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Erethizontidae (New World porcupines; order Rodentita, suborder Hystricomorpha) A family of arboreal rodents in which some hairs are modified to form barbed spines. The body is thickset, the legs short, and long claws are borne on each of the four digits of all limbs. First digits are reduced. In the tree porcupines (Coendou) the tail is prehensile. Porcupines are distributed widely throughout N. America and tropical S. America.