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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #269378

Title: Identification of an attractant for the nine-banded armadillo, dasypus novemcinctus

item OBER, HOLLY - University Of Florida
item DEGROOTE, LUCAS - University Of Florida
item MCDONOUGH, COLLEEN - Valdosta State University
item MIZELL III, RUSSELL - University Of Florida
item Mankin, Richard

Submitted to: Wildlife Society Bulletin
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/8/2011
Publication Date: 11/8/2011
Citation: Ober, H.K., Degroote, L.W., Mcdonough, C.M., Mizell Iii, R.F., Mankin, R.W. 2011. Identification of an attractant for the nine-banded armadillo, dasypus novemcinctus. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 35:421-429.

Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, FL, the Departments of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, NFREC, Quincy, FL,, and the Department of Biology at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA, investigated the combined effects of smell, sound, and vibrations on the efficacy of various baits as attractants in traps for armadillos. It was found that the armadillo uses all three cues in finding food, but that the effective distance over which the armadillo can locate the baits is limited.

Technical Abstract: The nine-banded armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus, is considered by many to be one of the greatest nuisance wildlife species in the Southeastern U.S. Exclusion is laborious because armadillos are adept at both burrowing and climbing, no repellents, toxicants, or fumigants are currently registered for management of this species, and no effective trapping attractants have been identified. If a suitable lure were identified, trap capture success could increase and the frequency of complaints against animals responsible for damage could be reduced. The behavioral attractiveness of 16 commercially available food materials as well as scents collected from conspecifics were compared in multiple choice bioassays. According to three distinct behavioral measures, the materials that most consistently elicited attraction responses from armadillos were pond worms (Lumbricus terrestris), crickets (Acheta domesticus), red worms (Eisenia fetida), and wigglers (Pheretima hawayanus). Because all of these materials were live prey that produced easily detectable sounds and vibrations, a second experiment was conducted to consider whether prey which generate both auditory and olfactory cues evoke a stronger response from armadillos than immobile prey bait materials that provide only olfactory cues. The live prey were superior baits; however, because acoustic and vibrational cues decrease rapidly below background noise levels within 10-30 cm distances from the baits, and because the perceptual range of armadillos to the olfactory cues from these baits appeared to be limited to distances of 10-50 cm, it appears unlikely that traps baited with any type of worm or cricket will lure armadillos at any great distance. Further investigation will be required before an effective baiting system can be developed.