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 three remaining families of the Hystricoidea, of which one is African while the other two are chiefly South American, are very closely allied and often brigaded in a single family group. In the Capromyidae, which includes only the South American and West Indian hutias, the South American coypu and the African cane-rats, the tympanic bulla of the skull is hollow, the par-occipital process straight, the lachrymal small, and the cheekteeth rooted, with deep enamel-folds; the first front toe Leing occasionally absent.
Its large size, aquatic habits, partially webbed hind-toes, and the smooth, broad, orange-coloured incisors, are sufficient to distinguish this rodent from the other members of the family Capromyidae.
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.