Northern naked-tailed armadillo
Cabassous centralis

C. centralis ranges from Chiapas state in Mexico through Central America to western Colombia, north-western Ecuador and north-western Venezuela. It occurs from sea level to around 3,000 m asl.


C. centralis occurs in dry to moderately moist (mesic), deciduous and semi-deciduous forests, at forest edges in rocky terrain and in open habitats such as dry savanna (Reid, 1997). It has also been recorded in tropical moist montane forests, as well as in the subparamo of the Colombian Central Andean highlands (Díaz-N. and Sánchez-Giraldo, 2008). Deforestation rates are high in large parts of its range. This naked-tailed armadillo can be found in secondary forest habitat and also tolerates a moderate mix of forest and agricultural land.


It is a solitary, insectivorous species that seems to be more fossorial than other armadillos. C. centralis is apparently rare and patchily distributed. Individuals are not commonly seen or captured, which may be due to its secretive habits. The population trend is unknown.


The threats to this species are not known. Throughout most of its range, C. centralis is not hunted for food because of its pungent odor and local beliefs. The species is, however, indiscriminately hunted along its known Andean distribution. Some Andean populations are facing severe impacts due to urbanization of their natural habitat. The northern naked-tailed armadillo is distributed throughout the tropical dry forest, one of the most threatened habitats of northwestern South America, which in Colombia has been reduced to 1.5% of its original area (Etter, 1993). Although its sensitivity to habitat loss is not known and the species seems to tolerate some degree of habitat degradation, it is more common in primary, well-preserved forests. The severe habitat transformations are therefore likely to have a negative impact on the species.


C. centralis is listed as Data Deficient due to limited knowledge on the current status of extant populations and a lack of information on the impacts of habitat loss and other threats. Habitat destruction is, however, advancing at a fast pace throughout the range of C. centralis, which may soon justify its classification as Vulnerable under criterion A4c.
It has been recorded from a number of protected areas, such as Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve, Manglares Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve and Bilsa Protected Forest in Ecuador. There is a need to determine the population status of the species throughout its range, as well as potential threats.


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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