Family Suidae: Pigs
The species that make up the family Suidae are known as the pigs. All species in this family originated in Old World Europe, Africa, and Asia. New World pigs, such as the peccaries, belong to a different family. The following thumbnails represent the 19 species in the family.
The pigs that most people are familiar with are the domesticated pigs. Almost all of these pigs were domesticated from Sus scrofa, otherwise known as the wild boar. A few studies have indicated that other pigs were domesticated as well.
Domesticated pigs live on farms with people. Farmers have had the chance to learn a lot about the pig. They have a reputation for being smart animals. However, it has only been recently that scientists are learning quite how smart they are. In fact, depending on how the animals are tested, many think pigs are smarter than dogs.
Physiologically, pigs are impressive beasts. They grow extremely fast; in less than one year a domestic pig may weigh more than 300 pounds and already be sexually mature (full-grown domesticated pigs can weigh over 2000 pounds). Females can breed litters of 12 or more, twice a year. This simple fact alone is part of the problem with the spread of feral pigs. Additionally, pigs are robust. Their skeleton is strong and their tusks are long. The image below shows a wild boar from an early british guide to mammals. Notice the size of the skull and the long tusks.
This website focusses only on the 19 species of living (Old World) pigs. The list of extinct taxa is long and has been excluded here.
- Babyrousa babyrussa – Golden Babirusa
- Babyrousa celebensis – Sulawesi Babirusa
- Babyrousa togeanensis – Togian Babirusa
- Hylochoerus meinertzhageni – Giant Forest Hog
- Phacochoerus aethiopicus – Cape, Somali or Desert Warthog
- Phacochoerus africanus – Common Warthog
- Porcula salvania – Pygmy Hog
- Potamochoerus larvatus – Bushpig
- Potamochoerus porcus – Red River Hog
- Sus ahoenobarbus – Palawan Bearded Pig
- Sus barbatus – Bearded Pig
- Sus bucculentus – Vietnamese Warty Pig
- Sus cebifrons – Visayan Warty Pig
- Sus celebensis – Celebes Warty Pig
- Sus heureni – Flores Warty Pig
- Sus oliveri – Mindoro Warty Pig
- Sus philippensis – Philippine Warty Pig
- Sus scrofa – Wild Boar, Domestic Pig
- Sus verrucosus – Javan Warty Pig
The above phylogenetic tree is based on genetic studies of the domestic pig.
- Epstein J, Bichard M. Pig. In: (ed.) Mason IL. Evolution of Domesticated Animals. New York: Longman. 1986:145-162
- Lucchini, V., E. Meijaard, C. H. Diong, C. P. Groves, and E. Randi. 2005. New phylogenetic perspectives among species of South-east Asian wild pig (Sus sp.) based on mtDNA sequences and morphometric data. Journal of Zoology; 266: 25-35