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Temporal range: Late Oligocene–Recent
Dasyprocta punctata (Gamboa, Panama).jpg
Central American agouti, D. punctata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Hystricomorpha
Infraorder: Hystricognathi
Parvorder: Caviomorpha
Family: Dasyproctidae
Bonaparte, 1838

See text

The Dasyproctidae are a family of large South American rodents, comprising the agoutis and acouchis.[1] Their fur is a reddish or dark colour above, with a paler underside. They are herbivorous, often feeding on ripe fruit that falls from trees. They live in burrows, and, like squirrels, will bury some of their food for later use.[2]

Dasyproctidae exist in Central and South America, which are the tropical parts of the new world. The fossil record of this family can be traced back to the Oligocene period (34-23 million years ago).

As with all rodents, members of this family have incisors, pre-molars, and molars, but no canines. The cheek teeth are hypsodont and flat-crowned. The digestive tract of these animals cannot break down raw meat, so it sticks to herbivory.[citation needed]


Fossil taxa follow McKenna and Bell,[3] with modifications following Kramarz.[4]

The pacas (genus Cuniculus) are placed by some authorities[3][5] in the Dasyproctidae, but molecular studies have demonstrated they do not form a monophyletic group.[6]


  1. ^ Woods, C.A.; Kilpatrick, C.W. (2005). "Infraorder Hystricognathi". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1538–1600. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Bishop, Ian (1984). Macdonald, D., ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. p. 701. ISBN 0-87196-871-1. 
  3. ^ a b McKenna, Malcolm C., and Bell, Susan K. 1997. Classification of Mammals Above the Species Level. Columbia University Press, New York, 631 pp. ISBN 0-231-11013-8
  4. ^ Kramarz, A.G. 2005. A primitive cephalomyid hystricognath rodent from the early Miocene of northern Patagonia, Argentina. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 50(2):249-258. PDF fulltext Archived July 15, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Woods, C. A. 1993. Hystricognathi. In Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.
  6. ^ Rowe, D. L. and R. L. Honeycutt. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships, ecological correlates, and molecular evolution within the Cavioidea (Mammalia, Rodentia). Molecular Biology and Evolution, 19:263-277.

http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=463 http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Dasyproctidae/ http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1519-69842014000300585