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Fossil range: Late Pliocene–Recent
Female Patagonian Tuco-tuco
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Hystricomorpha
Infraorder: Hystricognathi
Parvorder: Caviomorpha
Superfamily: Octodontoidea
Family: Ctenomyidae
Lesson, 1842
Genus: Ctenomys
Blainville, 1826

Ctenomys argentinus
Ctenomys australis
Ctenomys azarae
Ctenomys bergi
Ctenomys boliviensis
Ctenomys bonettoi
Ctenomys brasiliensis
Ctenomys budini
Ctenomys colburni
Ctenomys coludo
Ctenomys conoveri
Ctenomys coyhaiquensis
Ctenomys dorbignyi
Ctenomys dorsalis
Ctenomys emilianus
Ctenomys famosus
Ctenomys flamarioni
Ctenomys fochi
Ctenomys fodax
Ctenomys frater
Ctenomys fulvus
Ctenomys goodfellowi
Ctenomys haigi
Ctenomys johannis
Ctenomys juris
Ctenomys knighti
Ctenomys lami
Ctenomys latro
Ctenomys leucodon
Ctenomys lewisi
Ctenomys magellanicus
Ctenomys maulinus
Ctenomys mendocinus
Ctenomys minutus
Ctenomys occultus
Ctenomys opimus
Ctenomys osvaldoreigi
Ctenomys pearsoni
Ctenomys perrensi
Ctenomys peruanus
Ctenomys pilarensis
Ctenomys pontifex
Ctenomys porteousi
Ctenomys pundti
Ctenomys rionegrensis
Ctenomys roigi
Ctenomys saltarius
Ctenomys scagliai
Ctenomys sericeus
Ctenomys sociabilis
Ctenomys steinbachi
Ctenomys sylvanus
Ctenomys talarum
Ctenomys torquatus
Ctenomys tuconax
Ctenomys tucumanus
Ctenomys tulduco
Ctenomys validus
Ctenomys viperinus
Ctenomys yolandae

The tuco-tucos are members of a group of rodents that belong to the family Ctenomyidae. The tuco-tucos belong to a single genus: Ctenomys, but they include some 60 different species. The relationships among the species are debated by taxonomists. Their closest relatives are degus and other octodontids (Woods and Kilpatrick, 2005). All species of tuco-tuco are found in South America. The tuco-tucos of South America have an ecological role equivalent to that of the pocket gophers of North America.

Tuco-tucos are heavily built with short legs. Their skin is loosely applied, possibly to slide about the tunnels they create. They have long forefeet for burrowing, and bristled hind feet for grooming. They also have large heads, small ears, and hairy tails. Their body ranges in size from 15–25 cm (5.9–9.8 in) in length, and they can weigh up to 700 g (25 oz).[1]

Among their most notable features is that various members of the genus exhibit differing levels of genetic variability and sociality,[2] with a tendency for the most social species (e.g., Ctenomys sociabilis) to have the least genetic variation.[3][4]


Argentine Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys argentinus)
Azara's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys azarae)
Berg's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys bergi)
Bolivian Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys boliviensis)
Bonetto's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys bonettoi)
Brazilian Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys brasiliensis)
Budin's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys budini)
Catamarca Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys knighti)
Chacoan Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys dorsalis)
Colburn's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys colburni)
Collared Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys torquatus)
Conover's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys conoveri)
Coyhaique Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys coyhaiquensis)
D'Orbigny's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys dorbignyi)
Emily's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys emilianus)
Famatina Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys famosus)
Flamarion's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys flamarioni)\
Foch's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys fochi)
Forest Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sylvanus)
Furtive Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys occultus)
Goodfellow's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys goodfellowi)
Goya Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys perrensi)
Haig's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys haigi)
Highland Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys opimus)
Jujuy Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys juris)
Lago Blanco Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys fodax)
Lami Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys lami)
Lewis's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys lewisi)
Magellanic Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys magellanicus)
Maule Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys maulinus)
Mendoza Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys mendocinus)
Mottled Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys latro)
Natterer's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys nattereri)
Pearson's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys pearsoni)
Peruvian Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys peruanus)
Pilar Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys pilarensis)
Porteous' Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys porteousi)
Pundt's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys pundti)
Puntilla Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys coludo)
Reddish Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys frater)
Reig's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys osvaldoreigi)
Rio Negro Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys rionegrensis)
Robust Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys tuconax)
Roig's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys roigi)
Salta Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys saltarius)
San Juan Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys johannis)
San Luis Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys pontifex)
Scaglia's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys scagliai)
Sierra Tontal Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys tulduco)
Silky Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sericeus)
Social Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sociabilis)
Southern Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys australis)
Steinbach's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys steinbachi)
Strong Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys validus)
Talas Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys talarum)
Tawny Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys fulvus)
Tiny Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys minutus)
Tucuman Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys tucumanus)
Vipos Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys viperinus)
White-Toothed Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys leucodon)
Yolanda's Tuco-tuco (Ctenomys yolandae)

Tuco-tucos in popular culture

Tuco-tucos, due to their habits of burrowing underground, are largely unknown in popular culture. However recently the tuco-tuco did appear in the video game Pitfall in 2003. In Pitfall, the tuco-tucos are burrowing rabbit-like creatures that do practically nothing except pop out of their burrows. There are few times when in the game tuco-tucos interact with the simulated environment. One such example is a tuco-tuco impaled on a spit in a native village, which was eaten by the NPC Luis Faour.


  1. ^ Bishop, Ian (1984). Macdonald, D.. ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 702–703. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.  
  2. ^ Lacey, E.A. and J. R. Wieczorek. 2003. The ecology of sociality in rodents: a ctenomyid perspective. Journal of Mammalogy 84:1198-1211
  3. ^ Lacey, E.A. 2001. Microsatellite variation in solitary and social tuco-tucos: molecular properties and population dynamics. Heredity 86:628-637
  4. ^
  • Woods C. A. and C. W. Kilpatrick. 2005. Hystricognathi pp. 1538-1600 in D. E. Wilson and M. A. Reeder, eds. Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition, p. 1538-1600.


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