Ctenomys mendocinus ranges from 230-280 mm in body length, and tail length of 70-91 mm. Body mass ranges anywhere between 100-250 g, with males typically larger than females. They have a stocky, robust body shape with short limbs and ears. Pelage is predominantly light-brown with subtle black and white coloration on its dorsal side, and a lightly colored tail. Forelimbs have long claws, necessary for burrowing.
The species is endemic to the northern and central regions of the Mendoza province in Argentina, at a range of elevation from 460-3600 m.
Members of this species engage in solitary burrowing behavior. Their foreleg claws are their primary method of digging tunnels through the ground, although the incisors may be used occasionally. They generally do not arise above the surface during the day time; however, they have a preference for above ground plant material and will surface to forage for food.
Newborns are highly altricial: after a 3 month gestation period, pups are born half-naked and blind, weaning 56 days after birth and becoming independent after 80 days.
The Mendoza tuco-tuco is an herbivore that feeds preferentially on grasses. Populations in the Andean Precordilla region of Mendoza display high selectivity for grasses and avoidance of shrubs with a preference for above ground plant material, despite a fossorial lifestyle and harsh environmental conditions that lower food availability.
- Bidau, C., Lessa, E. & Ojeda, R. (2008). Ctenomys mendocinus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- Woods, C. A.; Kilpatrick, C. W. (2005). "Infraorder Hystricognathi". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1538–1600. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Rosi, M.I., Cona, M.I., Roig, V.G., Massarini, A.I., & Verzi, D.H. (2005). "Ctenomys mendocinus". Mammalian Species.
- Rosi, M.I., Cona, M.I., Videla, F., Puig, S., Monge, S.A., & Roig, V.G. (2003). "Diet Selection by the Fossorial Rodent Ctenomys mendocinus Inhabiting an Environment with Low Food Availability (Mendoza, Argentina)". Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 38 (3): 159–166. doi:10.1076/snfe.184.108.40.206168.
- Camin, Sergio (2010). "Gestation, maternal behaviour, growth and development in the subterranean caviomorph rodent Ctenomys mendocinus (Rodentia, Hysticognathi, Ctenomyidae)". Animal Biology 60: 79–95. doi:10.1163/157075610x12610595764255.
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