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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Observations: Not much is known about the longevity of these animals, but one specimen lived 14 years in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005). Their maximum longevity could be underestimated as detailed studies are lacking.
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Chaetophractus nationi is so endangered that CITES has issued a no import/export policy for trade of this species. (1996 IUCN Red List)

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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In Bolivia and Chile, Andean Hairy Armadillos have been used for meat, musical instruments, decorations, good luck charms, and medicine for rheumatism. (Yensen et al, 1994)

Positive Impacts: food ; source of medicine or drug

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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May limit harmful insect populations. (Montgomery 1985)

Ecosystem Impact: soil aeration

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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Chaetophractus nationi is omnivorous, eating some small vertebrates, many insects, and some vegetation. (Greegor 1980)

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; reptiles; eggs; carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Plant Foods: roots and tubers; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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Chaetophractus nationi is endemic to Bolivia and northern Chile, in the Andes mountain range. (Yensen et al, 1994)

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Chaetophractus nationi lives in grasslands at high altitudes, in an ecosystem called the Puna. (Montgomery, 1985)

Average elevation: 3500 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate

Terrestrial Biomes: mountains

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy

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(Montgomery, 1985)

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
20 (high) years.

Typical lifespan
Status: wild:
12 to 16 years.

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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Head and body length reaches 220 to 400 mm and the tail length is 90 to 175 mm. The head shield is 60 mm long and 60 mm wide. This armadillo has 18 dorsal bands, 8 of which are movable. (Nowak, 1999) Unlike other armadillos, Chaetophractus nationi has hair between the majority of its sclaes, and is completely covered on its legs and underside. Color varies from yellowish to light brown. As with other Dasypodids, the teeth are not covered in enamel, and grow continuously. Body temperature is regulated somewhat ectothermically, and burrows are used to cool down in the summer. (Yensen et al, 1994)

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 2150 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 3.118 W.

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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The bony plates of armour that surround this animal's body serve as protection from predators. (Nixon, 2000)

Known Predators:

  • humans (Homo sapiens)
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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Chaetophractus nationi is solitary, with males and females only coming together for mating purposes.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

After mating in the fall, females are pregnant for two months before giving birth to a litter of two. After birth, an individual immediately develops epidermal scales that eventually harden and join to form armor plates. Each infant is fully dependent on its mother until weaning, which occurs at about 50 days. Young rely heavily on their mothers for almost a month until they develop adult teeth and begin to forage. Sexual maturity is reached at about nine months. (Grzimek, 1990)

Breeding season: Fall

Average number of offspring: 2.

Average gestation period: 2 months.

Average weaning age: 50 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 9 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 9 months.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External )

Average number of offspring: 1.5.

The female is solely responsible for parental care in this species.

Parental Investment: female parental care

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Frostic, A. 2002. "Chaetophractus nationi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chaetophractus_nationi.html
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Anna Frostic, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Bret Weinstein, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Biology

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This species is nocturnal in summer when the days are hot, and active during the day in winter. It is territorial with reported home ranges of about 3.4 hectares (2). Like other armadillos it uses its powerful claws to dig burrows and can have up to 20 burrows within its home range which are each 1.5-3 metres long (5). Andean hairy armadillos use these burrows to live in, rear offpsring and to escape from predators (4). This fascinating animal forages by moving slowly along with the nose in the soil and leaf litter, then digging up material with the fore-claws once food has been sniffed out (4). It has a highly developed sense of smell and feeds on insects, vegetable matter and fruits, birds eggs and even small vertebrates such as snakes and small lizards (4). An armadillo will often dig beneath a decomposing carcass to find a feast of maggots and insects. They have even been known to jump on snakes to kill them with their sharp armour plates (2). Another interesting behaviour of this armadillo is its ability to cross ponds and creeks. It either gulps air until it becomes buoyant and paddles across the water, or sinks to the bottom and strolls across, postponing its next breath until it reaches the other side (5). This species, like other armadillos, is relatively solitary except during the breeding season of the summer months (5). Courtship involves the male following the female avidly, and mating occurs with the male mounting the female from behind. Male armadillos have one of the longest penises amongst mammals, extending to two-thirds of the body length (4). The gestation time is 2 months, and there may be multiple litters per year. The female usually gives birth to two young in a burrow. They are born with pink soft bodies and are weaned at 50 - 60 days, when their carapace is developed (2). Individuals live for up to 16 years (2).
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Conservation

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International trade of the Andean hairy armadillo is forbidden by its listing on Appendix II of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) (3). It is hoped that this measure will reduce its trade and therefore the extent to which it is hunted. There are no conservation measures in place to protect this fascinating animal in its natural habitat, however, and habitat loss is expected to continue as Peru and Bolivia become more populated and developed (4).
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Description

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Armadillos are one of the oldest groups of mammals. Once thought to be closely related to turtles because of their tough protective carapaces, zoologists now classify them in the mammalian order Xenarthra with anteaters and sloths (4). The Spanish named them 'armadillo' which means 'little plated one', referring to the armour-like covering over much of the body (5). Even the top of the head bears dark plates like a helmet, and the thin tail has a hardened covering. Unlike other armadillos, members of the Chaetophractus genus have light brown hair between the chinks of the armoured scales as well as on its legs and underside (2). These animals are well adapted for digging and foraging in the undergrowth and have short legs, long powerful claws, and pointed snouts (2). Colour varies from light brown to a dull yellow, with males and females looking similar in appearance, though males are generally larger (5).
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Habitat

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Chaetophractus nationi lives exclusively in open high-altitude grasslands (2).
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Range

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Occurs in Bolivia and northern Chile (1).
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Status

