Cavia intermedia (Cherem, Olimpio & Ximenez, 1999)

Don E. Wilson, Thomas E. Lacher, Jr & Russell A. Mittermeier, 2016, Caviidae, Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volume 6 Lagomorphs and Rodents I, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 406-438 : 434

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.6585510


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scientific name

Cavia intermedia


6. View Plate 25: Caviidae

Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig

Cavia intermedia View in CoL

French: Cobaye du Santa Catarina / German: Santa Catarina-Meerschweinchen / Spanish: Cobaya de Santa Catarina

Other common names: Intermediate Guinea Pig, Moleques do Sul Guinea Pig

Taxonomy. Cavia intermedia Cherem, Olimpio & Ximenez, 1999 View in CoL ,

“A maior das tres ilhas que formam o Arquipélago de Moleques do Sul, a 27° 51' S, e 48° 26' W, Santa Catarina, Brazil. GoogleMaps

This species is monotypic.

Distribution. Moleques do Sul Is, Santa Catarina State, S Brazil. View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body 275-310 mm, ear 25-29 mm, hindfoot 48-55 mm; weight 495-680 g. Greatest lengths of skull are 61-5-70-1 mm. Thereis no sexual dimorphism in body size. Color and size of the Santa Catarina Guinea Pig are between those of the Brazilian Guinea Pig ( C. aperea ) and the Greater Guinea Pig ( C. magna ). Like the Greater Guinea Pig, the Santa Catarina Guinea Pig has a dark medial line, but it is grayer overall. Venteris yellowish gray, with white throat patch. Slight webbing occurs between digits, as in the Greater Guinea Pig.

Habitat. Small island dominated by rocky coastlines with no permanent streams and vegetation cover of grasses, shrubs ( Verbenaceae and Leguminoseae), and trees ( Sapindaceae and Moraceae , Ficus . The Santa Catarina Guinea Pig forms tunnels and runways in the vegetation.

Food and Feeding. Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig forages predominantly on Stenotaphrum secundatum and Paspalum vaginatum (both Poaceae ).

Breeding. Reproduction of the Santa Catarina Guinea Pig occurs year-round. Litter sizes are quite small for Cavia (1-2 young). Young are highly precocial at birth, at c.19% of adult body weight. Females reach sexual maturity at ¢.59 days.

Activity patterns. The Santa Catarina Guinea Pig is described as being primarily nocturnal, especially when foraging.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. Male and female Santa Catarina Guinea Pigs have home ranges ofsimilar size (0-05-0-35 ha), and survival rates appear to be high.

Status and Conservation. Classified as Critically Endangered on The IUCN Red List. Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig is one of the rarest mammals in the world. It is known from the Serra do Tabuleiro State Park on Moleques do Sul island, off of the coast of Santa Catarina State in Brazil. The island is only 10-5 ha in area and the entire distribution ofthis species is about 4 ha, one of the smallest known geographical distributions for a mammal. A recent (2004-2005) 16month study of the Santa Catarina’s Guinea Pig indicated a stable population density and age structure with high adult survival, but the mean number of individuals observed per month was only 42, with a range of 24-60.

Bibliography. Adrian & Sachser (2011), Cherem et al. (1999), Dunnum (2015), Dunnum & Salazar-Bravo (2010a), Gava et al. (2012), Salvador & Fernandez (2008).













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