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      Clinical Manifestation, Histopathology, and Imaging of Traumatic Injuries Caused by Brazilian Porcupine (Sphiggurus villosus) Quills

      Case Reports in Dermatological Medicine

      Hindawi Limited

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          Abstract

          Injuries to humans caused by porcupines are rare. However, they may occur due to the proximity of urban areas and the animal’s habitat in areas such as the Floresta da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro. Outdoor sports and leisure activities in areas close to forests or in the rain forest are also relevant for incidents of this kind and a better knowledge of the local forest fauna would prevent such undesirable accidents. Porcupine quills have microscopic barbs at their tips which facilitate skin penetration, but hampering their removal. Once the spines are lodged in tissue, the microscopic backward-facing deployable barbs at the tips cause trauma if anyone tries to remove them. Local haemorrhage and an inflammatory response to the contaminated foreign body occur. Depending on the time lapse in removing the spines either septic or sterile foreign body reactions may occur. There is also the risk of migration of the spines, where fatal cases have been reported in human and veterinary medicine. Herein we report two unusual cases of accidents involving humans and the South American porcupine. The Sphiggurus villosus spines removed from scalp skin were also documented through Scanning Electron Microscopy.

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          Most cited references 12

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          Microstructured barbs on the North American porcupine quill enable easy tissue penetration and difficult removal.

           W K Cho,  J. Ankrum,  D. Guo (2012)
          North American porcupines are well known for their specialized hairs, or quills that feature microscopic backward-facing deployable barbs that are used in self-defense. Herein we show that the natural quill's geometry enables easy penetration and high tissue adhesion where the barbs specifically contribute to adhesion and unexpectedly, dramatically reduce the force required to penetrate tissue. Reduced penetration force is achieved by topography that appears to create stress concentrations along regions of the quill where the cross sectional diameter grows rapidly, facilitating cutting of the tissue. Barbs located near the first geometrical transition zone exhibit the most substantial impact on minimizing the force required for penetration. Barbs at the tip of the quill independently exhibit the greatest impact on tissue adhesion force and the cooperation between barbs in the 0-2 mm and 2-4 mm regions appears critical to enhance tissue adhesion force. The dual functions of barbs were reproduced with replica molded synthetic polyurethane quills. These findings should serve as the basis for the development of bio-inspired devices such as tissue adhesives or needles, trocars, and vascular tunnelers where minimizing the penetration force is important to prevent collateral damage.
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            Geographic variation in hairy dwarf porcupines of Coendou from eastern Brazil (Mammalia: Erethizontidae)

            We evaluated geographic variation in New World porcupines of Coendou (Erethizontidae) from eastern Brazil by analyzing morphological data from museum specimens we identified as Coendou insidiosus and C. spinosus. Coendou insidiosus ranges from the states of Bahia to Espírito Santo, reaching the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil; C. spinosus extends from the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo to the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil, extending into Paraguay, Uruguay, and northeastern Argentina. Our results indicate that there are three spatially coherent, morphologically distinct groups, which can be diagnosed using a combination of discrete morphological characters, and which are supported by univariate and multivariate statistical analyses. We classified members of the Northern group as C. insidiosus, which usually have several pale to light-brown unicolor thin hairs covering the dorsal and lateral quills. They are cranially and externally smaller than the other two groups, and have shorter hairs and quills. Specimens of the Central group are intermediate in terms of body size, and fit the description of C. spinosus, which have thick hairs covering the dorsal and lateral quills. These hairs are dark-brown at the base, and grayish, orange, yellow or light brown at the tip. The Southern group has the largest size and we classified it as a geographic variant of C. spinosus based on the conspicuous presence of large quills on the dorsal surface, which vary from yellowish or orange to blackish.
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              Sphiggurus vestitus pruinosus(Mammalia Rodentia Erethizontidae) The Karyotype and its Phylogenetic Implications Descriptive Notes

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1155/2016/7851986

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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