Skip to main content

Looking under stones: A new Ctenomys species from the rocky foothills of the Sierras Grandes of central Argentina


Ctenomys (tuco-tucos) is one of the most speciose genera of mammals, and the number of species that compose it continues to increase. Of the 65 species currently recognized for the genus, 15% have been described in the last 10 years. In this work, based on morphological and molecular evidence, we describe a new species of tuco-tuco for Central Argentina. This new species inhabits stony soils in the foothills of Sierras Grandes in Córdoba province and is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of anatomical characters, including a unique morphology of the posterolateral extension of the palatine. The molecular phylogeny based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene showed that this new species does not belong to any species complex described for Ctenomys. On the contrary, this new taxon shows a high genetic divergence with the rest of the species and species groups of Ctenomys and was recovered as an independent lineage within the phylogeny of the genus. This finding increases the richness of Ctenomys to 66 species. Our results highlight the need to increase the geographic sampling of studies in this genus to achieve a more complete understanding of its diversity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Data Availability

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


Download references


We thank to Grupo de Ecología y Genética de Poblaciones de Mamíferos from IIMyC-CONICET for providing us with the traps to capture the Ctenomys specimens. We also thank to Lopez family by for their hospitality during the fieldwork and to María Jimena Gómez Fernández (through a cake) for her advice in the analysis of molecular data.


The research leading to these results received funding from Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica, Argentina (under Grant Agreement PICT2017-1461) and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciónes Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina (CONICET, under Grant Agreement PIP2021-2820).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fernando J. Mapelli.

Ethics declarations

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. Manipulation of animals followed guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists (Sikes et al. 2011). Besides, we had the approval of Comité de Ética de la Investigación de la Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto (Cod. 3–12/19, 29) and the authorization for the scientific collection and use of biological material provided by the Secretaría de Ambiente de la provincia de Córdoba (8D717B916F28C673032586C50057CFEF). This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

The work contained in the manuscript is original research that has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. All authors of the paper approve the submission of the manuscript to Journal of Mammalian Evolution.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no financial or proprietary interests in any material discussed in this article. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary Information

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mapelli, F.J., Teta, P., Contreras, F. et al. Looking under stones: A new Ctenomys species from the rocky foothills of the Sierras Grandes of central Argentina. J Mammal Evol 30, 281–298 (2023).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: