Microcavia australis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Caviidae

Scientific Name: Microcavia australis (I. Geoffroy & d’Orbigny, 1833)
Common Name(s):
English Southern Mountain Cavy
Taxonomic Notes:

There are three recognized subspecies.

M. a. australis I. Geoffroy St.-Hilaire and d’Orbigny, 1833 – Southern Buenos Aires province west to San Juan and south to Santa Cruz province

M. a. maenas Thomas, 1898 – Mountainous regions of La Rioja, Catamarca, Salta and Jujuy provinces in northwestern Argentina.

M. a. salinia Thomas, 1921 – salt flat regions of Catamarca and La Rioja, southwestern Santiago del Estero, northwestern Córdoba to northern San Luis, all in Argentina

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-03-01
Assessor(s): Roach, N.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Ojeda, R. & Pardiñas, U.
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:There are three recognized subspecies. M. a. australis is found from southern Buenos Aires to San Juan, and south to the Santa Cruz province. M. a. maenas is found in the mountainous regions of the La Rioja, Catamarca, Salta and Jujuy provinces in northwestern Argentina. M. a. salinia is found in the salt flat regions of Catamarca and La Rioja, southwestern Santiago del Estero, and northwestern Cordoba to northern San Luis in Argentina (Lacher in press).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Chile
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Locally it can occur in high abundance (Cofre and Marquet 1999).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occurs in arid and semiarid lowlands and valleys (Tognelli et al. 2001). In southwestern Argentina, it prefers riparian habitats, forested areas, or sandy forested flats (Redford and Eisenberg 1992). In Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, the species lives in areas without ground vegetation cover where thornbushes (Schinus fasciculatus, Condalia microphylla) are the predominant vegetation (Rood 1970). In the Monte Desert of Mendoza Province, Argentina, species burrows were found near plants with low branches (Ojeda and Mares 1989, Tognelli et al. 1995) and specifically with the plant species Condalia microphylla (Tognelli et al. 1995). They can be found in disturbed habitats, including cultivated areas, rock walls and rock piles (Lacher 2016). They are herbivorous, feeding on leaves, grasses, shoots, buds, fruits and sometimes bark. Males form linear dominance hierarchies within colonies. These colonies vary in size from 4 to 38. Male home ranges are larger than those of females, and average 0.75 ha. Their mating system is promiscuous to polygynous (Lacher 2016). Mean litter size is 2.8 and the gestation period is 53 – 55 days. Young are born at about 30 g. Age at first reproduction is 85 days and females exhibit a post-partum oestrous (Lacher 2016). They reproduce from August to April with the majority of litters born between September and October (Rood 1970). In captivity, the mean gestation period was 54-60 days (Rood 1970) with a mean litter size of three (range 1-5; Rood 1972).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to the species throughout its range. Several local extinctions were reported due to over-predation by the minor grison (Galictis cuja), a small native mustelid (Rood 1970, 1972).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in several protected areas.

Citation: Roach, N. 2016. Microcavia australis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T13319A22189827. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided