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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Late Paleocene–Recent
Nine-banded Armadillo
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Eutheria
Superorder: Xenarthra
Order: Cingulata
Illiger, 1811

Armadillos are small placental mammals, known for having a leathery armor shell. The Dasypodidae are the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra along with the anteaters and sloths. The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one".

There are approximately 10 extant genera and around 20 extant species of armadillo, some of which are distinguished by the number of bands on their armor. Their average length is about 75 centimeters (30 in), including tail; the Giant Armadillo grows up to 1.5 m (5 ft) and weighs 59 kg (130 lbs), while the Pink Fairy Armadillos are diminutive species with an overall length of 12–15 cm (4–5 in). All species are native to the Americas, where they inhabit a variety of environments.

In the United States, the sole resident armadillo is the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), which is most common in the central southernmost states, particularly Texas. Their range is as far east as South Carolina and Florida and as far north as Nebraska; they have been consistently expanding their range over the last century due to a lack of natural predators and have been found as far north as Illinois, Indiana and southern Ontario.


Habitat and anatomy

Armadillos are prolific diggers. Many species use their sharp claws to dig for food, such as grubs, and to dig dens. The Nine-banded Armadillo prefers to build burrows in moist soil near the creeks, streams, and arroyos around which it lives and feeds. The diet of different armadillo species varies, but consists mainly of insects, grubs, and other invertebrates. Some species, however, are almost entirely formicivorous (feeding mainly on ants).[citation needed]

Armadillos have poor vision. The armor is formed by plates of dermal bone covered in relatively small, overlapping epidermal scales called "scutes", composed of bone with a covering of horn. In most species, there are rigid shields over the shoulders and hips, with a number of bands separated by flexible skin covering the back and flanks. Additional armor covers the top of the head, the upper parts of the limbs, and the tail. The underside of the animal is never armored, and is simply covered with soft skin and fur.[1]

This armor-like skin appears to be the main defense of many armadillos, although most escape predators by fleeing (often into thorny patches, from which their armor protects them) or digging to safety. Only the South American three-banded armadillos (Tolypeutes) rely heavily on their armor for protection. When threatened by a predator, Tolypeutes species frequently roll up into a ball. Other armadillo species cannot roll up because they have too many plates. The North American Nine-banded Armadillo tends to jump straight in the air when surprised, and consequently often collides with the undercarriage or fenders of passing vehicles.[2]

Armadillos have short legs but can move quite quickly, and have the ability to remain underwater for as long as six minutes. Because of the density of its armor, an armadillo will sink in water unless it inflates its stomach and intestines with air, which often doubles its size and allows it to swim across narrow bodies of water.[3]

Armadillos use their claws for digging and finding food, as well as for making their homes in burrows. They dig their burrows with their claws, only making a single corridor where they fit themselves. They have five clawed toes on the hindfeet, and three to five toes with heavy digging claws on the forefeet. Armadillos have a large number of cheek teeth, which are not divided into premolars and molars, but usually have incisors or canines.

Gestation lasts anywhere from 60 to 120 days, depending on species, although the nine-banded armadillo also exhibits delayed implantation, so that the young are not typically born for eight months after mating. Most members of the genus Dasypus give birth to four monozygotic young (that is, identical quadruplets), but other species may have typical litter sizes that range from one to eight. The young are born with soft leathery skin, which hardens within a few weeks, and reach sexual maturity in 3–12 months, depending on the species. Armadillos are solitary animals that do not share their burrows with other adults.[1]



† indicates extinct taxon

Armadillos and humans

As musical instruments

Armadillo shells have traditionally been used to make the back of the charango, an Andean lute instrument; nowadays charangos are made entirely of wood.

In science

Armadillos are often used in the study of leprosy, since they, along with mangabey monkeys, rabbits and mice (on their footpads), are among the few known non-human animal species that can contract the disease systemically. They are particularly susceptible due to their unusually low body temperature, which is hospitable to the leprosy bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae. (The leprosy bacterium is difficult to culture and armadillos have a body temperature of 34 °C, similar to human skin.)

