Rock cavy

Kerodon rupestris

SUBFAMILY

Caviinae

TAXONOMY

Kerodon rupestris (Wied-Neuwied, 1820), Rio Belmonte, Bahia, Brazil.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

Spanish: Moco.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Little information exists on measurements of head and body lengths for either males or females. Individuals weigh 31.7-35.2 oz (900-1,000 g). Dorsal coloration is gray with some black, ventral surface is brown with yellow, and the throat is white. Relative to other small cavies, the overall body is longer, and the face has a muzzle similar to that of a dog. Rather than clawed, the digits have nails, except for one grooming claw, and the feet are padded for movement on rocky surfaces. Rock cavies have long, slender legs.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs only in eastern Brazil from the state of Piaui to the northern part of Minas Gerais.

HABITAT

The species is considered a habitat specialist, preferring arid areas with rocky outcrops.

BEHAVIOR

Excellent rock climbers. Individuals are active later in the day, colonial with males defending optimal piles of rocks. Alarm calls consist of a whistle, and during estrus, males and females perform elaborate courtship behavior. They frequently exhibit scent marking, and social grooming is common.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Herbivorous and prefers leaves of plants. Spend considerable time foraging in trees and have been observed sitting upright during feeding.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

A harem-based mating system; both males and females form linear dominance hierarchies. Females undergo postpartum es-trus, gestation averages 75 days, and several litters are produced each year, with the size between one to two young per litter. Young are born precocial and capable of foraging for solid food.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Although not listed by IUCN, habitat specialization and limited distribution make this species potentially vulnerable. Two reserves have been established in Brazil.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Sometimes used for food. ♦

0 0

Post a comment