The diet of the pichi armadillo ( ) was determined based on analysis of stomach contents of 26 dead individuals confiscated from poachers near Cerro Nevado, Mendoza Province, Argentina. Sand accounted for 66 ± 24% of stomach contents' dry weight. Beetles were the predominant food item in 14 and ants in 5 stomachs, while 5 animals had mainly ingested plant material. The remainder had mostly fed on fly larvae and arachnids. Coleoptera (mainly adults and Scarabeidae larvae) and plant material (seeds, leaves, and roots) were found in all stomachs examined. All pichis had fed on ants of different species and stages, suggesting that pichis eat any ant species they can find and actively prey on nests. Scorpions and spiders were observed in over 60% of stomachs but represented a low aggregate percent weight. Vertebrates were rarely found. Based on these results, the pichi of Mendoza Province can be described as an opportunistic omnivore that mainly feeds on insects and seems to be the least carnivorous of all carnivore–omnivore armadillos.
We report a phylogeographic study of populations in Argentina. Control Region (CR) sequences (484 bp) were obtained for 76 from 20 locations across the species whole distribution range. Seventeen new haplotypes were identified. The highest genetic variation and the earliest fossils were found in the Pampean Region, thus appearing as the most probable area of origin of the species. A general pattern of Contiguous Range Expansion (CRE) was revealed by Nested Clade Analysis (NCA) supported by mismatch analysis and Fu’s test. The Pampean Region would have been the pre-expansion area, while Patagonia would have been the main dispersal route of contiguous expansion, possibly after the Pleistocenic glaciations.
The comparative phylogeographic study of the maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus) and the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus) was performed using a segment of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region. We examined 19 B. torquatus from two regions and 47 B. variegatus from three distant regions of Atlantic forest. This first characterization of molecular diversity indicates a great diversity (B. torquatus: h = 0.901 ± 0.039 and π = 0.012 ± 0.007; B. variegatus: h = 0.699 ± 0.039 and π = 0.010 ± 0.006) and very divergent mitochondrial lineages within each sloth species. The different sampled regions carry distinct and non-overlapping sets of mtDNA haplotypes and are genetically divergent. This phylogeographic pattern may be characteristic of sloth species. In addition, we infer that two main phylogeographic groups exist in the Atlantic forest representing a north and south distinct divergence.
We conducted a new survey of biologists throughout the southern and central United States, in order to update our last analysis of the range expansion and distributional limits of the nine‐banded armadillo ( Dasypus novemcinctus ) since 1994. While the armadillo's range has remained stationary to the west along a line corresponding to about 50 cm annual precipitation, it has advanced to the north through central Kansas, into central Illinois, south‐western Indiana and western Kentucky, through central Tennessee, covering Alabama and all but the north‐eastern region of Georgia, and into central South Carolina. The population has reached a latitude corresponding to an average minimum daily January temperature of −8 °C in Kansas . Armadillos may continue to move northwards in states farther east where they do not yet reach the −8 °C zone. In the eastern seaboard states, other factors besides winter temperature extremes may be limiting the armadillo's range expansion.
The giant anteater ( ) and the collared anteater ( ) are widespread in Brazil and found in all Brazilian biomes. These hosts frequently use domestic animal environments such as pastures, where tick and related microorganism interchange may occur between hosts. Reports of tick infestations of these animals are scattered and refer to small samples and/or are geographically restricted. We herein present data on a wide geographic distribution of ticks and their collected from 72 giant and 30 collared anteaters, mostly road killed, over a period of 18 years, from Southeast and Central-West Brazil encompassing four States and 46 Municipalities. Overall nine tick species ( , , , , , , , and sensu lato) were collected from anteaters. , , and were the most prevalent corresponding to, respectively, 48.8%, 39.3% and 2.7% of all ticks (n = 1775). However, tick numbers on collared anteaters were significantly higher (P < 0.001) than those on giant anteaters. At the same time, an abundance of adults on giant anteaters was significantly higher (Z = 2.875; P = 0.004) than that of and only eight nymphs were found on collared anteaters. DNA samples from 20 ticks from nine different animals yielded a visible amplicon in PCR targeting The PCR products targeting spotted-fever gene ( ) from five adults of were sequenced and were shown to be 100% identical to strain NOD (MF737635.1). The product of one nymph and one adult of yielded a sequence 99% identical to strain NOD. Further, genes were found in three adults. Ecological, behavioral and anatomical traits of anteaters are discussed to explain reported tick infestations and DNA found.
