Dolichotis patagonum


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Dolichotis patagonum
Species Authority: (Zimmermann, 1780)
Common Name(s):
English Patagonian Cavy, Patagonian Hare, Patagonian Mara
Spanish Mara O Liebre Patagónica
Taxonomic Notes: Generic synonym Pediolagus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Ojeda, R. & Pardinas, U.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Near Threatened because, although it is widespread, its populations are declining due to loss of habitat, competition with large introduced herbivores and hunting, probably at a rate close to 30% over ten years. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion A2cde.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in Argentina, from Bolson de Pipanaco, Catamarca Province at approx 28 degrees south to 50 degrees south (Woods and Kilpatrick, 2005). Subspecies D. p. centricola occurs in Catamarca Province, the eastern region of La Rioja Province, the northwest of Cordoba Province, and the southwest of Santiago del Estero Province (Cabrera, 1953). Subspecies D. p. patagonum occurs in the central area of Buenos Aires Province, the south of Cordoba Province, San Luis and Mendoza Provinces, and to the south of Argentina to Santa Cruz Province (Cabrera, 1953).
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is decreasing and the species is not easily found (Ojeda, R. pers. comm.).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species occurs in lowland habitats, including forest and creosote bush (Larrea) flats in northwestern Argentina (Campos et al., 2001). It prefers habitats with shrub cover but will also use overgrazed and bared soils in the Monte Desert biome (Kufner and Chambouleyron, 1991). Maras are herbivores (Kufner and Duranona, 1991). In southern Argentina, breeding is from August to January (Taber and Macdonald, 1992) and in Patagonia, most births occur between September and October (Taber, 1987). In captivity, maras produce three or four litters each year (Dubost and Genest, 1974), but in the wild, most females produce only one litter annually (Taber, 1987). Average litter size is two (range, 1-3) (Campos et al. 2001).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat destruction for agriculture, and hunting for their skins have resulted in localized extinctions such as Buenos Aires Province (Cabrera, 1953). The species competes with large, introduced herbivores such as sheep and the European hare (Jayat, J. pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in at least 12 protected areas. It is categorized as Vulnerable in the Red Book of Mammals of Argentina (Diaz and Ojeda, 2000).

Bibliography [top]

Cabrera, A. 1953. Los roedores argentinos de la familia Caviidae. Publicaciones de la Escuela Veterinaria, Universidad de Buenos Aires 6: 1-93.

Campos, C. M., Tognelli, M. F. and Ojeda, R. A. 2001. Dolichotis patagonum. Mammalian Species 652: 1-5.

Genest, H. and Dubost, G. 1974. Pair living in the mara (Dolichotis patagonum Z.). Mammalia 38: 155-162.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Kufner, M. B. and Chambouleyron, M. B. 1991. Actividad espacial de Dolichotis patagonum en relacion a la estructura de la vegetacion en el Monte Argentino. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 26: 249-255.

Kufner, M. B. and Duranona, G. 1991. Consumo y eficiencia digestiva del mara, Dolichotis patagonum (Rodentia: Caviidae). Ecologia Australia 1: 50-55.

Taber, A. B. 1987. The behavioural ecology of the mara Dolichotis patagonum. Thesis, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

Taber, A. B. and Macdonald, D. W. 1992. Communal breeding in the mara, Dolichotis patagonum. Journal of Zoology: proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 227: 439-452.

Woods, C. A. and Kilpatrick, C. W. 2005. Infraorder Hystricognathi. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 1538-1599. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Citation: Ojeda, R. & Pardinas, U. 2008. Dolichotis patagonum. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 02 April 2015.
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