Silky Anteater

How it Works

            Cyclopes didactylus is the smallest of the anteaters as it is usually thirty five to forty five centimeters long including a tail that is normally seventeen to twenty four centimeters long. The tail of Cyclopes didactylus is naked on the underside of it, which helps it grasp the branches as it moves (EDGE of Existence 2014). It has an average weight between 175 grams to 400 grams and usually is a yellow color with a broad, dark stripe across either its front or back (Hayssen et al 2012). Cyclopes didactylus resembles the seed pods in the trees which provides excellent (Schober 1999). This protection is needed due to its predators having excellent vision. (Schober 1999) Their rib cage is made up of broad flat ribs that interlock to form a solid armor across their chest (Hayssen et al 2012). Cyclopes didactylus has a total of five toes where two of them have claws. One of the claws is present on the second toe and is very strong and hook-like while the claw on the third toe is the same size, but much more slender than the first (Hayssen et al 2012). The fourth toe is small and has no claw while the other two toes are vestigial or absent and not visible externally (Hayssen et al 2012). The mouth of Cyclopes didactylus is long and tapered, like the other anteaters (EDGE of Existence 2014). Their tong is long, has spines on it, and is covered in sticky saliva to help catch the ants and termites it eats (EDGE of Existence 2014).

            Cyclopes didactylus is not normally an offensive animal as it is very slow-moving (Schober 1999). However, when it gets defensive, it curls its tail around the branch it is on and uses it hind legs to grasp the branch (Schober 1999). Once it has done this, it puts its front paws up to its face and sits in an attack ready position, ready to strike with its sharp claws (Schober 1999). Once it is in this position, it sways from side to side, waiting for another attack (Hayssen et al 2012). If it is touched or the branch moves while it is in this pose, it brings both front claws down on the object, whether that be the branch or a predator, with surprising force (Hayssen et al 2012).

            When moving on the branches, Cyclopes didactylus grips its front claws around the branch while its pad rests on top of the branch and its back claws grip around the branch chameleon-like (Hayssen et al 2012). When Cyclopes didactylus is trying to obtain food, it gets perpendicular to the branch it wants to eat from and then strikes the branch with its front claws (Hayssen et al 2012). Once the branch has been pierced, Cyclopes didactylus uses its tongue to fish out the ant brood in the stem (Hayssen et al 2012).

            The bone structure in the skull of Cyclopes didactylus is very different than that of its other family members. The skull is short and broad with a moderate nose that is slender and shorter than the braincase (Hayssen et al 2012). The skull is arched considerably in the longitudinal direction and it also differs from the family by having a long canal for posterior bony nostril openings that are not closed by bone (Hayssen et al 2012). Cyclopes didactylus’s pterygoids do not meet in the middle line (Hayssen et al 2012). The jugual has been lost and is replaced by the small, fragile bone septomaxilla when can be found near the naris (Palaeos). The lateral sides of the malleus are slightly convex on the lateral sides and they come together at the anterior to form a spine (Hayssen et al 2012). The snout of Cyclopes didactylus is about fifty percent of the length of the skull and Cyclopes didactylus has no teeth (Hayssen et al 2012).

            The tibia in Cyclopes didactylus has a flattened shaft and the femur lacks a distinct third trochanter (Hayssen et al 2012). In the spine of C. didactylus, it has four sacral vertebrae, three of which articulate with the ilium and the fourth has no connection to the pelvis (Hayssen et al 2012). The first candal vertebrae articulates with the ischium and the middle and posterior vertebra have bifurcate transverse processes (Hayssen et al 2012). This means that they divide into two parts that attach to ligaments and muscles (Diab 1999).

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