CLASSIFICATION OF Porcupine : Hystrix
PHYLUM :- CHORDATA (Notochord, dorsal tubular nerve cord present and gill slits present )
Group :- CRANIATA ( Definite head. Cranium with brain present )
Sub-phylum :- VERTEBRATA ( vertebral column present)
Division :- GNATHOSTOMATA ( Jaws and paired appendages present )
Super class :- TETRAPODA ( Paired limbs, lungs, bony skeleton and cornified skin).
Class :-MAMMALIA ( Body covered with hairs. females have mammary glands ).
Sub-class :- THERIA ( Viviparous ).
Infra class :- EUTHERIA ( Placental mammals, vagina single ).
Order :- Rodentia ( Having one pair of upper incisors ).
Genus : . Hystrix
Porcupine or Hystrix is found in India, Africa and America. Eocene to Recent.
HABIT AND HABITAT
It commonly inhabits river banks, nallahs and bunds. It comes out only after sunset. It is nocturnal and herbivorous.
The North American porcupine is an herbivore; it eats leaves, herbs, twigs, and green plants such as clover. In the winter, it may eat bark. It often climbs trees to find food.The African porcupine is not a climber and forages on the ground.It is mostly nocturnal,but will sometimes forage for food in the day, eating bark, roots, fruits and berries, as well as farm crops. Porcupines have become a pest in Kenya and are eaten as a delicacy.
GENERAL CHARACTERSTICS OF Porcupine : Hystrix
- Commonly called as porcupine and in Hindi Syahi.
- Body of the animal measures about 1 meter. Body divisible into head, neck, trunk or back, chest, abdomen and tail. Head contains snout.
- Unique and outstanding character of animal is the presence of long spines or quills which are modified hairs.
- Head contains a crest of black bristles eyes, nostrils and external ear.
- The spines on face and snout are short and stiff. The spines on back and lumber region are long backwardly directed and pointed.
- Forelimbs and hind limbs contain clawed fingers and toes respectively.
- Porcupine often attacks its enemies (dog, etc.) by erecting its spines which penetrate into the flesh of enemy.
- Porcupines’ colouration consists of various shades of brown, grey and white.
- Porcupines’ spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and Australian monotreme echidnas as well as tenrecid tenrecs.
Sometimes the animal rolls up in defence, and is harmful to crops of potato, carrots and cabbage.
Porcupines have soft hair, but on their back, sides, and tail it is usually mixed with sharp quills. These quills typically lie flat until a porcupine is threatened, then leap to attention as a persuasive deterrent. Porcupines cannot shoot them at predators as once thought, but the quills do detach easily when touched.
Many animals come away from a porcupine encounter with quills protruding from their own snouts or bodies. Quills have sharp tips and overlapping scales or barbs that make them difficult to remove once they are stuck in another animal’s skin. Porcupines grow new quills to replace the ones they lose.
Since this mammal has long still quills and above features, hence it is Porcupine or Hystrix.
- Book of Practical Zoology VERTEBRATE by S.S.LAL – Rastogi Publications.
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