Mammal Orders & Families Of The World (Big Checklist)

This checklist of mammal orders and families is derived from several sources. In some cases, there is disagreement among the experts on the exact number of species. In cases like this, I have put the alternative values together separated by a slash (as in the Didelphidae below).

However, it should be noted I do not have access to the most up-to-date data and this list should be considered to be about 10 years old.

Checklist Of Mammal Orders and Families

Order Common Names Scientific Name No. Genera No. Species IUCN Distribution
Monotremata Echidnas Tachyglossidae 1 2   Australia
  Platypus Ornithorhynchidae 1 1   Australia
Marsupiala Opossums Didelphidae 11 75/77   Americas
  Monito del monte Microbiotheriidae 1 1   Chile
  Shrew or Rat Opossums Caenolestidae 44622 7   South America
  Marsupial Mice, Dunnarts, Tasmanian Devil Dasyuridae 17/18 52/58   Australasia
  Tasmanian Wolf Thylacinidae 1 1 1 Tasmania
  Numbats/Banded Anteaters Myrmecobiidae 1 1 1 Australia
  Marsupial mole Notoryctidae 1 1   Western Australia
  Bandicoots Peramelidae 7 17/21   Australasia
  Rabbit-eared Bandicoots Thylacomyidae 1 2   Australia
  Possums, Cuscuses, Gledero, Ringtails Phalangeridae 6 20   Australasia
  Pygmy possums Burramyidae 4 7   Australia, New Guinea
  Ringtail possums Pseudocheiridae 2 16   Australia
  Gliders Petauridae 4 9   Australia
  Kangaroos, Wallabies Macropodidae 16 56   Australasia
  Koalas Phascolarctidae 1 1   Australia
  Wombats Vombatidae 2 3   Australia
  Noolbenger or Honey Possum Tarsipedidae 1 1   Australia
Macroscelidea Elephant Shrews Macroscelididae 4 15   Africa
Insectivora Hedgehogs, Gymnures Erinaceidae 9 20   Africa, Asia, Europe
  Moles and Desmans Talpidae 12/15 29/32   Eurasia, North America, Himalayas
  Tenrecs Tenrecidae 10 23   Africa
  Golden Moles Chrysochloridae 7 18   Africa
  Solenodons Solenodontidae 1 2   West Indies
  Shrews Soricidae 22 289   Worldwide
Dermoptera Flying Lemurs, Colugos Cynocephalidae 1 2   South-east Asia
Chiroptera Old World Fruit Bats, Flying Foxes Pteropodidae 42 173 66 Africa to India, Australia Asia
  Mouse-tailed Bats Rhinopomatidae 1 3   North Africa, South Asia
  Hog-nosed Bat Craseonycteridae 1 1   Thailand
  Sac-winged Bats, Sheath-tailed Bats Emballonuridae 12 48   Pan-tropical
  Bull-dog Bats, Fish-eating Bats Noctilionidae 1 2   Central and South America
  Hollow-faced Bats Nycteridae 1 13   Africa, Near East, South-east Asia
  False Vampire Bats, Yellow-winged Bats Megadermatidae 4 5   Africa, South-east Asia, Pacific, Australia
  Horseshoe Bats, Noseleaf Bats Rhinolophidae 1 69   Old World and Pacific
  Leaf-nosed Bats Hipposideridae 9 63   Old World and Pacific
  New World Leaf-nosed Bats Phyllostomidae 48 148   Americas
  Moustached Bats, Naked-backed Bats, Leaf-chinned Bats Mormoopidae 2 8   Americas
  Funnel-eared Bats Natalidae 1 5   Tropical Central and South America
  Smokey Bats Furipteridae 1 1   South America
  Disc-winged Bats Thyropteridae 1 2   Central to South America
  Sucker-footed Bats Myzopodidae 1 1   Madagascar
  Common Bats Vespertilionidae 42 355   Worldwide
  Short-tailed Bats Mystacinidae 1 2   New Zealand
  Free-tailed Bats Molossidae 16 86   Worldwide (warm areas)
Primates Lemurs Lemuridae 5 12   Madagascar
  Dwarf Lemurs, Mouse Lemurs Cheirogaleidae 44685 7   Madagascar
  Sifakas, Indri, Woolly Lemurs Indridae 3 5   Madagascar
  Aye-aye Daubentoniidae 1 1   Madagascar
  Weasel Lemurs, Koala Lemurs Megaladapidae 1 10   Madagascar
  Galagos Galagonidae 4 11   Africa
  Lorises, Pottoes Lorisidae 8 14   Tropical Old World
