Talas tuco-tuco

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Talas tuco-tuco
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Ctenomyidae
Genus: Ctenomys
Species: C. talarum
Binomial name
Ctenomys talarum
Thomas, 1898

C. t. antonii Thomas, 1910
C. t. occidentalis Justo, 1992
C. t. recessus Thomas, 1912
C. t. talarum Thomas, 1898

The Talas tuco-tuco (Ctenomys talarum) is a species of tuco-tuco[2] endemic to eastern Argentina.


The Talas tuco-tuco is a large rodent ranging in size from 212 to 254 mm (8.35 to 10.00 in), more than twice the size of a house mouse. Its tail length varies from 56 to 75 mm (2.20 to 2.95 in) and it weighs approximately 118 g (4.2 oz).[3] The species shows significant sexual dimorphism.[4] The Talas tuco-tuco basically has a cylindrically-shaped body, but is larger around the head and shoulders. It has short fine hair, which is normally a mix of hazel, gray and red on the back, and white on the underparts. It also has a distinct white patch on either side of the head, along the lower edge of its ears. Its eyes and ears are small compared to its headand it has very long, curved claws on all four feet.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Talas tuco-tuco is subterranean, living in underground burrows. Only one inhabits a particular burrow at a time;[6][7] however, some build extensive burrowing systems connecting individual burrows with underground tunnels.[3] They prefer areas with loamy soil, grass, perennials plants and woody shrubs. In some cases, they can be found in sandy soils as well.[5][8] They are usually found along the coasts of the Buenos Aires, La Pampa and Santa Fe provinces.[5][9]


Talas tuco-tucos are herbivorous, feeding on roots and grasses. Unlike most subterranean rodents, Talas tuco-tucos leave their burrows to forage for vegetation above ground.[10]

Males can be sexually active throughout the year, but females have a much more restrictive breeding season, so that most pregnancies occur around August.[11] An average litter consists of four offspring, with a slight about 1.63 females being born per male.[6][11] The lactation period is estimated at about 45 days.[12] In a study, one male was found to have copulated with all the females in the area.[13]

Predators include the burrowing owl, short-eared owl, barn owl, and variable hawk.[7][14][15][16] Lice that feed on the species include Eulinognathus americanus, Gyropus parvus, and Phtheropoios forficulatus.[17][18] [19] Trichostrongylids can be found in the small intestine, and trichurids in the caecum of the Talas tuco-tuco.[20]


The Talas tuco-tuco is solitary, aggressive and territorial.[3] They use scent recognition to distinguish between individuals.[21] Males engage in one on one confrontations with other males for prospective mates, using their sharp incisors as weapons. These can also be used as digging tools, but they prefer to use their claws when building their burrows.[4] Although they are subterranean, they spend much of their time above the ground, foraging for food.[3]


