitat where viable populations occur.

Bibliography [top]

Aguiar, J. M. and da Fonseca, G. A. B. 2008. Conservation status of the Xenarthra. In: S. F. Vizcaino and W. J. Loughry (eds), The Biology of the Xenarthra, pp. 215-231. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

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.

Carter, T. S. and Encarnação, C. D. 1983. Characteristics and use of burrows by four species of Armadillo in Brazil. Journal of Mammalogy 64: 103-108.

Chebez, J. C. 1994. Los Que Se Van. Especies Argentinas en Peligro. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Editorial Albatros: 604.

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

Emmons, L. H. and Romo, M. R. 1994. Mammals of the Upper Tambopata/Távara. In: RAP Working Paper # 6, The Tambopata-Candamo Reserve Zone of Southeastern Perú: A Biological Assessment (ed.). Conservation International, Washington, DC, 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.

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 Cingulata. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition., pp. 94-99. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at: (Accessed: 29 June 2010).

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.

Mares, M. A., Barquez, R. M., Braun, J. K. and Ojeda, R. A. 1996. Observations on the mammals of Tucuman Province, Argentina. I. Systematics, distribution, and ecology of the Didelphimorphia, Xenarthra, Chiroptera, Primates, Carnivora, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, and Lagomorpha. Annals of Carnegie Museum 65: 89-152.

Noss, A., Peña, R. and Rumiz, D.I. 2004. Camera trapping Priodontes maximus in the dry forests of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Endangered Species Update 21(2): 43-52.

Nowak, R.M. (ed.) 1999. Walkers Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

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.

Redford, K. H. and Eisenberg, J. F. 1992. Mammals of the Neotropics, The Southern Cone: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Ruschi, A. 1954. Algumas especies zoológicas e botánicas em vías de extinção no Estado do Espirito Santo. Boletim do Museu de Biologia Professor Mello Leitão, Série Proteção à Natureza 16A: 1-45.

Scott, P. 1965. Section XIII. Preliminary List of Rare Mammals and Birds. The Launching of a New Ark. First Report of the President and Trustees of the World Wildlife Fund. An International Foundation for saving the world's wildlife and wild places 1961-1964, pp. 15-207. Collins, London, UK.

Srbek-Araujo, A. C., Scoss, L. M., Hirsch, A. and Chiarello, A. G. 2009. Records of the giant-armadillo Priodontes maximus (Cingulata: Dasypodidae) in the Atlantic Forest: are Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo the last strongholds of the species? Zoologia 26(3): 461-468.

Tarifa, T. 2009. Priodontes maximus. 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. 496-498. 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. 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.

Vizcaíno, S. F., Abba, A. M. and García Esponda, C. M. 2006. Magnaorden Xenarthra. In: R. M. Barquez, M. M. Díaz and R. A. Ojeda (eds), Mamíferos de Argentina: Sistemática y Distribución, pp. 46-56. Sociedad Argentina para el Estudio de los Mamíferos, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina.

Walsh, J. and Gannon, R. 1967. Time is short and the water rises: Operation Gwamba: the incredible story of how 10,000 animals were rescued from certain death in a South American rain forest. Tower Publications, Inc.

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: Superina, M. & Abba, A.M. 2010. Priodontes maximus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
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