Silky anteater (Northeastern Brazil subpopulation)
Cyclopes didactylus

This subpopulation of the silky anteater occurs in coastal northeastern Brazil, in the states of Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Rio Grande do Norte (Miranda and Superina, 2010). It is isolated from the main silky anteater population by approximately 1,000 km.


The northeastern subpopulation of C. didactylus is restricted to tropical moist lowland forests.


Nothing is known about the biology, ecology, population size or density of this isolated population of C. didactylus.


This population of silky anteaters is threatened by rapid deforestation of its suitable habitat (Atlantic Forest) due to the increase in sugar cane plantations, which, in addition to direct habitat loss, also leads to habitat fragmentation and degradation. Only five percent of the original extent of suitable habitat remain intact (Galindo-Leal and De Gusmão Câmara, 2003). The current area of Atlantic Forest in the range states amounts to approximately 3,000 km2 (Campanili and Prochnow, 2006). Furthermore, silky anteaters are captured for illegal trade (Miranda, pers. comm., 2010).


There is no doubt that rapid and ongoing deforestation of the Atlantic Forest is negatively affecting the northeastern population of C. didactylus, as the species cannot survive in the sugar cane plantations that are replacing the native vegetation in this area and the remaining patches of suitable habitat are increasingly fragmented. It is therefore highly probable that this population requires listing in a threatened category. The lack of basic data on its ecology, population size and density, however, currently do not allow a realistic assessment of its conservation status. The northeastern population of C. didactylus is therefore classified as Data Deficient. Field studies are urgently needed to confirm the taxonomic status of this population and to obtain sufficient information for an appropriate assessment of its conservation status.
There are no State or National parks within the range of the northeastern Brazil subpopulation of C. didactylus. Projeto Tamanduá (Brazil) is performing awareness programs in the area.


Additional information and a complete list of references can be found in: Superina, M., F.R. Miranda, and A.M. Abba (2010): The 2010 Anteater Red List Assessment. Edentata 11(2): 96-114. This article is available here.

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