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Zaedyus pichiy

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CINGULATA DASYPODIDAE

Scientific Name: Zaedyus pichiy
Species Authority: (Desmarest, 1804)
Common Name(s):
English Pichi
Spanish Piche
Taxonomic Notes: Two subspecies are described but require confirmation: Z. p. pichiy and Z. p. caurinus (Gardner 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-12-04
Assessor(s): Superina, M. & Abba, A.M.
Reviewer(s): Loughry, J.
Contributor(s): Roig, V.G., Iriarte Walton, A. & Arriagada, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Superina, M.
Justification:
Zaedyus pichiy is listed as Near Threatened as, although widespread and present in a number of protected areas, it is hunted significantly, especially in northern and eastern portions of its range, with local extinctions recorded in some areas; there is little known about the declines in the southern part of its range. It is thought likely that this species almost qualifies for a threatened category under criterion A2d due to ongoing exploitation levels, which have led to a decline in the order of 20% over three generations (suspected to be around 12 years).
History:
2010 Near Threatened
2006 Near Threatened (IUCN 2006)
2006 Near Threatened
1996 Data Deficient

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This small armadillo ranges from Argentina (San Juan and La Rioja) and eastern Chile south to the Straits of Magellan. It is found from sea level to 2,500 m Asl.
Countries:
Native:
Argentina (Buenos Aires, Chubut, Córdoba, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Neuquén, Rio Negro, San Juan, San Luis, Santa Cruz); Chile (Aisén, Biobío, Coquimbo, La Araucania, Los Lagos, Magellanes, Maule, O'Higgins, Santiago, Valparaíso)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Zaedyus pichiy is not abundant in southern Buenos Aires Province (Abba and Vizcaíno 2011), and its abundance has declined in Mendoza Province over the last 15 years (Superina 2008). No population data are available from other parts of its range, but as it is hunted throughout its range, its global population trend is declining.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This solitary species is found in desert, xeric grassland and shrubland, and Patagonian steppe habitats, always with sandy soils (including volcanic soil; Superina 2008). It can be found in some degraded habitats, such as pastureland and plantations. Animals have a relatively large home range within their arid habitat. Reproduction is restricted to the Spring months (Superina and Jahn 2009), and the female gives birth to one or two young (Superina et al. 2009). Zaedyus pichiy is the only armadillo species known to hibernate during the cold season (Superina and Boily 2007). It can enter torpor during periods of environmental stress (Superina and Jahn 2013).

It is not possible to determine their age once they reach adult size, and long-term population studies on pichis are lacking. Therefore, there are no data on the longevity, survival rates, or reproductive rates of wild pichis. Data from captive animals in Argentina show that females reach sexual maturity at 9-10 months of age, but that some females do not breed until their second year (Superina et al. 2009). Limited data from captive pichis suggest that their longevity is approximately 10 years. The generation length is thus suspected to be around 4 years
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Zaedyus pichiy is intensely used as a protein source. It is also used to make handicrafts.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Zaedyus pichiy is threatened by hunting for food and sport, including hunting with dogs. It is the main prey of poachers in Mendoza Province, Argentina (Superina 2008). An epidemic of an unknown disease has locally affected the species in some areas, and appears to be associated with rainy periods (Superina 2007, Superina et al. 2009). It is threatened to some degree by overgrazing of its habitat by cattle.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Zaedyus pichiy is present in many protected areas. Hunting of this species in Argentina and Chile continues, even though this is prohibited.

Citation: Superina, M. & Abba, A.M. 2014. Zaedyus pichiy. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
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