Chordates •

Collared peccary

(Pecari tajacu)



The collared peccary (Dicotyles tajacu) is a species of artiodactyl (even-toed) mammal in the family Tayassuidae found in North, Central, and South America. It is the only member of the genus Dicotyles. They are commonly referred to as javelina, saíno, or báquiro, although these terms are also used to describe other species in the family. The species is also known as the musk hog. In Trinidad, it is colloquially known as quenk. The collared peccary stands around 510-610 mm (20-24 in) tall at the shoulder and is about 1.0-1.5 m (3 ft 3 in-4 ft 11 in) long. It weighs between 16 and 27 kg (35 and 60 lb). The dental formula is: 2/3,1/1,3/3,3/3. The collared peccary has small tusks that point toward the ground when the animal is upright. It has slender legs with a robust or stocky body. The tail is often hidden in the coarse fur of the peccary. The collared peccary is widespread throughout much of the tropical and subtropical Americas, ranging from the Southwestern United States to northern Argentina. They were reintroduced to Uruguay in 2017, after 100 years of extirpation there. The only Caribbean island where it is native, however, is Trinidad. Until fairly recently, it was also present on the nearby island of Tobago, but is now exceedingly rare (if not extirpated) due to overhunting by humans. An adaptable species, it inhabits deserts, xeric shrublands, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, shrublands, flooded grasslands and savannas, tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, and several other habitats; it is also present in habitats shared by humans, merely requiring sufficient cover. Peccaries can be found in cities and agricultural land throughout their range, where they consume garden plants. Notable populations are known to exist in the suburbs of Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Due to the lack of fossil material or even specimens from archeological sites, it was assumed that javelinas only recently crossed into the US by way of Mexico. However, a fossil jaw of this species was discovered in Florida ("Collared peccary (Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Tayassuidae, Pecari) from the late Pleistocene of Florida", Richard C. Hulbert, Gary S. Morgan & Andreas Kerner), proving that at some point in the late Pleistocene the species had already inhabited part of the Southern US.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Mammalia
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