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(vertebrate zoology)
An order of mammals comprising the living pangolins and their fossil predecessors; characterized by an elongate tubular skull with no teeth, a long protrusive tongue, strong legs, and five-toed feet with large claws.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(pangolins), an order of mammals. The animals have a body length of 30-88 cm, a tail length of 30-88 cm, and a weight of 4.5-27 kg. They form an extremely distinctive and specialized group that shares several traits with the Edentata. Most of the body is covered with large, horny, rhomboid scales that overlap one another. The snout, abdomen, underparts, and inner surfaces of the legs are covered with short coarse hair. The coloration is grayish brown. The limbs have five-clawed digits adapted for digging. The snout is elongated, and the mouth is small. The animals have very few teeth or none at all. The tongue is 25 cm long and is coated with a sticky mucus, and the stomach is coated with a keratinous epithelium. A fold with hornlike teeth retracts into the stomach cavity.

The single genus, Manis, comprises seven species. Four species are distributed in equatorial and southern Africa, and the remaining three are found in Southeast Asia. Pangolins inhabit open areas and tropical forests and are terrestrial and arboreal animals. They emerge at night, hiding by day in burrows, tree hollows, and treetops. Their movements are sluggish, and, when alarmed, the animals curl into a ball. Pangolins feed on ants and termites. There is one litter annually, containing one to three offspring.

There are fossil remains from the Neogene in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Pangolins are hunted for their meat and for their scales, to which healing properties are attributed. Their numbers are small everywhere.


Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Panda, "Distribution of Indian pangolin Manis crassicaudata Gray (Pholidota, Manidae) in Orissa: a rescue prospective," Small Mammal Mail, vol.
Armadillos, sloths, anteaters and pangolins: orders Edentata and Pholidota, p.
Relatively complete developmental series of five eutherians, Mus musculus (Rodentia), Felis domestica (Carnivora), Sus scrofa (Artiodactyla), Manis javanica (Pholidota), and Tupaia javanica (Scandentia), and four metatherians, Monodelphis domestica (Didelphidae), Macropus eugenii (Macropodidae), Dasyurus viverrinus (Dasyuridae), and Perameles nasuta (Peramelidae) were examined.
The orders include Insectivora, Scandentia, Chiroptera, Pholidota, Primates, Rodentia, Lagomorpha, Creodonta, Carnivora, Tubulidentata, Proboscidea, Artiodactyla, and Perissodactyla.
Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica) belong to the mammalian order Pholidota and are one of eight extant species of pangolin (Nowak 1991, Corbet & Hill 1992, Gaubert & Antunes 2005).
A North American Oligocene pangolin and other additions to the Pholidota. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 142: 456-510.
cordifolia, Oberonia myosurus, Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum, Panisea calalerei, Pholidota yunnanensis, and Vanilla siamensis.