Tolypeutes matacus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tolypeutes matacus
Species Authority: (Desmarest, 1804)
Common Name/s:
English Southern Three-banded Armadillo
Spanish Mataco Bola, Corechi, Quirquincho Bola, Tatú Bolita

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-12-11
Assessor/s: Abba, A.M. & Superina, M.
Reviewer/s: Aguero, J., Rogel, T. & Howell, J.
Contributor/s: Miranda, F., Medri, I., Rogel, T. & Moraes Tomas, W.
Tolypeutes matacus is listed as Near Threatened because this species is probably in significant decline (albeit at a rate of less than 30% over ten years) because of widespread habitat loss through much of its range, and because of exploitation for food, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion A2cd.
2006 Near Threatened (IUCN 2006)
2006 Near Threatened
1996 Lower Risk/near threatened (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:T. matacus is found from eastern Bolivia and south-western Brazil, south through the Gran Chaco of Paraguay, to Argentina (San Luis province). The species was once present in southern Buenos Aires Province (Yepes 1928) but recent surveys suggest that it is now extinct in this area (Abba and Vizcaíno 2008, A.M. Abba pers. comm. 2010). The reason for its disappearing from Buenos Aires is unknown, but may be related to climate. It ranges from sea level up to 770 m asl (Argentina).
Argentina; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Paraguay
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: T. matacus is abundant in most xeric parts of the Paraguayan Chaco (Redford and Eisenberg 1992). It was recorded at densities of 1.9 animals per km² in the Chaco (Cuéllar 2002). The wild populations are decreasing, mainly due to intense hunting and habitat loss.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This armadillo, which can roll into a ball when threatened, is found in areas of dry vegetation within the Chaco (Bolkovic et al. 1995). It has a slow reproductive rate, the females give birth to an average of 1.5 young annually.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): T. matacus is threatened by hunting for food; as it is not fossorial, it is easier to hunt than other armadillo species. It is also threatened by habitat destruction through conversion of suitable habitat to cultivated land; however, it is able to adapt to low levels of agricultural disturbance. This species is exported to zoos and for pet trade, and there is a high mortality of individuals during this export process.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: T. matacus has been recorded from a number of protected areas. There is a captive population in North America.

Bibliography [top]

Abba, A. M. and Vizcaíno, S. F. 2008. Los xenartros (Mammalia: Xenarthra) del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ?Bernardino Rivadavia? y el Museo de La Plata. Contribuciones del MACN 4: 1-37.

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Bolkovic, M. L., S. M. Caziani, and J. J. Protomastro. 1995. Food habits of the three-banded armadillo (Xenarthra: Dasypodidae) in the dry Chaco, Argentina. Journal of Mammalogy 76: 1199-1204.

Cuellar, E. 2002. Census of the three-banded armadillo Tolypeutes matacus using dogs, southern Chaco, Bolivia. Mammalia 66: 448-451.

Gardner, A. L. 1993. Order Xenarthra. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Second Edition, pp. 63-68. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Gardner, A. L. 2005. Order Cingulata. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition., pp. 94-99. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at: (Accessed: 29 June 2010).

Redford, K. H. and Eisenberg, J. F. 1992. Mammals of the Neotropics, The Southern Cone: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Tarifa, T. 2009. Tolypeutes matacus. In: Aguirre, L.F., Aguayo, R., Balderrama, J.A., Cortez, C., Tarifa, T., and Rocha O., O. (eds), Libro rojo de la fauna silvestre de vertebrados de Bolivia, pp. 499-502. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Agua, La Paz.

Yepes, J. 1928. Los Edentata argentinos. Revista Universitaria de Buenos Aires 2a(1): 1-50.

Citation: Abba, A.M. & Superina, M. 2010. Tolypeutes matacus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 16 April 2014.
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