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Viscacha


Viscachas or vizcachas are rodents of two genera (lagidium and lagostomus) in the family Chinchillidae. They are closely related to chinchillas. There are five extant species of viscacha:

Extant species

Plains viscacha (Lagostomus maximus): Resident of the Pampas of Argentina, easily differentiated from other viscachas by black and gray mustache-like facial markings. This species lives colonially in warrens of ten to over one hundred. It is very vocal and emits alarm calls. The plains viscacha can strip grassland used to graze livestock; this caused ranchers to consider the rodent a pest species.

Lagidium ahuacaense: a newly described species of mountain viscacha from the Ecuadorean Andes.

Northern viscacha (Lagidium peruanum): Native to the Peruvian Andes at those elevations between the tree line and the snow line. It is dorsally gray or brown in color, with a bushy tail and long, furry ears. This species lives in large colonies separated into individual family units, like an apartment complex. It eats a wide range of plant matter, settling for almost anything it can find growing in the harsh, rocky environment.

Mountain viscacha (Lagidium viscacia): Also called southern viscacha, this species is similar to the northern viscacha, but its pelage is more red in color. It lives in similar habitat in the Andes.

Wolffsohn's viscacha (Lagidium wolffsohni): Little is known about this species, as it is rarer than the other three viscachas.

Extinct species

Lagostomus crassus: a species known from a single fossil skull specimen.

See also

Chinchilla

References

Werner, F. A., K. J. Ledesma, and R. Hidalgo B. 2006. Mountain vizcacha (Lagidium cf. peruanum) in Ecuador - First record of Chinchillidae from the Northern Andes. Mastozoologia Neotropical, 13:271-274.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Viscacha


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