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New species of porcupine discovered in Brazil

03/12/2013 11:00:33

The Baturite porcupine, Coendou baturitensis. Copyright Hugo Fernandes-Ferreira.

December 2013: A new species of porcupine has been discovered in Brazil by biologists from the Federal University of Paraíba. Named Coendou baturitensis it is a medium-sized prehensile-tailed porcupine with a body densely covered with tricolour quills that belongs to the Coendou genus.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines are nocturnal, herbivorous, solitary rodents native to Central and South America and measure 0.7-1 m long including the tail and weigh about 3-5kg. They feed on bark, leaves and buds as well as fruit and root vegetables. Their most noticeable feature is their long, unspined tail, which they use it as a fifth limb to helps them hold on to branches as they climb through the forest canopy.

The new species, Coendou baturitensis,  only known habitat is the Baturité Range in the Brazilian state of Ceará.

“The name refers to the locality of origin, a forests on a mountain range similar to the Brejos de Altitude of the Brazilian Northeast where a fauna different from that of the surrounding semiarid Caatinga can be found,” co-authors Dr Anderson Feijó and Dr Alfredo Langguth wrote in the paper published in the journal Revista Nordestina de Biologia.


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