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Brief Summary

    Greater fairy armadillo: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    The greater fairy armadillo (Calyptophractus retusus), also known as Burmeister's armadillo or the Chacoan fairy armadillo, is a species of armadillo in the family Chlamyphoridae. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland and subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is the only species in the genus Calyptophractus.

    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors

    Found in the Chaco region of western and central Bolivia, Paraguay, and extreme northern Argentina, thegreater fairy armadillo (Calyptophractus retusus) has a head and body length of 140 — 175 mm (5.5 — 6.9 in) and a tail length35 mm (1.4 in).

    C. retusus is larger than the lesser or pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus). The shell plates are whitish or yellowish brown. Body hair is whitish and wooly. C. retusus resembles C. truncatus except the shell is securely attached to the body along its entire length, and the tail is rounded and partly covered with plates.

    The greater fairy armadillo inhabits dry grasslands and sandy plains with thorn bushes and cactus. C. retususfeeds primarily on ants and ant larvae; they are also known to eat worms, snails, roots and other plant material.

    C. retusus is not as rapid a burrower as C. truncatus; it probably presses its body close to the ground rather than burrowing if it is threatened. C. retusus has been reported to emit cries similar to those of human infants.

    C. retusus is listed by the IUCN as vulnerable due to habitat loss and predation by domestic dogs. It does not do well in captivity.

Comprehensive Description

Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Calyptophractus retusus (greater fairy armadillos) is native to South America. These armadillos inhabit the Gran Chaco region of western and central Boliva, northern Argentina and Paraguay.

    Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

Morphology

    Morphology
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The distinguishing characteristic of Calyptophractus retusus (along with a similar species, Chlamyphorus truncatus) is its pelvic armor, which is firmly attached to the spine and pelvic bones, unlike other members of the family Dasypodidae. The soft dorsal armor is entirely fused to the skin, and there are 24 dorsal bands that are mobile due to the soft tissue between them. The white hair is sparse on the dorsal surface, but dense and woolly on the underbelly. There are curved claws on the hands and powerful, sharp claws designed for burrowing on the feet. The soft armor appears to be cut off at the end, making it appear truncated. The head shield is less well-defined than is that of Chlamyphorus truncatus, and it lacks a posterior row of large scutes. Total body length ranges from 140 to 175 mm and tail length is about 35 mm. The teeth are small and peg-like.

    Average mass: 1 kg.

    Other Physical Features: endothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

    Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

Habitat

    Habitat
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Calyptophractus retusus inhabits the dry grasslands of Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. They lives in underground burrows in warm and dry soils. They often burrow near anthills.

    Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

    Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

Trophic Strategy

    Trophic Strategy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The eating habits of Calyptophractus retusus are similar to those of other armadillos. They eat insects, insect larvae, worms, snails, roots, and small seeds, although an individual held in captivity was able to live off of boiled rice and grapefruit.

    Animal Foods: eggs; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks; terrestrial worms

    Plant Foods: roots and tubers; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit

    Primary Diet: omnivore

Behavior

    Behavior
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

    Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Life Expectancy

    Life Expectancy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Average life span is twelve to fifteen years.

    Typical lifespan
    Status: wild:
    12 to 15 years.

Reproduction

    Reproduction
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The reproductive behavior of Calyptophractus retusus has not been studied in great detail because this species is extremely rare and has never bred in captivity. After mating occurs, the fertilized egg remains in the female's uterus for up to several months. The exact gestation period is unknown, but it can be inferred that it is similar to the average armadillo gestation period (120 days). Calyptophractus retusus gives birth to several offspring at a time; the usual litter size is four. Amazingly, these offspring are the result of a single egg. In other words, this particular species gives birth to quadruplets on a regular basis!

    When its young are born, their armor is soft, and it takes several weeks for it to harden. However, young greater fairy armadillos are able to walk within hours of birth. For most armadillos, weaning takes place within several weeks of birth. The specific length of time for the greater fairy armadillo is unknown. The average sexual maturity is six to twelve months.

    Average number of offspring: 4.

    Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 6 to 12 months.

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

Conservation Status

    Conservation Status
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Specific threats to Calyptophractus retusus are poorly known, but these animals are rare and endangered. Their natural habitat is shrinking at a steady pace as a result of conversion to agriculture, and there is little protected land in the areas where they live. For example, 2.88% of land in Paraguay is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife. Domestic dogs and over-collecting also pose a threat to greater fairy armadillos.

    US Federal List: no special status

    CITES: no special status

    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient

Benefits

    Benefits
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    South American armadillos have been known to host the parasitic insects that carry Chagas' disease, but there have not been any documented cases of Calyptophractus retusus hosting the disease.

    Benefits
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Because some armadillo species are known to suffer from leprosy, they have been used in research efforts to find new treatments for this disease. Armadillos may help to control insect pests.

    Positive Impacts: research and education; controls pest population

Other Articles

    Untitled
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Calyptophractus retusus was discovered in 1859 by Hermann Burmeister in Bolivia. A native person showed him the mummified remains of an animal that he was unfamilar with, and it was brought to various institutions for further study. Greater fairy armadillos were previously known as Chlamyphorus retusus.