Southern threebanded armadillo

Tolypeutes matacus

SUBFAMILY

Tolypeutinae

TAXONOMY

Loricatus matacus (Desmarest, 1804), Argentina. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Tatou a trios bandes du Sud; German: Kugel Gürteltier; Spanish: Bolita.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Length 12.4 in (31.4 cm); weight 2.4 lb (1.1 kg). Dentition: 9/9. Three bands. Thick carapace. Short tail. Walks on tips of claws on forelimb.

DISTRIBUTION

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. HABITAT

Grassland and open plains.

BEHAVIOR

When threatened, rolls up into a ball, exposing only its carapace and tail and head shields. Diurnal. Does not dig burrows but uses those built by other species. Individuals found sleeping together in winter (also the breeding season).

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on ants and termites obtained by digging shallow pits.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Pairing occurs during the breeding season. Captive males solicit females by gently touching their dorsal side. Gives birth to one offspring per year in spring or summer but in captivity birthing occurs year round.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Lower Risk/Near Threatened. Another species, Tolypeutes tricinc-tus, thought to be extinct in wild, was rediscovered in Brazil.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Used for food. ♦

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