Santa Catarina’s guinea pig is one of the rarest species on the planet, with an estimated population of 42 individuals.
It also has one of the smallest geographic distributions of any mammal – about 4 ha of a 10.5 ha island. Its ancestors diverged from the mainland guinea pigs following the isolation of Moleques do Sul Island as a result of rising sea levels some 8,000 years ago. Over this time period this species evolved several adaptations to island life, such as high population density, stable age structure and small home range size. With such a small population size and low reproductive rate this species is particularly vulnerable to threats such as hunting and natural disasters
- Order: Rodentia
- Population: 42
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 20-40cm
- Weight: 577-740g
Endemic to Serra do Tabuleiro State Park, on Moleques Island do Sul, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. They are found in only 4 ha of the 10.5 ha island.
Habitat and Ecology
This species’ inhabit areas predominantly covered by herbaceous vegetation, which is their main food source. Reproductive rates are low, with 78% of pregnant females producing a single large offspring, which takes longer than the mainland species to mature.