The Nine-banded Armadillo also serves science through its unusual reproductive system, in which four genetically identical quadruplets are born in each litter.[4][5][6] Because they are always genetically identical, the group of four young provides a good subject for scientific, behavioral or medical tests that need consistent biological and genetic makeup in the test subjects. This is the only reliable manifestation of polyembryony in the class mammalia, and only exists within the genus Dasypus and not in all armadillos, as is commonly believed. Other species which display this trait include parasitoid wasps, certain flatworms and various aquatic invertebrates.[5]

Armadillos (mainly Dasypus) make common roadkill due to their habit of jumping to about fender height when startled (such as by an oncoming car). Wildlife enthusiasts are using the northward march of the armadillo as an opportunity to educate others about the animals, which can be a burrowing nuisance to property owners and managers.[4]



External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Armadillos article)

From Wikiquote

O dilloing in his armour

An armadillo is a mammal noted for its armour and ability to curl into a ball.


  • 'Nonsense!' said Mother Jaguar. 'Everything has its proper name. I should call it "Armadillo" till I found out the real one. And I should leave it alone.'
  • I've never seen a Jaguar,
    Nor yet an Armadill-
    o dilloing in his armour,
    And I s'pose I never will,
    Unless I go to Rio
    These wonders to behold--
    Roll down--roll down to Rio--
    Roll really down to Rio!
    Oh, I'd love to roll to Rio
    Some day before I'm old!
  • The ancient owls' nest must have burned.
    Hastily, all alone,
    a glistening armadillo left the scene,
    rose-flecked, head down, tail down
  • For a single armadillo, you will own,
    On Salisbury Plain in summer is comparatively rare,
    And a pair of them is practically unknown.
  • Dada doubts everything. Dada is an armadillo. Everything is Dada, too. Beware of Dada. [1]

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ARMADILLO, the Spanish designation for the small mail-clad Central and South American mammals of the order Edentata, constituting the family Dasypodidae. The armature consists of a bony case, partly composed of solid buckler-like plates, and partly of movable transverse bands, the latter differing in number with the species, and giving to the body a considerable degree of flexibility. The bony plates are overlain by horny scales. Armadillos are omnivorous, feeding on roots, insects, worms, reptiles and carrion, and are mostly, though not universally, Peba Armadillo (Tatusia novemcincta). nocturnal. They are harmless and inoffensive creatures, offering no resistance when caught; their principal means of escape being the extraordinary rapidity with which they burrow in the ground, and the tenacity with which they retain their hold in their subterranean retreats. Notwithstanding the shortness of their limbs they run with rapidity. Most of the species are esteemed good eating by the natives of the countries in which they live. They are all inhabitants of the open plains or the forests of the tropical and temperate parts of South America, with the exception of a few species which range as far north as Texas. The largest species is the giant armadillo (Priodon gigas), measuring nearly a yard long, from the forests of Surinam and Brazil; while one of the smallest is Dasypus minutes, a near ally of the larger D. sexcinctus. The peba (Tatusia novemcincta) represents a group with a large number of movable bands in the armour; while the apar (Tolypeutes tricinctus) and the other members of the same genus are remarkable for their power of rolling themselves up into balls. For the distinctive characters of these and the other genera see Edentata.

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

For the mammal known as Armadillo, see Dasypodidae

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Classis: Malacostraca
Subclassis: Eumalacostraca
Superordo: Peracarida
Ordo: Isopoda
Subordo: Oniscidea
Infraordo: Holoverticata
Section: Crinocheta
Familia: Armadillidae
Genus: Armadillo
Contains: 54 species

List of species

Directory A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A. affinis - A. albipes - A. albomarginatus - A. albus - A. alievi - A. almerius - A. ankaratrae - A. arcuatus -


