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pangolin

pangolin (păng-gō´lĬn), armored, toothless mammal of tropical Asia and Africa. Pangolins range in length from 3 to 6 ft (90–180 cm) including the long, broad tail. Their snouts are narrow and pointed. The body is low to the ground and is covered with large, triangular, overlapping scales on the back, the sides, the outer sides of the limbs, and the entire tail. The belly is covered with sparse hair. When threatened, the animal rolls into a ball and erects the scales, points upward, so that it resembles a large pinecone. It also secretes a foul-smelling liquid. Pangolins, also called scaly anteaters, break open logs with their large, powerful claws and use their exceedingly long, slender tongues to lap up the insects on which they feed. Members of some species are tree dwellers and have prehensile, or grasping, tails; others are terrestrial. Pangolins are not closely related to any other living mammals, and their ancestry is not known, but it appears genetically related to the raccoon and giant panda. There are eight species, all of the genus Manis. Large numbers of pangolins are killed for their meat, scales, and skin, for local use in some cases and illegal export in others (in parts of Asia the meat is considered a delicacy and the scales are used in traditional medicines). All species are threatened, and several are endangered. Pangolins are classified as phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Pholidota, family Manidae.

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Manidae

Manidae (pangolins, scaly ant-eaters; cohort Unguiculata, order Pholidota) A family of animals which are similar superficially to the New World ant-eaters, to which they may be related distantly. Pangolins (or scaly ant-eaters) are nocturnal, insectivorous, terrestrial, or arboreal mammals up to 1.5 m long, lacking teeth, with elongated snouts, and tongues that are long, thin, and sticky. There are long claws on all five digits of each limb. The tail is long and prehensile in arboreal species. The dorsal surface of the body is covered with overlapping epidermal scales, and a manid will roll itself into a ball when threatened. The eyes and ears are small, the stomach simple. The brain is very small, the hemispheres folded. There is one genus, Manis, and several species, distributed throughout the Old World tropics except for Madagascar and Australia.

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pangolin

pan·go·lin / ˈpanggəlin; pangˈgōlin/ • n. a mammal (family Manidae) of Asia (genus Manis) and Africa (genus Phataginus) that has a body covered with horny overlapping scales, a small head with elongated snout, a long sticky tongue for catching ants and termites, and a thick, tapering tail. Also called scaly anteater.

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pangolin

pangolin (scaly anteater) Any of several species of toothless insectivorous mammals, covered with horny overlapping plates, that live in Asia and Africa. It has short, powerful forelegs with which it climbs trees and tears open the nests of tree ants, on which it feeds. Length: to 175cm (70in). Family Manidae; genus Manis.

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pangolin

pangolin scaly ant-eater. XVIII. — Malay pěngguling, f. pěng- (denominative element) + guling roll, with ref. to its habit of rolling itself up.

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pangolin

pangolin See MANIDAE.

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pangolin

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