Tamandua mexicana


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tamandua mexicana
Species Authority: (Saussure, 1860)
Common Name/s:
English Northern Tamandua
Spanish Oso Melero, Oso Hormiguero, Oso Mielero, Tamandua
Taxonomic Notes: Wetzel (1982) recognizes five subspecies of T. mexicana. It is likely that further taxonomic work is needed for this species.

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 Superina, M.
Reviewer/s: Tirira, D. & Ortega Reyes, J.
Contributor/s: Arteaga, M.
T. mexicana 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

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: T. mexicana ranges from southern Mexico in the north of its range, through Central America as far south as northwestern Peru and northwestern Venezuela. It ranges from sea level to 2,000 m asl, although most sightings have been recorded from areas below 1,000 m asl (Cuarón 2005, Cuervo-Díaz et al. 1986, Eisenberg 1989, Tirira 2007).
Belize; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: T. mexicana is common in appropriate habitat. It is, however, considered uncommon in Ecuador (Tirira 2007, 2008). Population density estimates vary from 0.06 individuals per hectare in Costa Rica (Guariguata et al. 2002) to 0.13 individuals per hectare in Panama (Montgomery 1985a). Its home range has been estimated at 25 hectares in Central America and Ecuador (Montgomery 1985a, Tirira 2007) and 70 hectares in Panama (Eisenberg 1989).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: T. mexicana is found in tropical and subtropical dry and moist forest, including mixed deciduous and evergreen habitats. It can also be found in mangroves and grassland with some trees. It can survive in secondary forests and in disturbed habitats. The most common coloration is tan with a black vest on back and sides (Wetzel 1985) but uniformly tan individuals without vest also occur. T. mexicana can move, feed and rest on the ground and trees (Lubin and Montgomery 1981, Montgomery 1985a, 1985b). The females give birth to one young at any time of the year (Reid 1997).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Roadkills, wildfires and habitat change are affecting this arboreal anteater, but the scope of these threats is unknown. In rural Ecuador, T. mexicana is persecuted due to the local belief that it attacks domestic dogs (Tirira 2007). It is used as a pet species in southern Mexico (Lira-Torres 2006), and indigenous people may hunt it for food in some areas (Espinoza et al. 2003, Méndez-Cabrera and Montiel 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The population of T. mexicana in Guatemala is listed on Appendix III of CITES. It has been recorded from several protected areas, among them Soberanía National Park (Panamá), Machalilla National Park, and the Ecological Reserves Arenillas, Cotacachi-Cayapas, Mache-Chindul and Manglares Churute (all in Ecuador; Tirira 2007).
Citation: Miranda, F. and Superina, M. 2011. Tamandua mexicana. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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