  1. ^ Bidau, C.; Lessa, E. & Ojeda, R. (2008). "Ctenomys talarum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 5 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Woods, C.A.; Kilpatrick, C.W. (2005). "Infraorder Hystricognathi". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1538–1600. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  3. ^ a b c d Cutrera, A. P.; Antinuchi, C. D.; Mora, M. S.; Vassallo, A. I. (2006). "Home-Range and Activity Patterns of the South American Subterranean Rodent Ctenomys Talarum". Journal of Mammalogy. 87 (6): 1183. doi:10.1644/05-MAMM-A-386R1.1. 
  4. ^ a b Becerra, F.; Echeverría, A.; Vassallo, A. I. N.; Casinos, A. (2011). "Bite force and jaw biomechanics in the subterranean rodent Talas tuco-tuco (Ctenomys talarum) (Caviomorpha: Octodontidae)". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 89 (4): 334. doi:10.1139/z11-007. 
  5. ^ a b c Justo, E.R.; et al. (2003). "Ctenomys talarum". Mammalian Species. 730: Number 730: pp 1–5. doi:10.1644/730. 
  6. ^ a b Malizia, A. I.; Zenuto, R. R.; Busch, C. (1995). "Demographic and reproductive attributes of dispersers in two populations of the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (tuco-tuco)". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 73 (4): 732. doi:10.1139/z95-085. 
  7. ^ a b Pearson, O. P., et al. 1968. Estructura social, distribución espacial y composición por edades de una población de tucotucos (Ctenomys talarum). Investigaciones Zoológicas Chilenas 13:47–80.
  8. ^ Comparatore, V.M.; et al. (1992). "Habitat relations in sympatric populations of Ctenomys australis and Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia, Octodontidae) in natural grassland". Mammalian Biology. 57 (1): 47–55. 
  9. ^ *Redford, K. H., And J. F. Eisenberg. 1992. Mammals of the Neotropics. The southern cone. University Chicago Press, Illinois.
  10. ^ Martino, N., R. R. Zenuto, AND C. Busch. 1999. Respuestas nutricionales a corto plazo en Ctenomys talarum. Libro de resúmenes de las XIV Jornadas Argentinas de Mastozoología[no volume number]: 70.
  11. ^ a b Malizia, A.M. & Busch, C. (1991). "Reproductive parameters and growth in the fossorial rodent Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia)". Mammalia. 55 (2): 293–305. doi:10.1515/mamm.1991.55.2.293. 
  12. ^ Weir, B. J. (1974). "Reproductive characteristics of hystricomorph rodents". Symposia of the Zoological Society of London. 34: 265–301. 
  13. ^ Zenuto, R. R., A. I. Vasallo, And C. Busch. 1996. Comportamieto social y reproductivo de Ctenomys talarum en cautiverio. Libro de resúmenes de las XI Jornadas Argentinas de Mastozoología [no volume number]:9–10.
  14. ^ Bó, M. S., S. Rodriguez, S. Bachmann, R. J. Vargas, And C. A. Darrieu. 2000. Importancia de los mamíferos en la dieta invernal del aguilucho común Buteo polyosoma en Mar Chiquita (Provincia de Buenos Aires). Libro de resúmenes de las XV Jornadas Argentinas de Mastozoología [no volume number]:38.
  15. ^ De Santis, L. J. M.; Montalvo, C. I. & Justo, E. R. (1983). "Mamíferos integrantes de la dieta de Tyto alba (Aves, Strigiformes, Tytonidae) en la provincia de La Pampa, Argentina". Historia Natural. 3: 187–188. 
  16. ^ Vasallo, A.I.; et al. (1994). "Owls predate on two sympatric species of tuco-tucos (Rodentia: Octodontidae)". Journal of Mammalogy. 75 (3): 725–732. doi:10.2307/1382522. JSTOR 1382522. 
  17. ^ Castro, D. & Cichino, A. C. (1990). "Contribución al conocimiento de Eulinognathus americanus Ewing, 1923 y E. torquatus Castro, 1982 (Phthiraptera, Anoplura, Polyplacidae)". Revista Brasileira do Entomologia. 34: 531–537. 
  18. ^ Contreras, J. R., D. C. Castro, And A. C. Cichino. 1992. Acerca de las relaciones de los parásitos Phthiraptera (Amblycera, Gyropidae) de los roedores excavadores del género Ctenomys (Rodentia, Ctenomyidae) con la evolución taxonómica de los huéspedes. Libro de resúmenes de las VI Jornadas de Ciencias Naturales del Litoral [no volume number]: 90–92.
  19. ^ Contreras, J. R.; Castro, D. C. & Cichino, A. C. (1999). "Relaciones de los Phthiraptera (Insecta, Amblycera, Gyropidae) con la evolución taxonómica de los roedores del género Ctenomys (Mammalia: Rodentia, Caviomorpha: Ctenomyidae)". Ciencia Siglo. XXI (2): 1–32. 
  20. ^ Rossin, M. A., A. I. Malizia, And N. Sardella. 1999. Estudio de la fauna endoparasitaria de Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia: Octodontidae) de la localidad de Necochea. Libro de resúmenes de las XIV Jornadas Argentinas de Mastozoología [no volume number]: 79.
  21. ^ Fanjul, M. S., R. R. Zenuto, And C. Busch. 2000. Discriminación olfativa a nivel de individuo en el roedor subterráneo Ctenomys talarum Rodentia: Octodontidae). Libro de resúmenes de las XV Jornadas Argentinas de Mastozoología [no volume number]: 55.