It is the type of the family Octodontidae, the members of which - collectively termed octodonts - are exclusively Central and South American.
The teats vary in number from a single abdominal pair in the guinea-pig to six thoracico-abdominal pairs in the rats; while in the Octodontidae and Capromyidae they are placed high up on the sides of the body.
The Octodontidae, which are exclusively South American, differ from the preceding family by the tympanic bulla being filled with cellular bony tissue, and by the par-occipital process curving beneath it, while the cheek-teeth are almost or completely rootless and composed of parallel plates.
Of the remaining families of the Simplicidentata, all are southern, the cavies (Caviidae), chinchillas (Chinchillidae), and degus (Octodontidae) being Central and South American, while the Capromyidae are common to southern America and Africa, and the Ctenodactylidae are exclusively African.
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