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Classified as Vulnerable (VU A1d) by the IUCN Red List 2003 (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
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Threats

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The hard outer covering of the Andean hairy armadillo is good protection from predators, but humans can easily catch and kill them (2). They are hunted and traded for food and their shell, and are also persecuted for their disruptive burrowing on agricultural land (1). Habitat loss from deforestation and agricultural development is also an increasing threat (4).
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Andean hairy armadillo

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The Andean hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus nationi) is an armadillo located in Bolivia, in the region of the Puna; the departments of Oruro, La Paz, and Cochabamba (Gardner, 1993). Nowark (1991) describes it as distributed in Bolivia and northern Chile. A recent publication of Pacheco (1995) also locates the species in Peru, basically in Puno Region. This species is also thought to be present in northern Argentina.[2] However, this location may actually only contain a population of C. vellerosus.[1][2]

Physical description

The Andean hairy armadillo averages a tail length of three to seven inches and a body length of eight to sixteen inches. This armadillo is found to have eighteen dorsal bands, in which eight are considered movable. The Andean hairy armadillo gets its name genuinely because this armadillo has hair covering all of its ventral side and its legs as well.[3] This species comes in a variety of colors ranging from light brown to yellow/beige. Their teeth are unique because they are continuously growing and do not contain enamel. Their average weight tends to be four and a half to five pounds. They maintain an internal temperature and use limb countercurrent exchange as well.[4]

Diet and activity

Andean hairy armadillos are considered omnivores because they eat a variety of foods. Their diet can consist of grains, roots, fruits and even small vertebrates. These armadillos have even been found to eat rotting flesh and the maggots found within the corpse.[5] These mammals find their food by digging through leaves and substrates while using their nose to detect possible meals. They prefer open high-altitude grasslands to live in.[5]

This armadillo finds shelter in tunnels and burrows that it digs itself using fore-claws. Their territories are about eight acres in size. The Andean hairy armadillo's sleep schedule depend on the season and temperature of its habitat. In the summer months they are considered nocturnality so they do not overheat. They then switch to diurnality during the winter season to stay warm. The Andean hairy armadillo communicates with other armadillos through the use of chemicals, as well as through touch.[4]

Reproduction

Male Andean hairy armadillos only pair up with a female during mating season. They are a polygynandrous species and each adult lives a solitary life. The male armadillo is known to have the longest penises, in proportion to the body size, of any mammal.[5] Males are called lister and females are called zed.[6] Mating season begins in the fall and young are usually born in the summertime with a total of only two offspring. Females are pregnant for only two months though.[3] This two months pregnancy, but births in the summer is because the family Dasypodidae is known for their ability to have delayed implantation and all the embryos produced are from a single zygote. Embryos within the mother still produce their own placenta.[7] Armadillo's offspring are referred to as pups and are born helpless.[6] They remain with their mother fully dependent for fifty days and are sexually mature by twelve months.[4]

Threats and conservation aid

The Andean hairy armadillo has been given a bad reputation of that with its nine-banded cousin Dasypus novemcinctus and thought to carry leprosy.[8] The main threat to this species is being hunted[9] and having its shell sold for musical instrument making, body parts for medical remedies, and for food. Others, simply are killed because they are seen as a pest in that they cause agriculture destruction with their burrow making. Another threat is the fact that they are losing much of their habitat to road construction, farming, and deforestation.[10] However, there are a few aids out there to try to help this species of armadillo survive. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild (CITES) has banned all trading of the Andean hairy armadillo and the capture of it. Yet, the demand for this armadillo's products still remain and many are killed regardless.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b Gardner, A.L. (2005). "Order Cingulata". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c IUCN SSC Anteater, Sloth and Armadillo Specialist Group (2017). "Chaetophractus vellerosus (amended version of 2016 assessment)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2017: e.T89604632A119877197. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b Nixon, Joshua (1995). "Hairy Armadillos". Genus Chaetophractus. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Frostic, Anna (2002). "Animal Diversity Web ADW". Chaetophractus nationi: Andean hairy armadillo. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Vitali & Muir, Liana & Lucie (April 9, 2009). "Andean hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus nationi)". Wildscreen Arkive. Archived from the original on 2014-03-03. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Valverde, Guido. "Andean hairy armadillo". Andean hairy armadillo picutes and facts. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  7. ^ Feldhamer, George; Drickamer, Lee; Vessey, Stephen; Merritt, Joseph; Krajewski, Carey (2015). Mammalogy: adaption, diversity, ecology. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 346–347. ISBN 978-1421415888.
  8. ^ Clark, Laura (March 2, 2015). "SmartNews Keeping you current: How Armadillos can spread leprosy". Smithsonian.com. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  9. ^ Abba, Agustin; Cassini, Guillermo; Valverde, Guido; Tilak, Marie-Ka; Vizcino, Sergio; Superina, Mariella & Delsuc, Frederic (2015). "Systematics of hairy armadillos and the taxonomic status of the Andean hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus nationi)". Journal of Mammalogy. 96. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyv082.
  10. ^ Smith, Maya (April 23, 2013). "Endangered Species: Andean Hairy Armadillo". Prezi. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
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Andean hairy armadillo: Brief Summary

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The Andean hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus nationi) is an armadillo located in Bolivia, in the region of the Puna; the departments of Oruro, La Paz, and Cochabamba (Gardner, 1993). Nowark (1991) describes it as distributed in Bolivia and northern Chile. A recent publication of Pacheco (1995) also locates the species in Peru, basically in Puno Region. This species is also thought to be present in northern Argentina. However, this location may actually only contain a population of C. vellerosus.

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