Southern three-banded armadillo
Tolypeutes matacus

The southern three-banded armadillo is found from eastern Bolivia and south-western Brazil, south through the Gran Chaco of Paraguay, to Argentina (San Luis Province). The species was once present in southern Buenos Aires Province (Yepes, 1928) but recent surveys suggest that it is now extinct in this area (Abba and Vizcaíno, 2008; A.M. Abba, pers. comm., 2010). The reason for its disappearing from Buenos Aires is unknown, but may be related to climate. It ranges from sea level up to 800 m asl (Argentina).


The southern three-banded armadillo is found in areas of dry vegetation within the Chaco (Bolkovic et al., 1995).


T. matacus has a low reproductive rate. Both genders reach maturity at one year of age. Females give birth to one yearly litter of one young, and gestation length is between 104 and 116 days.
This species is abundant in most xeric parts of the Paraguayan Chaco (Redford and Eisenberg, 1992). It was recorded at densities of 1.9 animals per km2 in the Bolivian Chaco (Cuéllar, 2002).


T. matacus is threatened by hunting for food. As it is not fossorial, it is easier to hunt than other armadillo species. It is also threatened by habitat destruction through conversion of suitable habitat to cultivated land; however, it is able to adapt to low levels of agricultural disturbance. This species is exported to zoos and for pet trade, and there is a high mortality of individuals during this export process.


T. matacus is listed as Near Threatened because this species is probably in significant decline (albeit at a rate of less than 30% over ten years) due to widespread habitat loss through much of its range, and because of exploitation for food, thus making it close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion A2cd.
T. matacus has been recorded from a number of protected areas. There is a captive population in North America.


Additional information and a complete list of references can be found in: Abba, A.M. and M. Superina (2010): The 2009/2010 Armadillo Red List Assessment. Edentata 11(2): 135-184. This article is available here.


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