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Echimyidae (spiny rats; order Rodentia, suborder Hystricomorpha) A family of ground-dwelling, burrowing rodents, some of which are arboreal and others semi-aquatic. The legs are long, the first digit of the fore limb is rudimentary, the hind limb is pentadactyl. The hair tends to be spiny. Echimyidae are distributed throughout tropical S. America. There are 14 genera, with about 43 species.