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Overview

Distribution

Lyncodon patagonicus has a distribution within the Neotropical region. Its range is from the southern and western parts of Argentina into Chile (Redford and Eisenberg, 1992).

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

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Range Description

The species is found in temperate arid and semiarid portions of Argentina and southern Chile (Prevosti and Pardiñas, 2001). It is known to occur from Salta Province south along the western part of the country to Santa Cruz Province, and then into Chile along the southern Argentine border (Tell et al. 2001).
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Physical Description

Morphology

The head and body length of Lyncodon patagonicus ranges from 300 to 350 mm, with the tail adding an additional 60 to 90 mm (Nowak, 1999). Patagonian weasels have a dental formula of 3/3, 1/1, 2/2, 1/1= 28 (Mares, 1989). They have very small ears that are covered by the surrounding fur. Generally, the the fur is whitish with some dark brown and black tones intermixed. From the top of the head to along its backside there is a distinguishable broad white or yellowish band of fur. Lyncodon patagonicus has short legs, a long body, and a short bushy tail (Redford and Eisenberg, 1992).

Average mass: 225 g.

Range length: 300 to 350 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

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Ecology

Habitat

There is not a lot known about the habitat of L. patagonicus. The little research there is on this species suggests that Patagonian weasels are found in Pampas habitats that have light-colored substrates excluding deserts (Gittleman, 1996).

Habitat Regions: temperate

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Lyncodon patagonicus is found in herbaceous and shrub steppes and xerophytic woodlands (Osgood, 1943; Prevosti and Pardiñas, 2001). Its habits are little known; available data indicate that L. patagonicus is nocturnal-crepuscular and that it preys on fossorial rodents and birds (Cabrera and Yepes, 1940; Koslowsky, 1904; Redford and Eisenberg, 1992). May be assopciated with tuc-tuc (Ctenomys spp.) communities (Tell et al. 2001).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Trophic Strategy

The specific food habits of Patagonian weasels are little known, but the fact that this species has reduced molars and well-formed carnassials suggests that it is primarily carnivorous (Ewer, 1973). Patagonian weasels have been noted to enter burrows of Ctenomys and Microcavia in pursuit of prey.

Animal Foods: mammals

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates)

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Associations

Because the dietary habits of this animal are not known, it is difficult to speculate on the role it plays within its ecosystem. However, L. patagonicus likely plays some role in regulating small rodent populations.

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Predation on this species has not been reported.

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Known prey organisms

Lyncodon patagonicus preys on:
Microcavia australis

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan and longevity of this species are unknown.

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Reproduction

The mating system and behavior of Patagonian weasles remains unknown at this time. However, most mustelids associate only briefly during the mating season. Males have territories that overlap with those of several females and they monitor their reproductive state through chemical cues.

The reproductive behavior of this species has not been characterized.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous

Parental care in L. patagonicus is as unknown as the rest of the species' reproductive behavior. As in all mammals, the female nurses her young. Mustelids in general produce altricial young, which reside in a den or burrow until their eyes are open and they are able to walk. At this time, young weasels typically accompany their mother on foraging trips.

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Although this species has no special status, it is reportedly rare in Chile (Nowak, 1999)

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Kelt, D. & Pardinus, U.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Data Deficient as it is poorly known with few specimens deposited in museum collections (Redford and Eisenberg 1992, Prevosti and Pardiñas 2001, Prevosti et al. 2009) and there is no published information on current population status or major threats. Recent investigations have begun adding new localities, which are expanding the known range - but which need further work and synthesis. It is suspected that with further study, this species may be found to be appropriately listed as Least Concern, however, the category of Data Deficient is maintained until the impacts of habitat conversion, retaliatory killing and hunting are evaluated as declines may be greater than currently observed.
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Population

Population
This species is suspected to be rare and occur at low densities across its range, however, it is inferred to be locally common around appropriate resources. Miller et al. (1983) considered this species to be rare in Chile. New locality records were reported for northern Patagonia, Argentina (Teta et al., 2007).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
There are likely few direct threats to this species, although habitat degradation (due to sheep grazing) and occasional killing by ranchers are local threats.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is not often seen in the wild or collected. It is possible – even likely – that this species occurs in several protected areas in western Argentina (Nahuel Huapi, Lanin, Lago Puelo, Los Alerces ) or in southern Patagonia (Perito Moreno, Los Glaciares), although most of these emphasize forested habitats rather than open terrain. Further survey efforts are necessary usign appropiate techniques for the species.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

No adverse affects on humans have been reported.

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This weasel has reportedly been kept by some ranchers as a working pet to destroy rats (Nowak, 1999).

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Patagonian weasel

The Patagonian weasel (Lyncodon patagonicus) is a small mustelid that is the only member of the genus Lyncodon.[1] Its geographic range is the Pampas of western Argentina and sections of Chile. An early mention of the animal is in the Journal of Syms Covington, who sailed with Charles Darwin on his epic voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.

Description[edit]

The Patagonian weasel has a head and body length of 300-350 mm (11.8 - 13.8 inches), with a 60–90 mm (2.4 - 3.5 in) tail. Its fur is whitish with black and dark brown tones mixed in. It has small ears, short legs and a bushy tail. The animal has not been thoroughly studied in the wild, and knowledge of its behavioral patterns is unsure. It reportedly has been kept as a working pet by local ranchers to destroy rodents.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 608. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
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