The southern three-banded armadillo is indigenous to central South America, ranging between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia.
Like most armadillos, the southern three-banded is covered in plates of leathery armor that protect it from predators. But what makes this armadillo special is its ability to roll completely into a ball. The neighboring Brazilian three-banded armadillo is the only other armadillo with this adaptation. The adaptation works well in the wild—only jaguars, alligators, and pumas are powerful enough to punch through the protective plates.
Habitat loss is a challenge for many species, including the southern three-banded armadillo. During the 20th century, the rich Rio de la Plata river basin underwent agricultural development; the habitat changed from a flood plain to cultivated fields of crops such as soy and sorghum. Today, the southern three-banded armadillo is classified as a near threatened species.
How do cultivated landscapes threaten native animals?
Three-banded armadillos can roll completely into a ball. Can you think of other animals that have evolved defensive adaptations?
Why do you think southern three-banded armadillos are hunted by humans?
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry adaptation Noun
a modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence. An adaptation is passed from generation to generation.
Encyclopedic Entry: adaptation agricultural development Noun
modern farming methods that include mechanical, chemical, engineering and technological methods. Also called industrial agriculture.
a dip or depression in the surface of the land or ocean floor.
Encyclopedic Entry: basin classify Verb
to identify or arrange by specific type or characteristic.
Encyclopedic Entry: crop cultivate Verb
to prepare and nurture the land for crops.
flood plain Noun
flat area alongside a stream or river that is subject to flooding.
Encyclopedic Entry: flood plain habitat Noun
environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.
Encyclopedic Entry: habitat habitat loss Noun
the reduction or destruction of an ecosystem, making it less able to support its native species.
characteristic to or of a specific place.
Encyclopedic Entry: indigenous near threatened Noun
level of conservation between "least concern" and "vulnerable."
animal that hunts other animals for food.