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Myrmedil

One of few species of edentate group (Edentata, Xenarthra), survived in mass extinction. The descendant of a modern nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). This species of armadillos successfully moved in XX century to territory of USA and the common expansion of its living area have shown the big adaptive opportunities of this species. The euryphagy has made possible survival of this species after decrease of ecosystem efficiency. The shell anteater is the species specialized to feed by social insects. At lack of the basic forage animal eats soft plants, carrion and large soft-covered invertebrates, worms. Powerful shell and cornificate skin on a belly partly protects animal from stings of insects. The size of animal is about 40 cm, length of a tail – up to 50 cm, weight up to 10 kg. Jaws are weak, teeth numerous, but very small. Forepaws are armed with strong long claws (length up to 8 cm), intended for breaking and digging nests of social insects. The animal can move on two and on four paws. Being attacked by medium-sized predator, animal defends actively, making aggressive attacks by forepaws. Attacked by large predators it prefers to run away or quickly bury itself in the ground, but at absence of an opportunity to be rescued by a different way animal defends actively. Solitary animal, keeping activity in gloaming and on dawn. It prefers to hide in grass thickets at the afternoon, night spends in temporary holes. In the beginning of rain season the female gives birth to 2 or 4 cubs, always enzygotic twins. They are capable to follow mother after 4 hours after birth. Newborn cubs have soft shells hardening to the end of 1-st day of life. Sexual maturity is at the age of 3 years.

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