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Four new species of tuco-tucos identified from Bolivia
Date:7/18/2014

species of mammals will eventually be found in the area.

As many as 65 tuco-tuco species are known to exist throughout South America. With the four new species, there have been a dozen found in Bolivia alone.

The new tuco-tuco species were described in a research paper published earlier this month in a special publication of the Museum of Texas Tech University (No. 62, June 17).

Gardner collaborated on the project with curators at the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and with the American Museum of Natural History in New York. His co-authors were Jorge Salazar-Bravo of Texas Tech's Department of Biological Sciences and Joseph A. Cook of the University of New Mexico.

Identification of the new species was the result of National Science Foundation-funded work Gardner began as a graduate student in the 1980s. He was interested in learning more about the parasites that infested tuco-tucos, but first needed to distinguish the rodent species.

"As we went along, it turned out these species were more unique than we realized and we collected more and more as we moved through different places," Gardner recalled. "It turned out we could actually tell they were different by looking at their chromosomes and their DNA sequences."

Gardner assembled the data and examined a couple hundred specimens collected over three decades.

Each species was named for colleagues, some of whom participated on the project. Ctenomys erikacuellarae was named in honor of Erika Cuellar, a Rolex award-winning conservation biologist from Bolivia who participated in field expeditions as a student in the 1990s. Ctenomys yatesi was named in honor of the late Terry L. Yates, curator of the Mammal Division of the Museum of Southwestern Biology and later a vice president of the University of New Mexico. Ctenomys andersoni was named in honor of Sydney Anderson, expedition leader and curator emeritus of the De
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Contact: Scott Gardner
slg@unl.edu
402-472-3334
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Source:Eurekalert  

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Four new species of  tuco-tucos identified from Bolivia
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