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In Images: 4 Tuco-Tuco Species Discovered in Bolivia

Smile for the camera

Ctenomys conoveri inhabit the lowland plains

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys conoveri inhabit the lowland plains, or Chaco, of Bolivia and Paraguay.

Playing hard to get

Ctenomys lewisi inhabits a small area

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys lewisi inhabits a small area north-west of the Bolivian city of Tarija.

Twinkle toes

Tuco-tuco foot

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys conoveri has cteniform, or comb-like, bristles on its toes that help the animal kick out soil from its burrow system. The genus name Ctenomys means "comb foot.”

A toothy grin

Tuco-tuco teeth

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys conoveri uses its long, orange-enameled incisors to gnaw through roots when burrowing.

Lewis' tuco-tuco

Lewis’s tuco-tuco in the grasslands

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys lewisi, or Lewis’s tuco-tuco, roams the Bolivian grasslands.

Erika's tuco-tuco

Erika’s tuco-tuco

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys erikacuellarae, or Erika’s tuco-tuco, was named for Erika Cuellar, a conservation biologist from Bolivia who helped catalogue tuco-tuco species as a student in the 1990s.

Ctenomys yatesi

Ctenomys yatesi inhabits the Chiquitano forest

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys yatesi inhabits the Chiquitano forest of eastern Bolivia.

Ctenomys andersoni

Tuco-tuco - Ctenomys andersoni

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys andersoni, inhabits the dry Andean valleys of Cerro Itahuaticua, in the Bolivian state of Santa Cruz.

Ctenomys lessai

Ctenomys lessai, Enrique P. Lessa

(Image credit: Scott Lyell Gardner of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Ctenomys lessai was named for Enrique P. Lessa, an expert in Latin American mammalogy, evolution and the biology of tuco-tucos.

Elizabeth Palermo
Elizabeth is a Live Science associate editor who writes about science and technology. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington University. Elizabeth has traveled throughout the Americas, studying political systems and indigenous cultures and teaching English to students of all ages.