Central American silky anteater

(Cyclopes dorsalis)

other common names

Central American pygmy anteater


Order: Pilosa
Family: Cyclopedidae


Until recently, it was thought that there was only a single species of silky anteaters. However, a 10-year long investigation by Miranda et al. (2018) provided evidence that there are actually seven species of Cyclopes.

The Central American silky anteater has a head-body length of 18.5–21.5 cm, a tail of 17­–22.5 cm length, and it weighs 155–275 grams. Its color is quite different from the other Cyclopes species: the fur on the body, limbs, and tail is very deeply yellow, there is an irregular but distinctive dorsal stripe, and, in some individuals, a weakly marked ventral stripe.


This silky anteater occurs from southern Mexico to the inter-Andean valleys of Colombia and along the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador.


This species inhabits mangrove swamps and tropical rainforests. It has arboreal and nocturnal habits. At Barro Colorado Island in Panama, the home range of a male was 11 hectares, and the average home range of four females was 2.9 hectares.


No information is available on the diet of this species, but it is presumably an opportunistic insectivore that mainly feeds on ants.


Gestation length is 120–150 days.


The threats to this species are unknown. It is probably affected by habitat loss, especially due to the degradation of mangroves.

Population trend


conservation status

The extinction risk of this species has not been assessed since the new taxonomic classification. Hence, it should be considered Not Evaluated.

curious facts

Three former subspecies of Cyclopes didactylus have been synonymized for the description of this species: Cyclopes didactylus eva, Cyclopes didactylus mexicana, and Cyclopes didactylus dorsalis. The species kept the scientific name of the latter because it was the oldest of the three subspecies descriptions. This standard is used in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, a widely accepted convention in zoology that rules the formal scientific naming of animals.