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Temporal range: Late Oligocene (Deseadan)-Recent
~23–0 Ma
Dasyprocta punctata (Gamboa, Panama).jpg
Central American agouti, D. punctata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Superfamily: Cavioidea
Family: Dasyproctidae
Gray 1825

See text

Dasyproctidae is 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]

Dasyproctids 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 Late Oligocene (Deseadan in the SALMA classification).

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.


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

The pacas (genus Cuniculus) are placed by some authorities[3][5] in 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 (eds.). 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.

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