Pink fairy armadillo

Pink Fairy Armadillo

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The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest recognized species of armadillo. It exists in the sandy plains and dry grasslands of central Argentina and additional parts of South America. The animal is also identified as ‘the sand swimmer’ because of its uncanny capability to burrow and navigate underground.

The pink fairy armadillo will consume the vast majority of its life underground. Pink fairy armadillos have tiny eyes, silky yellowish white fur, and a flexible dorsal shell solely attributed to its body by a thin dorsal membrane.

Content overview

Evolutionary origins

Characteristics

Appearance

Behavior

Habitat

Diet

Conservation

Predators, Threats and disease

Interesting Facts

Evolutionary origins

At present, fairy armadillos have minor molecular data obtainable within the armadillo family. This family comprises only 2 existing species of fairy armadillo: Chlamyphorus truncatus (pink fairy armadillo) and Chlamyphorus retusus (chacoan or greater fairy armadillo).

These two species are morphologically related: both have reputably reduced eyes and strengthened forearms that help enlarged digging claws. It is also one of some mammals that do not have outer ears visible. Both varieties are specialized in experimental lifestyles generated in their ancestral lineage sometime between 32 and 17 Mya.

Both species have allopathic combinations; both are rigidly nocturnal, but the aspects of their ecology and population biology remain forgotten. The similarities can be explained by the presence of shared general ancestry, which would confirm the monophyly of both species or by the outcome of adaptive convergence due to particularly advanced pressures produced by their lifestyle.

Characteristics

Pink Fairy Armadillo Facts

  • Main Prey: Ants, worms, plant material
  • Habitat: Dry Grasslands and Sandy Plains
  • Predators: Domestic Dogs
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Average Litter Size: 1
  • Lifestyle: Solitary
  • Favorite Food: Ants
  • Type: Mammal
  • Slogan: The smallest known species of Armadillo

Pink Fairy Armadillo Physical Characteristics

  • Colour: Pale Rose or Pink
  • Skin Type: Hard Shell
  • Lifespan: 5 – 10 years
  • Weight: 120g (4.2 oz)
  • Length: 90mm -115mm (3.5in – 4.5in)

Pink Fairy Armadillo Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Cingulata
  • Family: Dasypodidae
  • Genus: Chlamyphorus
  • Scientific Name: Chlamyphorus truncatus
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Appearance

The pink fairy armadillo is exceptionally elusive, consuming the maximum of its life under the ground. It is also nighttime, only emerging at night to find the food. Like another fossorial species, the pink fairy armadillo has claws on its front legs employed for digging, a fusiform body shape, and minimal eye size. It also has a carapace.

Size: Pink fairy armadillos are the smallest existing armadillo species. Adults have a body size of about 3.5 inches or 90 millimeters to 4.5 inches or 115 millimeters.

Weight: The pink fairy armadillos seem like small existent armadillos. They are no bigger than 3.5-4.5 in and weigh around 120 g (4.2 oz).

Body Color: The pink fairy armadillo is essentially identified due to its dorsal shell, a rose pink color.

Eyes: Pink fairy armadillos have small eyes, silky yellowish white fur, and a flexible dorsal shell that is solely attributed to its body by a thin dorsal membrane.

Teeth: Like most armadillos, they have simple teeth that require enamel and are of the same type, also called homodont. In total, the pink fairy armadillo has 28 teeth.

Tail: The pink fairy armadillo has a spatula-like tail that extrudes from its shell. It is attached to the shell through a thin membrane along the spine, and the tail is connected to the vertical plate of the shell.

Behavior

The pink fairy armadillo’s shell is not primarily employed for protection. Instead, the primary function is for thermoregulation. The armadillo can flush the blood vessels in its shell and regulate its body temperature. For example, if the armadillo reveals more blood to the cool air, it can reduce its temperature.

The pink fairy armadillo’s shell is also not completely attached to its body. Due to their low basal metabolic rates, pink fairy armadillos have a low body temperature and a high thermal conductance. Their metabolic rate is up to 60 percent lower than what has ordinarily demanded a mammal of that body mass. This permits the pink fairy armadillo to maintain its body temperature while in its burrow.

Habitat

This narrow range includes a unique and essential habitat for the pink fairy armadillo. It exists in scrubby grasslands that perform various thin Larrea and Portulaca shrubs throughout the spring and summer seasons. It also lives in sandy fields and dunes.

The pink fairy armadillo is categorized as a subterranean armadillo that is remarkably susceptible to environmental fluctuations and stress. To sustain and preserve stability, they must maintain cool places that include compact sand and hiding areas.

Diet

The pink fairy armadillo is categorized as a fossorial generalist insectivore. The primary source of its food consists of ants and larvae it obtains underground. While those are its primary food sources, the armadillos are distinguished from eating worms, snails, and different insects. Plant leaves and roots make a superb secondary dietary alternative for their underground lifestyle if these insects and invertebrates are not found.

In captivity, this animal was perceived to willingly admit such foods as watermelon, avocado shells with flesh, and Mazuri Insectivore Diet.

Conservation

In 2006, the armadillo was grouped in the near-threatened category on the IUCN Red List. In 2008, it was moved to the insufficient data section due to the absence of scientific data on its community dynamics and natural history.

Researchers have discovered that the pink fairy armadillo is highly subjected to stress, creating any conservation policies unsuccessful and complicated. Any adjustments in its environment, outside temperature, or diet are recognized to trigger the stress response, which is supposed a possible reason for the breakdown of captivity attempts.

This armadillo species is discovered in many sheltered areas, including the Lihué Calel National Park. In addition, both national and provincial legislation is in the yard, explicitly preserving the species.

Predators, Threats and disease

The most apparent predator for pink fairy armadillos is domestic dogs and cats. Because the armored shell on the animal’s back offers minimal protection, the creature usually retreats underground as a primary protection mechanism. However, humans can be harmful to the pink fairy armadillo in various ways.

The animal frequently falls prey to vehicles while trying to cross a road. It is expected that more than 95 percent of pink fairy armadillos that fall into captivity die within eight days of being caught.

According to the investigation gathered, the population of the pink fairy armadillo proceeds to decrease, resulting in the animal being listed as a Threatened species since 1970.

Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the pink fairy armadillos.

  • Pumps blood through its shell to regulate body temperature!
  • At approximately 13cm in length, it is so small it can fit in your hand!
  • Also known as ‘the sand swimmer’ because of how quickly and easily they can navigate underground!
  • The only armadillo species whose dorsal shell is not completely attached to its body!
  • The pink color of their shell is due to a network of blood vessels underneath, which can be seen through the armor.
  • Scientists believe the pink fairy armadillo shell helps with thermoregulation.
  • Pink fairy armadillos are extremely sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, and stress can be devastating.

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