Coruro

Spalacopus cyanus

TAXONOMY

Spalacopus cyanus (Molina, 1782), Valparaiso Province, Chile.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length 4.5-6.5 in (115-165 mm); tail averages 1.9 in (49 mm); 1.7-5.3 oz (50-150 g). Body stocky with short tail, and brown to black pelage. Specialized for digging with large incisors, claws on digits, large front feet, and small ears.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs west of the Andes in central Chile between approximately 27°S and 36°S latitude.

HABITAT

Occupies complex, communal burrow system. Fossorial, and prefers more temperate coastal and montane areas with shrub cover that does not exceed 60%.

BEHAVIOR

Fossorial-excavating burrow systems with complex arrangement of tunnels and multiple openings that are not plugged. Forms colonies containing up to 26 individual adults and young. Highly vocal, with individuals producing a series of trills and other calls associated with socializing and warning. In field, observed to be diurnal, whereas lab colonies display nocturnal activities.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Herbivorous, foraging below on tubers and stems. Especially fond of the lily, Leucoryne ixiodes. Caches food in burrow system.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Reproduces twice per year with average litter size of two. Gestation is 77 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Common locally. Subspecies S. c. maulinus considered Endangered by Chilean Red List.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Considered an agricultural pest in some areas. ♦

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