Ctenomys boliviensis

Tuco-tuco

[too-koh-too-koh]

The tuco-tucos are members of a group of rodents that belong to the family Ctenomyidae. The tuco-tucos belong to a single genus: Ctenomys, but they include some 50 different species. The relationships among the species are debated by taxonomists. Their closest relatives are degus and other octodontids (Woods and Kilpatrick, 2005). All species of tuco-tuco are found in South America. The tuco-tucos of South America have an ecological role equivalent to that of the pocket gophers of North America.

Tuco-tucos are heavily built with short legs. Their skin is loosely applied, possibly to slide about the tunnels they create. They have long forefeet for burrowing, and bristled hind feet for grooming. They also have large heads, small ears, and hairy tails. Their body ranges in size from in length, and they can weigh up to .

Among their most notable features is that various members of the genus exhibit differing levels of genetic variability and sociality, with a tendency for the most social species (e.g., Ctenomys sociabilis) to have the least genetic variation

Species

Argentine Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys argentinus)
Azara's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys azarae)
Bolivian Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys boliviensis)
Bonetto's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys bonettoi)
Brazilian Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys brasiliensis)
Catamarca Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys knighti)
Chacoan Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys dorsalis)
Colburn's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys colburni)
Collared Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys torquatus)
Conover's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys conoveri)
Emily's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys emilianus)
Flammarion's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys flammarioni)
Forest Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys frater)
Furtive Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys occultus)
Goya Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys perrensis)
Haig's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys haigi)
Highland Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys opimus)
Lewis' Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys lewisi)
Magellanic Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys magellanicus)
Maule Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys maulinus)
Mendoza Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys mendocinus)
Mottled Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys latro)
Natterer's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys nattereri)
Pearson's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys pearsoni)
Peruvian Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys peruanus)
Porteous' Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys porteousi)
Rio Negro's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys rionegrensis)
Robust Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys tuconax)
Salta Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys saltarius)
San Luis Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys pontifex)
Silky Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sericeus)
Social Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sociabilis)
Southern Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys australis)
Steinbach's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys steinbachi)
Strong Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys validus)
Talas Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys talarum)
Tawny Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys fulvus)
Tiny Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys minutus)
Tucuman Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys tucumanus)
White-Toothed Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys leucodon)

Tuco-tucos in popular culture

Tuco-tucos, due to their habits of burrowing underground, are largely unknown in popular culture. However recently the tuco-tuco did appear in the video game Pitfall in 2003. In Pitfall, the tuco-tucos are burrowing rabbit-like creatures that do practically nothing except pop out of their burrows. There are few times when in the game tuco-tucos interact with the simulated environment. One such example is a tuco-tuco impaled on a spit in a native village, which was eaten by the NPC Luis Faour.

References

  • Woods C. A. and C. W. Kilpatrick. 2005. Hystricognathi pp. 1538-1600 in D. E. Wilson and M. A. Reeder, eds. Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition, p. 1538-1600.

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