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Fossil range: Oligocene–Recent
Potamochoerus porcus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Gray, 1821

Babirusas, Babyrousa
Giant forest hogs, Hylochoerus
Warthogs, Phacochoerus
Pygmy Hog, Porcula
Bushpigs, Potamochoerus
Pigs, Sus

Suidae is the biological family to which pigs and their relatives belong. Up to sixteen species are currently recognized, including the domestic pig Sus scrofa or S. domesticus. They are classified into between four and eight genera. In addition to numerous species of wild pig, the family includes the babirusa Babyrousa babyrussa and the warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus. All of the species are found in the Old World, ranging from Asia and its islands, to Europe, and Africa.

The earliest fossil suids date from the Oligocene epoch of Asia, and their descendants reached Europe during the Miocene[1] . Several fossil species are known, and show adaptations to a wide range of different diets, from strict herbivory to possible carrion-eating (in Toconodon).[2]


Physical characteristics

Suids belong to the order Artiodactyla, and are generally regarded as the living members of that order most similar to the ancestral form. Unlike most other members of the order, they have four toes on each foot, although they walk only on the middle two digits, with the others staying clear of the ground. They also have a simple stomach, rather than the more complex, ruminant, stomach found in most other Artiodactyl families.[3]

They are small to medium animals, varying in size from 58 to 66cm in length, and 6-9 kg in weight in the case of the Pygmy Hog, to 130-210 cm and 130-275 kg in the Giant Forest Hog. They have large heads and short necks, with relatively small eyes and prominent ears. Their heads have a distinctive snout, ending in a disc-shaped nose. Suids typically have a bristly coat, and a short tail ending in a tassle. The males possess a corkscrew-shaped penis, which fits into a similarly shaped groove in the female's cervix.

Suids have a well developed sense of hearing, and are vocal animals, communicating with a series of grunts, squeals, and similar sounds. They also have an acute sense of smell. Many species are omnivorous, eating grass, leaves, roots, insects, worms, and even frogs or mice. Other species are more selective and purely herbivorous.[3]

Their teeth reflect their diet, and suids retain the upper incisors, which are lost in most other Artiodactyls. The canine teeth are enlarged to form prominent tusks, used for rooting in moist earth or undergrowth, and in fighting. They have only a short diastema. The number of teeth varies between species, but the general dental formula is: Upper: 1-3.1.2-4.3 / Lower:

Behaviour and reproduction

Despite their apparently 'primitive' anatomy, suids are intelligent and adaptable animals. Adult females travel in groups called sounders, together with their young, whilst adult males are either solitary, or travel in small bachelor groups. They are generally not territorial animals, and come into conflict only during the mating season.

Litter size varies between one and twelve, depending on the species. The mother prepares a grass nest or similar den, which the young leave after about ten days. Suids are weaned at around three months, and become sexually mature at 18 months. In practice, however, male suids are unlikely to gain access to sows in the wild until they have reached their full physical size, at around four years of age. In all species, the male is significantly larger than the female, and possesses more prominent tusks.[3]


Bearded Pig, Sus barbatus
Chleuastochoerus fossil

The complete list of living species, and a partial list of fossil genera[2], follows:

See also


  1. ^ Palmer, D., ed (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. pp. 269. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.  
  2. ^ a b Savage, RJG, & Long, MR (1986). Mammal Evolution: an illustrated guide. New York: Facts on File. pp. 212–213. ISBN 0-8160-1194-X.  
  3. ^ a b c Cumming, David (1984). Macdonald, D.. ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 500–503. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.  


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Latin sus, swine

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. (zoology) A taxonomic family, within suborder Suiformes - the pigs and related creatures.
Wikispecies has information on:


See also


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Sus scrofa (Pig)


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Theria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Superordo: Cetartiodactyla
Ordo: Artiodactyla
Subordo: Suina
Familia: Suidae
Genera: Babyrousa - †Eurolistriodon - Hylochoerus - †Parachleuastochoerus - Phacochoerus - Potamochoerus - Sus

Vernacular names

English: Pigs
Español: Cerdos
한국어: 멧돼지과
日本語: イノシシ科
‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Svinedyr
Português: Suídeos
Suomi: Siat
Svenska: Svin
Türkçe: Domuzgiller
Українська: Свині
中文: 豬科


  • Suidae on Mammal species of the World.
    Don E. Wilson & DeeAnn M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed).
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Suidae on Wikimedia Commons.

Simple English

File:Lightmatter unidentified pig-like
Potamochoerus porcus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Suidae
Gray, 1821

Suidae is the family to which pigs and their relatives belong. Up to existen species are currently recognised, including the domestic pig. In addition to numerous species of wild pig, the family includes the babirusa and the warthog.


  • Family Suidae
    • Genus Babyrousa: Babirusas
    • Genus Hylochoerus: Giant forest hogs
      • Giant forest hog, Hylochoerus meinertzhageni
    • Genus Phacochoerus: Warthogs
      • Warthog, Phacochoerus africanus
      • Desert Warthog, Phacochoerus aethiopicus
    • Genus Porcula: Pygmy Hog
      • Pygmy Hog, Porcula salvania
    • Genus Potamochoerus: Bushpigs
      • Bushpig, Potamochoerus larvatus
      • Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus
    • Genus Sus: Pigs

Other links

Look up Suidae in Wikispecies, a directory of species
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