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Order Cingulata

Armadillos and Allies

This order seems to have originated in South America and only recently to have invaded North America. Its members, the armadillos, are highly specialized relative to their armored appearance and feeding habits. For example, the bony carapace is unique among mammals.

Family Dasypodidae


The Dasypodidae comprises eight genera and 21 species, and most are restricted to tropical regions of Central and South America. Only one species, the nine-banded armadillo, ranges north to the United States, and because of its uniqueness it has been designated the official state small mammal of Texas. Armadillos are characterized by their bony carapace, which is a series of plates interspersed with more flexible skin that allows the animals to move about in normal mammalian fashion. The species of this family range in size from 125 mm to almost 1 m. Most armadillos have small ears and relatively long snouts with small peg-like teeth and a protrusible tongue. All members of this family are terrestrial and usually solitary in nature. They feed primarily on insects, invertebrates, and some plant material.

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From The Mammals of Texas, Seventh Edition by David J. Schmidly and Robert D. Bradley, copyright © 1994, 2004, 2016.  Courtesy of the University of Texas Press.


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