Tapirs, Tapirus spp.
May 2009
(minor update December 2013)

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TAXONOMY & NOMENCLATURE
(Ashley et al. 1996; Eberle 2005; Cozzuol et al. 2013; Fradrich and Thenius 1972; IUCN 2009; McKenna and Bell 1997; Wilson and Reeder 2005)

Describer (Date): Family Describer: Gray (1821) London Med. Repos., 15:306
                           Genus Describer: Brisson (1762) Regnum Animale, 2nd ed., pp 12, 81

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
        Class: Mammalia
             Order: Perissodactyla Odd-toed ungulates
                    Family: Equidae (horses, zebras and asses)
                    Family: Rhinocerotidae (rhinoceroses)
                    Family: Tapiridae (tapirs) (Gray, 1821)
                           Genus: Tapirus (Brisson, 1762)
                                  Species: Tapirus indicus (Desmarest, 1819) - Malayan / Asian tapir
                                  Species: Tapirus bairdii (Gill, 1865) - Baird’s tapir
                                  Species: Tapirus pinchaque (Roulin, 1829) - Mountain/Andean tapir
                                  Species: Tapirus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758) - Lowland / Brazilian taper
                                  Species: Tapirus kabomani (Cozzuol et al., 2013)

Taxonomic History and Nomenclature Phylogeny

DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT
(Cozzuol et al. 2013; Eisenberg, 1997; IUCN 2009)

Distribution



Habitat:

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
(Cozzuol et al. 2013; Eisenberg et al 1990; Fradrich and Thenius 1972; Witmer 1999)
ARKive video - Baird's tapir feeding on riverside foliage and searching underwater for aquatic plants
Note the flexible nose and ears tipped with white; characteristics shared by all tapir species.
Image credit: San Diego Zoo Global

Body Weight: 396 to 800 pounds. (180 to 365 kg) Lowland – Malayan
Body Length: 6.5 ft (2 meters)
Shoulder Height: 4 ft (1.2 meters)
Tail Length: 2-5 in (5-10 cm) small and stubby

General Sexual Dimorphism Distinctive Characteristics

Malayan Tapir

Baird's Tapir

Lowland tapir
Image credit: Katherine_Davis on Flickr

Mountain Tapir

Common tapir characteristics include a large body size, short legs, a flexible proboscis (nose), and rounded ears with white tips. Note the differences in adult pelage (coat) color for four species.



BEHAVIOR & ECOLOGY
(Barongi 1993; Eisenberg 1997; Olmos 1997; Terwilliger 1978; Todd and Matola 2001)


Activity Cycle Social Grouping
Territory/Home Range       Defensive Behavior       Aggression       Communication

      Vocalizations       Olfaction       Hearing Locomotion Interspecies Interaction

DIET & FEEDING
(Olmos, 1999; Witmer et al 1999)


REPRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
(Eisenberg et al. 1990; Janssen et al 1999; Todd and Matola 2001)

Courtship Reproduction Gestation Life Stages
      Birth       Infant (< 1 year old)         Subadult       Adult Longevity

MANAGED CARE
(AZA 2011; AZA 2013; ISIS; Barongi 1993; Todd and Matola 2001)


POPULATION AND CONSERVATION STATUS
(IUCN, 2008)

Population Status Conservation Threats to survival
Important Web Resources:

©2009 San Diego Zoo Global. Minor revisions in 2013. Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to library@sandiegozoo.org.


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