Little is known about phylogeography of armadillo species native to southern South America. In this study we describe the phylogeography of the screaming hairy armadillo Chaetophractus vellerosus, discuss previous hypothesis about the origin of its disjunct distribution and propose an alternative one, based on novel information on genetic variability. Variation of partial sequences of mitochondrial DNA Control Region (CR) from 73 individuals from 23 localities were analyzed to carry out a phylogeographic analysis using neutrality tests, mismatch distribution, median-joining (MJ) network and paleontological records. We found 17 polymorphic sites resulting in 15 haplotypes. Two new geographic records that expand known distribution of the species are presented; one of them links the distributions of recently synonimized species C. nationi and C. vellerosus. Screaming hairy armadillo phylogeographic pattern can be addressed as category V of Avise: common widespread linages plus closely related lineages confined to one or a few nearby locales each. The older linages are distributed in the north-central area of the species distribution range in Argentina (i.e. ancestral area of distribution). C. vellerosus seems to be a low vagility species that expanded, and probably is expanding, its distribution range while presents signs of genetic structuring in central areas. To explain the disjunct distribution, a hypothesis of extinction of the species in intermediate areas due to quaternary climatic shift to more humid conditions was proposed. We offer an alternative explanation: long distance colonization, based on null genetic variability, paleontological record and evidence of alternance of cold/arid and temperate/humid climatic periods during the last million years in southern South America.
The screaming hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus vellerosus) is a mammal species containing disjunct and isolated populations. In order to assess the effect of habitat fragmentation and geographic isolation, we developed seven new microsatellite loci isolated from low-coverage genome shotgun sequencing data for this species. Among these loci, six microsatellites were found to be polymorphic with 8–26 alleles per locus detected across 69 samples analyzed from a relictual population of the species located in the northeast of the Buenos Aires Province (Argentina). Mean allelic richness and polymorphic information content were 15 and 0.75, with observed and expected heterozygosities ranging from 0.40 to 0.67 and 0.58 to 0.90, respectively. All loci showed departures from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. The analysis of population structure in this relictual population revealed three groups of individuals that are genetically differentiated. These newly developed microsatellites will constitute a very useful tool for the estimation of genetic diversity and structure, population dynamics, social structure, parentage and mating system in this little-studied armadillo species. Such genetic data will be particularly helpful for the development of conservation strategies for this isolated population and also for the endangered Bolivian populations previously recognized as a distinct species (Chaetophractus nationi).
The South American Pleistocene mammal fauna includes great-sized animals that have intrigued scientists for over two centuries. Here we intend to update the knowledge on its palaeoecology and provide new evidence regarding two approaches: energetics and population density and relative abundance of fossils per taxa. To determine whether an imbalance exists, population density models were applied to several South American fossil faunas and the results compared to those that best describe the palaeoecology of African faunas. The results on the abundance study for Uruguay and the province of Buenos Aires during the Lujanian stage/age reveal that bulk-feeding ground sloths (Lestodon and Glossotherium) were more represented in the first territory, while the more selective Scelidotherium and Megatherium were more abundant in the second. Although the obtained values were corrected to avoid size-related taphonomic biases, linear regressions of abundance vs. body mass plots did not fit the expected either for first or second consumers. South American Pleistocene faunas behave differently from what models suggest they should. Changes in sea level and available area could account for these differences; the possibility of a floodplain in the area then emerged could explain seasonal changes, which would modify the calculations of energetics and abundance.
Background: The systematics of long-nosed armadillos (genus Dasypus) has been mainly based on a handful of external morphological characters and classical measurements. Here, we studied the pattern of morphological variation in the skull of long-nosed armadillos species, with a focus on the systematics of the widely distributed nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). Methods: We present the first exhaustive 3D comparison of the skull morphology within the genus Dasypus, based on micro-computed tomography. We used geometric morphometric approaches to explore the patterns of the intra-and interspecific morphological variation of the skull with regard to several factors such as taxonomy, geography, allometry, and sexual dimorphism. Results: We show that the shape and size of the skull vary greatly among Dasypus species, with Dasypus pilosus representing a clear outlier compared to other longnosed armadillos. The study of the cranial intraspecific variation in Dasypus novemcinctus evidences clear links to the geographic distribution and argues in favor of a revision of past taxonomic delimitations. Our detailed morphometric comparisons detected previously overlooked morphotypes of nine-banded armadillos, especially a very distinctive unit restricted to the Guiana Shield. Discussion: As our results are congruent with recent molecular data and analyses of the structure of paranasal sinuses, we propose that Dasypus novemcinctus should be regarded either as a polytypic species (with three to four subspecies) or as a complex of several distinct species.