Tolypeutes tricinctus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tolypeutes tricinctus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-10-03
Assessor(s): Miranda, F., Moraes-Barros, N., Superina, M. & Abba, A.M.
Reviewer(s): Loughry, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Abba, A.M.
Tolypeutes tricinctus is listed as Vulnerable because of a population decline—estimated to be more than 30% over the last 10-15 years—inferred from ongoing exploitation and habitat loss and degradation. A reassessment is being carried out at the national level in Brazil, which may result an update of the global IUCN Red List assessment for this species.
2010 Vulnerable
2006 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Tolypeutes tricinctus is endemic to Brazil, where it has been recorded from the states of Bahia, Ceará, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, Piauí, Maranhão (eastern portion), Mato Grosso (extreme central eastern portion), Goiás (extreme north), Minas Gerais (extreme north-west), Tocantins (eastern portion), Paraíba, and Rio Grande do Norte (Oliveira 1995, Anacleto et al. 2006, Oliveira et al. 2007, Zimbres et al. 2012).
Brazil (Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Goiás, Maranhão, Minas Gerais, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Tocantins)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Tolypeutes tricinctus was believed to be extinct until its rediscovery in 1988 in a handful of scattered localities (Santos et al. 1994). It has probably disappeared over much of its range, but it is difficult to survey its populations (Nowak 1999). This armadillo has a patchy distribution; population densities may be relatively high within certain patches (J. Marinho-Filho pers. comm. 2010), except in areas where the species is exposed to human pressure. Population density has been estimated at 1.2 animals per km2 in the Cerrado (Bocchiglieri 2010), but is expected to be considerably lower in areas with hunting pressure.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Tolypeutes tricinctus mainly occurs in caatinga habitat (dry thorn scrub of north-eastern Brazil), but it is also found in the eastern parts of cerrado habitat (bush savanna in central Brazil). Significant habitat loss has been recorded in its range, especially in the Cerrado. It is not adapted to digging and life underground. When threatened, it has the habit of rolling into an easily portable ball.

In a study near Jaborandi (Bahia), the mean home range was estimated at 122 hectares, with adult males having significantly larger home ranges (238 hectares) than females (Guimarães 1997). Guimarães (1997) observed an overlap of the home ranges of males and females, as well as of adult males of varying age. In the latter, the overlap was restricted to a small area at the edge of their home ranges.

There are no direct data on wild individuals to be able to estimate generation length for T. tricinctus. This species is rarely kept in captivity, but data from the captive population of the closely related T. matacus in North America indicate a mean generation time for captive individuals as 7.73 years. However, this estimate may be skewed due to management practices (J. Gramieri pers. comm). Generation length for Tolypeutes in the wild is likely to be shorter than for captive individuals. In the absence of more direct life history data, a generation length of 5 years is used here for T. tricinctus.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is hunted for food.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Tolypeutes tricinctus is threatened by heavy hunting pressure and habitat loss. In the Caatinga, the remaining populations are practically isolated in protected areas and are subjected to subsistence hunting. In the Cerrado, the main populations live outside protected areas and are especially threatened by conversion of their natural habitat to sugar cane and soybean plantations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Tolypeutes tricinctus has been observed in Serra da Capivara and Serra das Confusões National Parks, both in southern Piauí (Marinho-Filho and Lima 2008). It is present in the Grande Sertão Veredas National Park, northern Minas Gerais (M.L. Lima pers. comm. 2010). It was also recorded in the Ecological Station of Serra Geral do Tocantins and Jalapão State Park (Tocantins), as well as in the Raso da Catarina Biological Reserve and Veredas do Oeste baiano Wildlife Refuge (Bahia; Marinho-Filho and Lima 2008, M.L. Lima pers. comm. 2010). No protected areas exist in the area of highest population density (J. Marinho-Filho pers. comm. 2010).

According to distribution models, less than three percent of the potential range of this species lies within integral protection conservation units, while an additional five percent of its potential range fall within sustainable use conservation units (Zimbres et al. 2012).

Bibliography [top]

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Citation: Miranda, F., Moraes-Barros, N., Superina, M. & Abba, A.M. 2014. Tolypeutes tricinctus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 July 2015.
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