armadillo any of a number of American mammals in the family Dasypodidae, related to the sloths and the anteaters. Tolypeutes tricinctus, the three-banded armadillo or apara, and Dasypus novemcinctus, the nine-banded or Texas armadillo also called peba, are among the better known. The former has a range from the south-west of the USA to Argentina, the latter belongs to Argentina and Brazil. Armadillos are mostly of moderate size, up to about 60 cm (2') in body length, and are covered with bony scales. Their food consists mostly of insects.