Greater fairy armadillo
Calyptophractus retusus

This species occurs in the Gran Chaco region of central and south-eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay, and extreme northern Argentina. Two records reported from farther south by Redford and Eisenberg (1992) are not confirmed. A continuing decline is inferred due to habitat conversion and degradation.


C. retusus is restricted to loose, sandy soils. It is patchily distributed and absent from areas with clayey soils. It can be found in disturbed habitat, and may be encountered close to villages and other populated areas.


Due to the lack of field studies, virtually nothing is known about the biology or population status of this small armadillo. Populations are probably severely fragmented, as the greater fairy armadillo only inhabits loose sandy soils that are not common in the Paraguayan Chaco.


The greater fairy armadillo is threatened by habitat loss in the Chaco region. It is persecuted because of traditional beliefs concerning the animal as an omen of disaster (Cuéllar, 2001; Noss et al., 2008).


C. retusus is classified as Data Deficient because virtually nothing is known about this species. It is known to be patchily distributed in appropriate microhabitats that are subjected to ongoing habitat loss. The species is actively persecuted throughout its range, and a population reduction in the order of 20-25% over the past 10 years is not unlikely. It has been recorded in a number of protected areas in Bolivia (Cuéllar and Noss, 2003), and Reserva Natural General Pizarro in Salta, Argentina (Regidor et al., 2005). In Paraguay, it is known from Defensores del Chaco National Park (Meritt, 2008).


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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