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New records of Agouti paca (Linnaeus) from the Mexican state of Puebla.

The agouti (Agouti paca) is a widespread Latin American species, ranging from southwestern Brazil (Perez 1992; Woods 1992) to Tamaulipas, Mexico (Moreno-Valdez et al. 1997) at its northernmost limit. Selected records of this largest of Mexican rodents from states where it has been previously recorded are Campeche (Hall 1981; Aranda 1993), Chiapas (Medellin 1994; Navarrete-Gutierrez et al. 1996; Espinoza Medinilla et al. 1998), Oaxaca (Goodwin 1969), Quintana Roo (Jones & Lawlor 1965; Pozo de la Tijera et al. 1991), San Luis Potosi (Dalquest 1953), Tabasco (Leon P. & Romo V. 1991), Veracruz (Hall & Dalquest 1963; Hall 1981; Martinez-Gallardo & Sanchez-Cordero 1997) and Yucatan (Birney et al. 1974; Jones et al. 1974). Preferred habitat is tropical woodland (Leopold 1965), ranging from sea-level to 1,600 m (Mondolfi 1972). In Panama, it occurs as high as 2,000 m (Mendez 1993).

Five specimens of Agouti paca housed in the Collection of Mammals at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Iztapalapa (Table 1; UAMI catalog numbers 15094, 15095, 15096, 15097 and 15098) include four adults and a fetus. Three of the adults (one male, two of unknown sex, and a female) were taken from Zapotitlan de Mendez (19[degrees] 59' 35" N and 97[degrees] 42' 29" W at 900 m), and the remaining adult (sex unknown) originated from Olintla, Puebla [(UAMI 15098) (20[degrees] 06' 10" N and 97[degrees] 41' 01" W at 790 m)]. These are the first records of the agouti from the Mexican state of Puebla, and are assigned to Agouti paca nelsoni on the basis of geographic proximity.

Both Pueblan localities are within the physiographic province of the Sierra Madre Oriental, which is classed as semitorrid, with a mean annual rainfall of 1,500-4,000 mm, but with less than 18 mm of winter precipitation. Vegetation in each of these areas is tropical rain forest (Rzedowski 1988), dominated by the genera Cedrela, Swietenia, Inga, Croton and Bursera, although the local primary growth is widely supplanted by coffee plantations and fruit tree (chirimoya, mamey, naranja, papaya, platano) orchards.

The fetus (UAMI 15094) was removed from the body of a female found shot along the road on 6 August 1999. The skull of the adult female was shattered and could not be salvaged as a specimen, although the following external measurements (mm) were recorded: total length, 700; length of tail, 15; length of hind foot, 173, height of ear pinna, 41. Weight was 9700 g. Upon learning of the interest in the agouti, local residents readily provided the remaining specimens. External measurements (mm) of the fetus were: total length, 295; length of tail, 12; length of hind foot, 72; height of ear pinna, 28. Weight was 590 g. Considering the size of the fetus, it is presumed that the pregnancy was in its final stage. Incisors were already erupted, and the deciduous premolars were appearing through the gums.

The agouti still appears to be common in the region, in spite of being actively hunted for its flesh, which is highly prized by local residents. Perhaps a more serious threat to populations of the species is loss of habitat. Woodlands in the vicinity of Olintla are being cleared for varied agricultural and ranching activities, while land around Zapotitlan de Mendez is increasingly being used for coffee plantations.

This record increases the number of known species to 142 in 23 families for the Mexican State of Puebla (Ramirez-Pulido et al. 1986; 2000; Ramirez-Pulido & Castro-Campillo 1990; 1994).

Resumen. -- A la lista de mamiferos silvestres del Estado de Puebla, se agrega el de aguti, Agouti paca nelsoni, con base en los registros de cuatro ejemplares, procedentes de dos localidades en la selva tropical Iluviosa de la Sierra Madre Oriental. El aguti es abundante en esa region, pero es cazado con frecuencia por su carne y su habitat natural esta siendo rapidamente sustituido por cultivos y potreros.
Table 1. Cranial measurements (mm) of five specimens of Agouti paca
nelsoni (and UAMI catalog numbers) from Zapotitlan de Mendez and
Olintla, Puebla.

Cranial measurements Adult [male] Young [female] Adult (sex?)
 (15095) (15094) (15096)

Greatest length of skull 147.3 71.8 --
Condylobasal length 134.7 62.6 --
Length of nasals 56.8 19.8 --
Postnasal length 101.1 54.5 97.8
Cranial breadth 52.8 33.2 --
Depth of braincase 37.6 27.5 --
Rostrum height 36.5 22.3 --
Breadth of rostrum 26.7 14.4 --
Interorbital constriction 43.2 23.2 --
Mastoid breadth 55.2 27.8 --
Breadth of mesopterygoid
 fossa 20.2 12.7 20.2
Zygomatic breadth 112.3 41.3 110.0
Greatest breadth of
 zygomatic plate 61.0 13.1 58.2
Height of jugal 60.6 12.9 61.5
Length of bullae 26.2 15.3 --
Breadth across
 [M.sup.3]-[M.sup.3] 24.8 -- 25.1
Length of maxillary
 toothrow 31.2 15.8 29.3
Length of diastema 47.8 19.9 --

Cranial measurements Adult (sex?) Adult (sex?)
 (15097) (15098)

Greatest length of skull -- 150.6
Condylobasal length -- 143.2
Length of nasals 60.7 54.0
Postnasal length -- 98.0
Cranial breadth -- 53.8
Depth of braincase 36.0 36.6
Rostrum height 34.2 35.4
Breadth of rostrum 25.2 27.9
Interorbital constriction 42.7 40.9
Mastoid breadth -- 52.2
Breadth of mesopterygoid
 fossa 21.2 19.5
Zygomatic breadth 110.2 107.9
Greatest breadth of
 zygomatic plate 57.3 58.0
Height of jugal 61.1 61.3
Length of bullae 26.8 25.1
Breadth across
 [M.sup.3]-[M.sup.3] 24.2 25.6
Length of maxillary
 toothrow 30.0 29.2
Length of diastema 52.7 52.3


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We gratefully acknowledge two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and criticisms, and Margarita Perez Marron for the review of an earlier draft of the manuscript. This work was partially financed by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (Grant No. 400200-5R29117N).

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Jose Ramirez-Pulido, Cristobal Galindo-Galindo*, Adalinda Sanchez-Quiroz and Alondra Castro-Campillo

Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Unidad Iztapalapa

Division de C. B. S. Departamento de Biologia

Mexico 09340, D. F. and

* Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Facultad de Estudios Superiores Unidad Zaragoza

Departamento de Biologia

Mexico 09230, D. F.

JRP at: jrp@xanum.uam.mx
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Title Annotation:GENERAL NOTES
Author:Ramirez-Pulido, Jose; Galindo-Galindo, Cristobal; Sanchez-Quiroz, Adalinda; Castro-Campillo, Alondra
Publication:The Texas Journal of Science
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Words:1730
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