A. bituberculatus -


A. carmelensis - A. cassida - A. cavernae - A. collinus - A. confalonierii - A. conglobator -


A. erythroleucus - A. euthele - A. exter -


A. fenerivei -


A. galeatus - A. glomerulus - A. haedillus - A. hirsutus -


A. immotus - A. infuscatus - A. insulanus -A. interger - A. intermixtus -


A. jordanius -


A. kinzelbachi -


A. liliputanus -


A. makuae - A. marcidus - A. mayeti - A. microps - A. moncayotus - A. montanus -


A. nigromarginatus -


A. obliquidens - A. officinalis -


A. pallidus - A. platypleon - A. proximatus - A. pseudomayeti - A. purpurescens - A. pygmaeus -


A. salisburyensis - A. sodalis - A. solumcolus - A. sordidus -


A. transpilosus - A. troglophilus - A. tuberculatus -


A. vumbaensis -


Genus: Armadillo Latreille, 1802


  • Schmalfuss, H. (2003): World catalog of terrestrial isopods (Isopoda: Oniscidea). - Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, Serie A, Nr. 654: 341 pp.

Simple English

Fossil range: Late Paleocene to Recent
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Xenarthra
Order: Cingulata
Illiger, 1811
  • †Pampatheriidae (prehistoric)
  • †Glyptodontidae (prehistoric)
  • Dasypodidae

Armadillos are small placental mammals, known for having a bony armor shell. The Dasypodidae are the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra together with the anteaters and sloths. The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one".

There are approximately 10 extant genera and around 20 extant species of armadillo. Their average length is about 75 centimeters (30 in), including tail. The Giant Armadillo grows up to 100 cm (39 in) and weigh 30 kg (66lbs). All species live in the Americas.



  • Family Pampatheriidae: giant armadillos
    • Genus †Machlydotherium
    • Genus †Kraglievichia
    • Genus †Vassallia
    • Genus †Plaina
    • Genus †Scirrotherium
    • Genus †Pampatherium
    • Genus †Holmesina
  • Family Glyptodontidae: glyptodonts
    • Genus †Glyptodon
    • Genus †Doedicurus
    • Genus †Hoplophorus
    • Genus †Panochthus
    • Genus †Parapropalaehoplophorus
    • Genus †Plaxhaplous
  • Family Dasypodidae: armadillos
    • Subfamily Dasypodinae
      • Genus Dasypus
        • Nine-banded Armadillo or Long-nosed Armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus
        • Seven-banded Armadillo, Dasypus septemcinctus
        • Southern Long-nosed Armadillo, Dasypus hybridus
        • Llanos Long-nosed Armadillo, Dasypus sabanicola
        • Great Long-nosed Armadillo, Dasypus kappleri
        • Hairy Long-nosed Armadillo, Dasypus pilosus
        • †Beautiful Armadillo, Dasypus bellus
    • Subfamily Euphractinae
      • Genus Calyptophractus
        • Greater Fairy Armadillo, Calyptophractus retusus
      • Genus Chaetophractus
        • Screaming Hairy Armadillo, Chaetophractus vellerosus
        • Big Hairy Armadillo, Chaetophractus villosus
        • Andean Hairy Armadillo, Chaetophractus nationi
      • Genus †Peltephilus
        • Horned Armadillo, Peltephilus ferox

[[File:|thumb|right|200px|Pink Fairy Armadillo, Chlamyphorus truncatus]]

      • Genus Chlamyphorus
      • Genus Euphractus
        • Six-banded Armadillo, Euphractus sexcinctus
      • Genus Zaedyus
        • Pichi, Zaedyus pichiy
    • Subfamily Tolypeutinae
      • Genus Cabassous
        • Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous centralis
        • Chacoan Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous chacoensis
        • Southern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous unicinctus
        • Greater Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous tatouay
      • Genus Priodontes
      • Genus Tolypeutes
        • Southern Three-banded Armadillo, Tolypeutes matacus
        • Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo, Tolypeutes tricinctus

† indicates extinct taxon

Look up Dasypodidae in Wikispecies, a directory of species

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