The ant hunter

The southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) is one of the two living species of lesser anteaters. Sometimes also called collared or vested anteaters, southern tamanduas have a very variable fur coloration pattern that can range from a complete or partial black vest to a fully golden or black in some individuals. The southern tamandua is distributed throughout most of tropical South America from the east of the Andes of Colombia and Venezuela to northern Uruguay and northern Argentina. Unlike giant anteaters that are fully terrestrial, southern anteaters are semi-arboreal and occupy a wide variety of habitats, such as open savannas, grasslands, rainforests and mangroves. Mainly nocturnal, their activity pattern also depends on the availability of ants and termites on which they almost exclusively feed, and which they hunt both on the ground and in trees.

Southern tamandua by Instituto Últimos Refúgios, [CC BY-NC], via inaturalist.org

In terms of conservation, the southern anteater is currently classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Although there are currently no major threats identified to this anteater species, it is hunted for meat in some portions of its range, sometimes killed by domestic dogs, more and more often sold as a pet species, and is frequently found as roadkill in some countries such as French Guiana. Moreover habitat loss and degradation, wildfires, and land use change represents a threat in some areas.


Today, we share a chromosome-length assembly for the southern anteater. This is a Hi-C upgrade to a draft genome hybrid assembly generated by combining Nanopore long reads with Illumina short reads by Rémi Allio, Frédéric Delsuc and team at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Université de Montpellier as part of the ConvergeAnt project. The original sample used for the initial draft assembly comes from a fresh roadkill individual found near Kourou (French Guiana) in 2018. The corresponding specimen (M3075) is part of the JAGUARS collection curated by Benoit de Thoisy (Institut Pasteur de Cayenne and Kwata NGO, French Guiana). The sample for the Hi-C upgrade was donated by Fiera from the Houston Zoo.


Check out the contact map for the southern anteater's 28 chromosomes below, and find more data and links related to this assembly on the corresponding assembly page!


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