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Nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Nine-banded armadillo foetuses in spirit, collected in South America

Nine-banded armadillo foetuses in spirit, collected in South America

This is a jar containing two foetuses of nine-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus. They were donated to the museum in 1875 by Nicol Anderson, along with various other specimens from South America. At this time, the museum (then in the old Kelvingrove House) had only been open for five years and was acquiring a wide variety of objects from all over the world. These specimens were attractive and interesting to look at, being mounted on blue glass, as well as being of interest from the natural history point of view.

When nine-banded armadillos breed, a single egg is fertilized, but does not start to develop for three to four months to ensure the young will not be born until the spring. The fertilized egg then splits into four identical embryos, which develop independently, so that quadruplets are normally born.

Nine-banded armadillos reach sexual maturity at one year of age and reproduce every year for the rest of their twelve to fifteen year lifespan. A single female can therefore produce up to 56 young over the course of her life.

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