This study aimed to describe the number of thoracic, lumbar and sacral vertebrae in tridactyla through radiographic examinations associated with gross anatomy determination. For this purpose, 12 adult specimens of M. tridactyla were analyzed, assigned to the Screening Center of Wild Animals (CETAS), IBAMA-GO, and approved by the Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals (Process CEUA-UFG nr 018/2014). In the radiographic examinations the following numbers of thoracic (T) and lumbar (L) vertebrae were observed: 16Tx2L (n=7), 15Tx2L (n=3), and 15Tx3L (n=2). In contrast, the numbers of vertebrae identified by anatomical dissection were as follows: 16Tx2L (n=4), 15Tx2L (n=3), and 15Tx3L (n=5). This difference occurred in cases of lumbarization of thoracic vertebrae, as seen in three specimens, and was explained by changes in regional innervations identified by anatomical dissection and the presence of floating ribs (right unilateral=1, left unilateral=1 and bilateral=1), which were not identified by radiographic exams. Regarding the sacral vertebrae there was no variation depending on the methods used, which allowed the identification of 4 (n=1) or 5 (n=11) vertebrae. Thus, we concluded that there is variation in the number of thoracic, lumbar and sacral vertebrae, in addition to lumbarization, which must be considered based on the presence of floating ribs, in this species.
Thoracic column; lumbar column; sacral column; giant anteater; Myrmecophaga tridactyla; anatomical counting; radiographic; vertebrae; Xenarthra.