Acta Theriologica

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 583–587 | Cite as

Effects of rodents on plant cover, soil hardness, and soil nutrient content: a case study on tuco-tucos (Ctenomys minutus)

  • Daniel GalianoEmail author
  • Bruno B. Kubiak
  • Gerhard E. Overbeck
  • Thales R. O. de Freitas
Short Communication


We analyzed the effects of tuco-tucos (Ctenomys minutus, Ctenomyidae) on plant cover, plant biomass, soil hardness, soil pH, and variables related to nutrient disposition (P, K, Mg, and Ca), using data from three areas in the South Brazilian coastal plain. In each area, samples were taken from sites with and without C. minutus and results are presented in a concatenate way. Our results show that the presence of C. minutus modifies total plant biomass, grass cover, bare soil, soil hardness, soil pH, and nutrient content. Soils horizons at the depths of 10 and 20 cm are significantly softer in sites with C. minutus and phosphorus and potassium had higher concentrations. The content of magnesium and calcium were not affected. Soil pH was significantly lower where tuco-tucos occurred. Altogether, our results show that these animals may have a significant effect on vegetation composition and dynamics as well as on soil properties.


Animal interactions Coastal grasslands Subterranean mammals Southern Brazil 



We are grateful to all colleagues from the Laboratório de Citogenética e Evolução for support at various stages of this research. DG and BBK received a student fellowship from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). TROF received research support from CNPq, Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes), and Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS). We thank Emerson M. Vieira and three anonymous reviewers for all the comments and suggestions which greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Galiano
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruno B. Kubiak
    • 1
  • Gerhard E. Overbeck
    • 2
  • Thales R. O. de Freitas
    • 3
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia AnimalUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de BotânicaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de GenéticaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

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