Chinese Pangolin

32EFFA84-7E08-4F3C-9039-C920D849F861.jpegConservation status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Common name: Chinese Pangolin
Scientific name: Manis pentadactyla
Type: Mammal
Diet:   insects, particularly termites and ants
Length: 40~58 cm (Body), 25~38 cm (Tail)
Weight: 2~7 Kg (Matured)

The pangolin is a unique mammal that armors itself with scales made of keratin. Although its appearance resembles an armadillo or an anteater, it is in fact related to neither species.

I find it interesting that, even with striking similarities in appearance or diet, pangolins share no close evolutionary ties with anteaters or armadillos. It makes me wonder what kind of selective pressures would have forced two different animals living in completely different places to evolve the same traits.

It is unfortunate, however, that we might not have enough time to answer such questions. Due to high demands for pangolin skin and scales in the black market, these scaled creatures have become the most trafficked mammal in the world. It seems like more effort and attention is needed for pangolin conservation efforts.

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References:

  1. Shepherd, Chris R. (2012). A Naturalist’s Guide to the Mammals of Southeast Asia. Wiltshire, UK: John Beaufoy Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-906780-71-5.
  2.  Challender, D.; Baillie, J.; Ades, G.; Kaspal, P.; Chan, B.; Khatiwada, A.; Xu, L.; Chin, S.; KC, R.; Nash, H.; et al. (2014). “Manis pentadactyla“. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2014: e.T12764A45222544. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-2.RLTS.T12764A45222544.en
  3. http://www.edgeofexistence.org/species/chinese-pangolin/#overview, Wikipedia.com

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