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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 9, 2020

Swimming behavior and performance of the marsh rat Holochilus vulpinus (Brants, 1827) (Cricetidae, Sigmodontinae)

  • Julio Torres EMAIL logo , Ricardo T. Santori , Oscar Rocha-Barbosa , Adriana M. Candela and Ulyses F.J. Pardiñas
From the journal Mammalia


Semiaquatic habits evolved in several Sigmodontinae rodent species, but this issue remains poorly studied. The marsh rat Holochilus vulpinus (Brants, 1827) has been associated with palustrine wetland environments and exhibits several morphological traits related to the semiaquatic habit. However, its swimming behavior and the way its morphological specializations contribute to it have not been evaluated so far in this species. This note focuses on describing and quantifying the swimming behavior and swimming performance of H. vulpinus. In order to address these issues, five individuals of H. vulpinus, four adults and one subadult, were filmed while swimming and their performance was quantified. The obtained results indicate that the swimming mode is bipedal paddling, alternating the stroke of the hind feet. The quantitative indicators also qualify H. vulpinus as a good swimmer compared to other terrestrial and semiaquatic mammals.


C. Galliari and J. Notarnicola provided traps employed to capture Holochilus; P. Teta and J. Pardiñas assisted during fieldwork. D. Podestá constructed the aquarium. He and K. Zaouali provided cameras and assistance during the recording and editing process. Financial support was derived from PICT 2014–1039 (Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica; to UFJP), and Latin American Student Field Research Award 2014 of the American Society of Mammalogists (to JT). We also would like to acknowledge the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) and the Programa PROCIÊNCIA/UERJ, for grants to RTS and OR-B.


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Received: 2019-03-10
Accepted: 2019-11-19
Published Online: 2020-01-09
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

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