The anatomy and function of the feeding apparatus in two armadillos (Dasypoda): anatomy is not destiny

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The morphology and function of the masticatory apparatus in two armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus and Euphractus sexcinctus are compared. Euphractus sexcinctus, a species restricted to South America, is omnivorous, eating a wide range of foods, including significant amounts of plant material and carrion. Dasypus novemcinctus is geographically the most widespread of all armadillos, ranging from northern Argentina into the United States. It is insectivorousā€omnivorous, apparently consuming whatever it encounters in the leaf litter. In South and Central America, this leads to a diet with a large proportion of ants and termites; in North America, the diet is considerably broadened. The teeth, jaws and jaw musculature of E. sexcinctus are large and the configuration of the jaws maximizes force production. Dasypus novemcinctus possesses derived morphology relative to the primitive condition in armadillos and exhibits many characteristics of ant and termiteā€eating mammals, including reduced jaw muscles, teeth and facial bones. The apparent morphological specializations for myrmecophagy in D. novemcinctus do not, however, constrain its diet to ants and termites. It is broadly omnivorous, especially in North America. Our data highlight the difficulties in predicting diet from morphological analysis and raise questions concerning the behavioural limits imposed by morphological specialization. Copyright © 1990, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smith, KK; Redford, KH

Published Date

  • January 1, 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 222 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 27 - 47

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7998

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0952-8369

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1990.tb04027.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus