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Mastozoología neotropical

Print version ISSN 0327-9383On-line version ISSN 1666-0536


Description of digging behavior in armadillos Dasypus novemcinctus (Xenarthra: Dasypodidae). Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2018, vol.25, n.2, pp.283-291. ISSN 0327-9383.

Although digging is an essential behavior for foraging and burrow construction in the fossorial armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus, this behavior has never been clearly described. Here, we provided the first detailed description of D. novemcinctus digging activity. We observed the behaviors of eight D. novemcinctus at the Lauro de Souza Lima Institute in Bauru. Subjects were individually recorded while digging in an outdoor, former vivarium belonging to the institute. Videos were scored frame-by-frame to yield nine distinct behavioral acts. These were organized into an ethogram and a kinematic flow diagram indicating the most common behavioral transitions. From 248 sequences, we observed that digging generally began with forelimb movement, while hind-limbs were used to remove accumulated soil on the ventral side; the tail provided support against the soil. Before digging, all subjects also half-plunged their heads into the ground, thus breaking up soil. The observed behaviors corroborate the classification of D. novemcinctus as “scratch-diggers” and also clarifies species-specific aspects of digging behavior.

Keywords : Armadillos; Cingulata; Digging behavior; Ethology; Xenarthra.

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