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Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 84 (1): 51-64, 2011
Natural history of the screaming hairy armadillo Chaetophractus vellerosus (Mammalia: Xenarthra: Dasypodidae)
This contribution presents new data about the natural history of the screaming hairy armadillo Chaetophractus vellerosus (Mammalia: Xenarthra: Dasypodidae). A seasonal monitoring using the capture-recapture method was performed over the course of two years (2006 2008) in a 100 ha cattle farm in the locality of Magdalena, Buenos Aires province, Argentina. Data were collected on food habits, space and time use, behavior, thermoregulation, population data, and morphology. A total of 237 captures of 136 individuals were made. The main food items recorded were coleopterans, followed by plant matter and small mammals; a marked drop of coleopterans in the spring diet suggested seasonal differences in food habits. In the cold seasons, screaming hairy armadillos were mainly active at noon and during the first hours of the afternoon, while in warm seasons their activity period shifted to the afternoon and night. The armadillos selected sandy-calcareous soils and preferred grasslands with low vegetation and high vegetation cover. The average home range was 2670 m<sup>2</sup>. Screaming hairy armadillos were asocial. Their behavior varied between seasons, and they selected the forest for refuge. Rectal temperature was positively correlated with ambient temperature and body mass. The sex proportion was near to one, and no sexual dimorphism was observed. In general, the results of this study are in agreement with previous observations of C. vellerosus populations inhabiting different environmental conditions in very distant areas from the one monitored here. This work provides new information about different aspects of an isolated population that is subjected to high pressure due to habitat modification and use, and is therefore facing a high extinction risk.
Key words:
armadillos, Buenos Aires, conservation, ecology

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