[EN] Octodon lunatus

The Octodon Luntus is one of the four species of Octodontidae, as its cousin the Octodon degus, it is a species inhabiting Chile. The Octodon lunatus is so called because it is a nocturnal species, like the Octodon bridgesi. It was first discovered by Osgood in 19451 and to date, it is little known or studied.

Geographical distribution

Its range is smaller than the Octodon degus2 and tends to disappear because of the destruction of its habitat. It lives below 1200 meters of altitude, off the Pacific coasts to the centre of the country. It has also been registered as a “Near threatened” species3 because it inhabits non-protected areas to date.

Geographical distributions of different species of degus in Chile, from the Holocene to date.

Despite living at night, it seems the Octodon lunatus gets out at daytime sometimes. Moreover, its ventral fur reflects less UV’s than daytime Octodontidae, probably because of its rhythm4. This species has a more limited range than its degu cousin. As other degus, it digs burrows and partly lives in the ground5Octodon lunatus or “moon toothed degu” needs a particular vegetation to settle in their environment. Plus, their habitat necessitates relatively elevated bushes to provide protection, stable climat and a food source.

Little is known about this degu’s social behaviour, but that does not mean the lunatus is solitary. It has then an intermediate social level, without reaching the Octodon degus level, which is consistent with its lifestyle.6

 

Translation by Matthieu Selles.

Sources

  1. https://books.google.fr/books?id=JgAMbNSt8ikC&pg=PA1572&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false[]
  2. http://www.economiaynegocios.cl/noticias/noticias.asp?id=496608[]
  3. https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/15089/78321388[]
  4. https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2163096[]
  5. https://inaturalist.ca/observations/40572505[]
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264541984_Activity_overlap_of_range_areas_and_sharing_of_resting_locations_in_the_moon-toothed_degu_Octodon_lunatus[]

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