About 20 species have been described; these are placed in 8 genera. About half of species, however, are probably extinct. Capromyids are found on the islands of the West Indies, reaching their greatest diversity on Cuba.
These rodents range in size from rat-like to large, with the largest weighing up to around 7 kg. They resemble nutrias (Myocastoridae) and are sometimes placed in that family. Their bodies are stout and strong, their heads large, and their tails vary from practically nonexistent to long and prehensile. The legs are short, and the feet are plantigrade and have 5 toes. The claws are strong and curved in most species. The pelage of capromyids is thick but varies considerably in color and texture.
The skulls of capromyids resemble those of nutrias. They are hystricomorphous and hystricognathus, strongly built and heavily ridged. The rostrum is short; a sagittal crest is often present. The zygomatic arches are broad and robust. The infraorbital canal is large and without an accessory groove or canal for the passage of nerves to the face. The jugal does not contact the lacrimal. The bullae are not enlarged, and the paroccipital processes are intermediate to long in length. On the lower jaw, the angular and coronoid processes vary considerably in size, but the coronoid process is usually prominent.
The dental formula of members of this family is 1/1, 0/0, 1/1, 3/3 =20, but the deciduous premolars are not shed. The cheekteeth of capromyids are similar to those of nutria. They are hypsodont and flatcrowned, with re-entrant folds that vary among species in number and tendency to be isolated as islands.
Some capromyids are terrestrial, others are partly arboreal. Diets vary among species; most feed primarily on vegetation, but some include invertebrates and even lizards when they can get them. They do not dig burrows, but usually reside in hollow trees or rock crevices. A few species are common to the point of being agricultural pests, but many are endangered or their status is unknown.
Families of Order Rodentia Suborder Sciurognathi Family Aplodontidae (mountain beaver, sewellel) Family Sciuridae (squirrels) Family Castoridae (beavers) Family Geomyidae (pocket gophers) Family Heteromyidae (kangaroo rats, pocket mice, and allies) Family Dipodidae (birch mice, jumping mice, jerboas) Family Muridae (familiar rates and other rodents) Family Anomaluridae (scaly-tailed squirrels) Family Pedetidae (spring hare, springhaas) Family Ctenodactylidae (gundis) Family Myoxidae (dormice and hazel mice) Suborder Hystricognathi Family Bathyergidae (mole rats, blesmols, and rats) Family Hystricidae (Old World porcupines) Family Petromuridae (rock rat or dassie rat) Family Thryonomyidae (cane rats or grasscutters) Family Erethizontidae (New World porcupines) Family Chinchillidae (Chinchillas and viscachas) Family Dinomyidae (pacarana, branick rats, false paca) Family Caviidae (cavies and guinea pigs) Family Hydrochaeridae (capybara) Family Dasyproctidae (agoutis, acouchis) Family Agoutidae (pacas) Family Ctenomyidae (tuco-tucos) Family Octodontidae (degus, coruros, rock rats) Family Abrocomidae (chinchilla rats, chinchillones) Family Echimyidae (spiny rats) Family Capromyidae (hutias, zagouties, cavies, Indian coneys) Family Heptaxodontidae (Quemi, giant hutias) Family Myocastoridae (nutria, coypu)
<<<<<<<>>>>>>>ARTIODACTYLA CARNIVORA CETACEA CHIROPTERA DASYUROMORPHIA DERMOPTERA DIDELPHIMORPHI DIPROTODONTIA HYRACOIDEA INSECTIVORA LAGOMORPHA MACROSCELIDEA MICROBIOTHERIA MONOTREMATA NOTORYCTEMORPHIA PAUCITUBERCULATA PERAMELEMORPHIA PERISSODACTYLA PHOLIDOTA PRIMATES PROBOSCIDEA RODENTIA SCANDENTIA SIRENIA TUBULIDENTATA XENARTHRA