  Tarsiers Tarsiidae 1 4   Sumatra, Philippines
  New World Monkeys Cebidae 12 44   Central to South America
  Marmosets, Tamarins Callitrichidae 5 20/21   Central to South America
  Old World Monkeys Cercopithecidae 19 94   Africa and Eurasia
  Orangutans Ponginae 1 1   Sumatra, Borneo
  Gibbons Hylobatidae 1 9   S.E. Asia
  Humans, Great Apes Hominidae*0 4 5   Worldwide
Scandentia Tree Shrews Tupaiidae 6 18   South-east Asia
Xenarthra *1 Anteaters Myrmecophagidae 3 4   Central and South America
  Sloths Bradypodidae 2 6   Central and South America
  Armadillos Dasypodidae 8 20   The Americas
  West Indian Sloth and Two-toed Tree Sloth Megalonychidae 1 2   The Americas
  Three-toed Tree Sloths Bradypodidae 1 3   South America
Pholidota Pangolins, Scaly Anteaters Manidae 1 8   Africa, South East Asia
Tubulidentata Aardvark Orycteropodidae 1 1   Africa
Lagomorpha Pikas Ochotonidae 1 21   North America, Europe, Asia
  Hares and Rabbits Leporidae 11 47   Worldwide, since man-made introductions
Rodentia Mountain Beaver, Sewellel Aplodontidae 1 1   North America
  Beavers Castoridae 1 2   Europe and North America
  Squirrels, Chipmonks, Marmots, Prarie Dogs etc Sciuridae 49/50 260/267   Worldwide except Australia, S. America and Madagascar
  Scaly-tailed Squirrels Anomaluridae 3 7   Africa
  Spring Hares Pedetidae 1 1   Africa
  Rats, Mice, Voles, Gerbils, Hamsters, etc Muridae 245/267 1138   Worldwide following introductions to Australasia
  Dormice Gliridae 9 20   Africa, Asia, Europe
  Bamboo Rats, African Mole Rats Rhizomyidae 3 6   Africa, South East Asia
  Birch Mice, Jumping Mice Zapodidae 4 17   North America, Eurasia
  Jerboas Dipodidae 11 31   North Africa, Arabia, Asia Minor, China
  Pocket Mice, Kangaroo Rats Heteromyidae 6 65   America
  Pocket Gophers Geomyidae 6 37   America
  Blind Mole Rats Spalacidae*2 1 3   Europe
  Old World Porcupines Hystricidae 4 12   Africa, Europe, Asia, Philippines
  New World Porcupines Erethizontidae 4 10   America
  Guinea Pigs, etc Caviidae 5 17   South America
  Capybara Hydrochaeridae 1 1   South America
  Coypu Myocastoridae*3 1 1   South America and introduced to other parts of the world
  Hutias, Nutria Capromyidae*4 4 13   Central and South America
  Pacarana Dinomyidae 1 1   South America
  Pacas Agoutidae 1 2   Central and South America
  Agoutis, Dasyproctidae 2 13   Central and South America
  Chinchilla Rats Abrocomidae 1 2   South America
  Spiny Rats Echimyidae 17 69   South America
  Chinchillas, Viscachas Chinchillidae 3 6   Argentina
  Octodonts, Degu Octodontidae 5 9   South America
  Tuco Tucos Ctenomyidae 1 44   South America
  Cane Rats, Grasscutters Thryonomyidae 1 2   Southern Africa
  Dassie Rat Petromyidae 1 1   South Africa
  Old World Porcupines Hystricidae 3 11   Africa and Eurasia
  Agoutis Dasypractidae 2 9   Central and South America
  Gundis Ctenodactylidae 4 5   N. Africa
  Blesmols, African Mole Rats Bathyergidae 5 8   Africa
Carnivora Dogs, Wolves, Foxes, Jackals Canidae 16 36*5   Worldwide
  Bears Ursidae 3 8   Worldwide except Australia
  Racoons, etc Procyonidae 7 19   America and parts of Asia
  Weasels, Otters, Skunks, Badgers Mustelidae 23 65/67   Worldwide except Australasia and the West Indies
  Mongooses, Civets, Genets, etc Viverridae 36/37 71   Eurasia, Africa and the East Indies
  Hyena, Aardwolf Hyaenidae 3 4   Africa, Asia, India
  Cats Felidae 17 36 17 Worldwide except in Australia and many Islands
Pinnipedia Eared Seals, Sea Lions Otariidae 7 14   Worldwide except Europe
  Walrus Odobenidae 1 1   Arctic Regions of the Atlantic, and the Pacific
  Seals Phocidae 10 19   In most seas/oceans, Lake Baikal
