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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


POLJAK, SEBASTIÁN; ESCOBAR, JULIO; DEFERRARI, GUILLERMO  and  LIZARRALDE, MARTA. A new introduced mammal in Tierra del Fuego: the "large hairy armadillo" Chaetophractus villosus (Mammalia, Dasypodidae) in the Isla Grande island. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2007, vol.80, n.3, pp.285-294. ISSN 0716-078X.

Sixty-six percent of the mammal fauna of Tierra del Fuego consists of introduced species with economical or sport hunting importance. The large hairy armadillo, Chaetophractus villosus, is distributed from the Chaco of Bolivia and Paraguay to the South of Santa Cruz province in Argentina and was introduced to Isla Grande about 20 years ago. Since the holes and subterranean excavations are the most conspicuous indications of activity of this species, we studied the density and distribution of burrows made by C. villosus in the argentine side of Isla Grande island in order to estimate the relative abundance of the population. We classified the burrows as "short tunnels", for foraging activity and/or temporal shelter, and "long tunnels", used as dens or in a semi-permanent manner. We found that the armadillo can be considered an established species in an area of approximately 484 km2. We show that the range of distribution of the species is tightly associated to the underground oil pipes net, likely favored by the massive ground alterations due to the construction of subterranean nets of oil distribution. Considering the geographical distribution reached by this species since its introduction to the island coping with the environmental conditions, we propose that climate is not a determining factor for the distribution of C. villosus, but the natural geographic barriers such as the Magellan's Strait to the south and La Plata River to the east

Keywords : introduced species; Chaetophractus villosus; colonization; human impact.

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