MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
ARMORED INVADERS IN PATAGONIA: RECENT SOUTHWARD DISPERSION OF ARMADILLOS (CINGULATA, DASYPODIDAE)
AGUSTÍN M. ABBA, SEBASTIÁN POLJAK, MAGALI GABRIELLI, PABLO TETA, AND ULYSES F. J. PARDIÑAS
UNIDAD DE ZOOLOGÍA Y ECOLOGÍA ANIMAL, INSTITUTO ARGENTINO DE INVESTIGACIÓN DE LAS ZONAS ARIDAS, CRICYT, CONICET
Lugar: Mendoza; Año: 2014 vol. 21 p. 311 - 311
ABSTRACT. Patagonia, south of 40° S, is currently inhabited by Chaetophractus villosus and Zaedyus pichiy. In order to reconstruct the Late Pleistocene-Holocene history of these armadillos in southern South America, we compiled and discussed data from zooarcheological sites, notes from naturalists and travellers, museum specimens, and field data. We found that both species experienced significant range expansion southwards. Basedon the obtained evidence we concluded that: (a) Southern Patagonia was mainly free of armadillos during the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene; (b) in the last 10 ky Z. pichiy progressively invaded southern Patagonia from the north, down to the Santa Cruz River (~50° S); at the same time, C. villosus colonized the northern portion of Patagonia north of Chubut River (~44° S); (c) during the last century, Z. pichiy surpassed the Santa Cruz River barrier while C. villosus colonized all Patagonian territories to reach the Magellan Strait and finally was introduced in Tierra del Fuego. Although these armadillos have metabolic, dietary and behavioral adaptations to cold and dry habitats that possibly helped them to extend its range southwards, we propose that the observed distributional changes of the last century were triggered mainly by anthropogenic causes.