Cetacea Ganges and Indus Dolphins Platanistidae 1 2   Rivers – Indian subcontinent
  Boutos, Amazon River Dolphins Iniidae 1 44593   Rivers – S. America
  Baiji, White-fin Dolphin Lipotidae 1 1   Rivers – China
  Franciscana, La Plata Dolphin Pontoporiidae 1 1   Coastal – S.E. America
  Ocean Dolphins Delphinidae 17 34   All oceans, and some seas, rivers and estuaries
  Porpoises Phocoenidae 4 6   Northern oceans
  Narwhal, Beluga Monodontidae 2 2   Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas
  Sperm Whales Physeteridae 2 3   All oceans
  Beaked Whales Ziphiidae 6 18   All oceans
  Grey Whales Eschrichtiidae 1 1   North Pacific
  Rorquals Balaenopteridae 2 6   All oceans
  Right Whales Balaenidae 2 2   All oceans
  Pygmy Right Whale Neobalaenidae 1 1   Cooler southern oceans
Sirenia Manatees Trichechidae 1 3   Sub-tropical Atlantic coasts and rivers
  Dugongs Dugongidae 1 1*6   Indo-Pacific coastal waters
Proboscidea Elephants Elephantidae 2 3   Africa, South East Asia, India
Hyracoidea Hyraxes Procaviidae 3 44872   Africa, Middle East
Perissodactyla Horses, Zebras, Asses Equidae 1 44780   Africa, Middle East, Tibet, Mongolia
  Tapirs Tapiridae 1 4   South East Asia, South America
  Rhinoceroses Rhinocerotidae 4 5   Africa, India, South Asia
Artiodactyla Camels Camelidae 3 6   Asia, North Africa, South America
  Pigs Suidae 5 9   Europe, Africa, and Asia (introduced to America and Australia)
  Peccaries, Javelinas Tayassuidae 2 3   America
  Hippopotamuses Hippopotamidae 2 2   Africa
  Chevrotains, Mouse Deer Tragulidae 44593 44654   South East Asia, India, Africa
  Deer, etc Cervidae 17 45   Worldwide, introduced to Australasia
  Giraffes Giraffidae 2 2   Africa
  Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Antelopes, etc Bovidae 48 139   Worldwide, except in Australasia and the Poles
  • *0 In many books the Great Apes are included in a separate family, the Pongidae, however, while there are strong social reasons for separating them the scientific reasons are doubtful.
  • *1 The Xenarthra are known as the Edentata in some books.
  • *2 The Spalacidae are often included in the Muridae as the subfamily Spalacinae.
  • *3 The Myocastoridae are sometimes included in the Capromyidae.
  • *4 The Capromyidae is an interesting family because it contains an additional 4 genera and 18 species which have gone extinct in geologically recent times.
  • *5 This includes Dusicyon australis which is considered to have gone extinct in 1870.
  • *6 Note that Stellar’s Sea Cow, Hydrodamalis gigas, is believed to have become extinct around 1768.

I would like to thank Professor Brad Bergstrom, Dept. of Biology, Valdosta St. Univ. for looking over this list and for the corrections and suggestions regarding the mammal orders and families that he made.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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2 thoughts on “Mammal Orders & Families Of The World (Big Checklist)”

    • The arrangement of the orders pretty much follows George Gaylord Simpson’s classic “Principles of Classification and a Classification of Mammals” (Simpson, 1945) which was the basic textbook system up until the end of the last century. The apparent alphabetic disorganization is created by un-included (for simplification) of higher levels of classification that represent degrees of relatedness, such as infraclass and subclass which link various orders together. That said this table is now well out of date and I will put updating it on the top of my to do list.


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