Geocapromys thoracatus True, 1888:469

Little Swan Island hutia, Swan Island hutia



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Geocapromys brownii thoracatus True, 1888


Conservation Status


Last record: 1955 (Fisher & Blomberg, 2012; Lee et al., 2017)

IUCN status: Extinct


It has been conjectured that a severe hurricane in 1955, followed by the introduction feral cats shortly thereafter drove this species extinct.



Little Swan Island, Honduras


Biology & Ecology




MCZ 8435 (skull minus lower jaw; sex unspecified)

MCZ 12816 (skin and skeleton; male)

MCZ 12817(skin and skeleton; male)

MCZ 12818 (skin and skeleton; male)

MCZ 12819 (skin and skeleton; female)

MCZ 12821 (skin and skeleton; male)

MCZ 14410 (skin; male)

MCZ 14535 (skeleton; sex unspecified)

MCZ 27882 (skeleton; sex unspecified)

MCZ 34846 (skeleton; sex unspecified)






Original scientific description:

True, F. W. (1888). On the mammals collected in eastern Honduras in 1887 by Mr. Charles Townsend, with a description of a new subspecies of Capromys from Little Swan Island. Proc. U. S. Natl. Mus. 11: 469-472.


Other references:

Borroto-Páez, Rafael, Mancina, Carlos A., Woods, Charles A. and Kilpatrick, C. William. (2012). Checklist: Updated Checklist of Endemic Terrestrial Mammals of the West Indies, pp. 389-415. In: Borroto-Páez, Rafael, Woods, Charles A. and Sergile, F. E. (eds.). Terrestrial Mammals of the West Indies: Contributions. Gainesville, Florida: Florida Museum of Natural History and Wacahoota Press. 482 pp.

Clough, Garrett C. (1975). Project 1169. Hutia status survey on Little Swan Island and Jamaica. In: Jackson, P. (ed.). World Wildlife Yearbook 1974-75. Switzerland: WWF.

Clough, Garrett C. (1976). Current status of two endangered Caribbean rodents. Biol. Conserv. 10(1): 43-47. [Abstract]

Fisher, Diana O. and Blomberg, Simon P. (2012). Inferring Extinction of Mammals from Sighting Records, Threats, and Biological Traits. Conservation Biology 26(1): 57-67.

Freudenthal, M. and Martín-Suárez, E. (2013). Estimating body mass of fossil rodents. Scripta Geologica 145: 1-130. [0.850-1.514 kg estimate]

Hall, E. R. 1981. The mammals of North America. Second ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1:1-600 + 90, 2:601-1181 + 90.

Joslin, Paul and Maryanka, Daphne. (1968). Endangered Mammals of the World: Report on Status and Action Treatment. IUCN Publications, New Series, Supplementary Paper No. 13: 34 pp.

Lee, T. E., Fisher, D. O., Blomberg, S. P. and Wintle, B. A. (2017). Extinct or still out there? Disentangling influences on extinction and rediscovery helps to clarify the fate of species on the edge. Global Change Biology 23(2): 621-634.

Mohr, E. (1939). Die Baum- und Ferkelratten- Gattungen Capromys Desmarest (sens. ampl.) und Plagiodontia Cuvier. Mitteilungen aus dem Hamburgischen Museum und Institut (Hamburg) 48: 48-118.

Morgan, Gary S. (1985). Taxonomic status and relationships of the Swan Island Hutia, Geocapromys thoracatus (Mammalia: Rodentia: Capromyidae), and the zoogeography of the Swan Islands vertebrate fauna. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 98(1): 29-46.

Morgan, Gary S. (1989). Geocapromys thoracatus. Mammalian Species 341: 1-5.

Moyne, W. E. G. (1938). Atlantic Circle. London and Glasgow: Blackie & Sons Ltd. [contains a photograph of this species, caught in 1937]

Smith, F.A., Lyons, S.K, Morgan Ernest, S.K, Jones, K.E., Kaufman, D.M., Dayan, T., Marquet, P.A., Brown, J.H. & Haskell, J.P. (2003). Body mass of late Quaternary mammals. Ecology, 84: 3403. [Ecological Archives E084-094]

Thornback, Jane and Jenkins, Martin (compilers). (1982). The IUCN Mammal Red Data Book. Part 1: Threatened Mammalian Taxa of the Americas and the Australasian Zoogeographic Region (Excluding Cetacea). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 516 pp.

Tonge, Simon. (2014). Additions to the Hypodigm of the Extinct Swan Island Hutia (Geocapromys thoracatus, Capromyidae; Rodentia). Caribbean Journal of Science 48(1): 63-65. [Abstract]

Turvey, Samuel T. (2009). Holocene mammal extinctions, pp. 41-61. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Turvey, Samuel T. and Fritz, Susanne A. (2011). The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366(1577): 2564-2576. [Supplementary Information]

Turvey, S. and Helgen, K. (2008). Geocapromys thoracatus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 09 October 2011.

Turvey, S.T. & Helgen, K. 2018. Geocapromys thoracatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T9003A22186735. Accessed on 18 June 2022.

Varona, L. S. 1974. Catálogo de los mamíferos vivientes y extinguidos de las Antillas. Instituto de Zoologia, Academia de Ciencias de Cuba (Havana), 139 pp.


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