Mucrocavia niata (Thomas, 1898)

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 : 435

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.6585510


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Mucrocavia niata


8. View Plate 25: Caviidae

Northern Mountain Cavy

Mucrocavia niata

French: Cobaye de Bolivie / German: Nordliches Zwergmeerschweinchen / Spanish: Cuy de los Andes

Other common names: Andean Mountain Cavy

Taxonomy. Cavia niata Thomas, 1898 ,

“Esperanza, a ‘tambo’in the neighbourhood of Mount Sahama, an altitude of 4000 metres in the ‘Puna’ region,” La Paz, Bolivia .

Two subspecies are recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution.


M. m. pallidior Thomas, 1902 — Oruro and N Potosi departments, SW Bolivia. View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body 190-200 mm, ear 13-22 mm, hindfoot 34-41 mm; weight 380 g. Greatest length of skull reported for the subspecies pallidiorwas 46-5 mm. The Northern Mountain Cavy is similar in appearance to the Southern Mountain Cavy (M. australis ). Dorsum is pale yellowish buff; face, cheeks, and upper surface offeet are whitish buff; and venteris whitish buffy.

Habitat. Boggy areas in Chile to sandy,salt flats in Bolivia at elevations of 3700-4000 m. At both areas, Northern Mountain Cavies occur in close proximity to burrows of tucotucos ( Ctenomys , Ctenomyidae ). They also occupy burrows, perhaps those abandoned by tuco-tucos.

Food and Feeding. Northern Mountain Cavies forage on grasses, sedges, aquatic plants ( Apiaceae ), and herbaceous vegetation ( Asteraceae ); they eat Peruvian feather grass ( Stipa ichu, Poaceae ) in Bolivia.

Breeding. Occasional observations of pregnant Northern Mountain Cavies are made in November (Bolivia) and pregnant and lactating females in February (Chile).

Activity patterns. There is no specific information available for this species, but the Northern Mountain Cavy is reportedly active from dawn to dusk.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. Observations suggest that Northern Mountain Cavies occur in multimale-multifemale colonies of up to 15 individuals. They appearto be highly territorial and aggressive, and they give alarm calls when threatened.

Status and Conservation. Classified as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List. Distribution of the Northern Mountain Cavy is large, and populations appear to be healthy.

Bibliography. Canevari & Vaccaro (2007), Dunnum (2015), Redford & Eisenberg (1992), Woods & Kilpatrick (2005).














Mucrocavia niata

Don E. Wilson, Thomas E. Lacher, Jr & Russell A. Mittermeier 2016

Cavia niata

Thomas 1898
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