Anteater is a common name for the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingua (meaning “worm tongue”) commonly known for eating ants and termites. The individual species have other names in English and other languages. Together with the sloths, they compose the order Pilosa. The name “anteater” is also colloquially applied to the unrelated aardvark, numbat, echidnas, pangolins and some members of the Oecobiidae.
Extant species include the giant anteater Myrmecophaga tridactyla, about 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) long including the tail; the silky anteater Cyclopes didactylus, about 35 cm (14 in) long; the southern tamandua or collared anteater Tamandua tetradactyla, about 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) long; and the northern tamandua Tamandua mexicana of similar dimensions.
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