Chordates • Earth.com

White-lipped peccary

(Tayassu pecari)

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Description

The white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) is a peccary found in Central and South America. Most of its range is in rainforests, but it is also known from a wide range of other habitats such as dry forests, grasslands, mangrove, Cerrado, and dry xerophytic areas. It lives in herds of 20–300 individuals that typically take up about 120 km2 (46 sq mi) to fully function. Members of this species are omnivorous, feeding mostly on fruit, and are usually found traveling great distances to obtain it. If this resource is in demand and difficult to find, peccaries eat leaves, stems, or animal parts. White-lipped peccaries have several unique attributes that allow them to stay with and identify their herd, which is essential for their survival in the wild. The white-lipped peccary lives to be around 13 years old and can give birth to two young at a time. The head and body length ranges from 90–139 cm (35–55 in), the shoulder height is between 40 and 60 cm (16 and 24 in), the tail length is from 3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in), and the adult weight is 25–40 kg (55–88 lb). Their color is generally brown or black. The coat is bristly and has hairs running lengthways down the spine growing longer than the hairs running down the body, making a crest, which rises when the peccary becomes excited. The peccary has a round body with a long snout that ends in a circular disk where the nasal cavity starts. It has white markings that start below the snout and run to the cheek area just below the eyes. The white-lipped peccary is native to Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. An example ecoregion of occurrence is the Belizean pine forests. The peccary is regionally extinct in El Salvador and Uruguay. They thrive in dense, humid, tropical forests, and can also be found in a wide range of other habitats such dry forests, grasslands, mangrove, Cerrado, and dry xerophytic areas. They range from sea level to an altitude of 1,900 m (6,200 ft). The white-lipped peccary is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Its population is currently decreasing, despite protective measures. It is also listed on Appendix II on CITES.

Taxonomic tree:

Domain:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:
Class: Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Tayassuidae
Genus:Tayassu
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