Desde hace 30 años los integrantes del laboratorio de Ecofisiología- desde el 2009 Grupo de Fisiología Ecológica y del Comportamiento- estudiamos especies de roedores subterráneos del género Ctenomys (tuco-tucos), particularmente Ctenomys talarum. Esta especie se distribuye a lo largo de las dunas costeras del litoral marítimo de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, donde ejerce una importante influencia en el ambiente dada su actividad excavatoria en el suelo y forrajeo sobre la vegetación que conforman los pastizales costeros. El género Ctenomys incluye a más de 50 especies, todas las cuales son subterráneas. Estos roedores representan una radiación específica estrictamente Sudamericana, donde la mayor diversidad se encuentra en Argentina.
Dadas las características físicas particulares, los ambientes subterráneos están entre los que más influyeron en la evolución de los organismos que los habitan. Este ambiente es relativamente estable y predecible, pero al mismo tiempo estresante en varios aspectos. Como consecuencia, las especies que los ocupan han evidenciado una convergencia en muchas de las características morfológicas y fisiológicas, pero han divergido en otros aspectos, como resultado de ajustes a características ambientales locales.
Los Tuco-tucos se distribuyen desde el sur del Perú hasta Tierra del Fuego y de los Andes al sudeste de Brasil. Estos organismos han estado sujetos a presiones de selección similares, por lo que presentan diversas características en común. Sin embargo, y a pesar de las similitudes del ecotopo subterráneo, existen varias diferencias en los parámetros bióticos y abióticos entre las diferentes regiones geográficas y hábitats, las cuales ejercen, a su vez, una influencia particular sobre los rasgos de las diferentes especies. Debido a ello, representan no solo un importante ejemplo de convergencia evolutiva sino también de divergencia adaptativa.
Ctenomys ha sido objeto de diferentes estudios, particularmente en sus relaciones filogenéticas y ecología. Sin embargo, aún falta una considerable cantidad de tópicos por abordar sobre varios aspectos de su fisiología, biología sensorial y comportamiento. A partir de experimentos en el campo y en condiciones controladas en cautiverio, nuestros proyectos en curso evalúan las respuestas fisiológicas, ecológicas y comportamentales de los tuco-tucos a través de la integración de la energética, comportamiento, inmunología, genética, endocrinología y biología sensorial. En ellos se utilizan rangos naturales de variación de los parámetros a evaluar, de manera de incrementar nuestra comprensión sobre las adaptaciones asociadas a la vida subterránea, utilizando a C. talarum como modelo de estudio.

Energética y termorregulación en diferentes especies del género Ctenomys.
Balance hidrosalino en C. talarum.
Demografía y variabilidad genética entre poblaciones de C. talarum.
Regulación de la reproducción y comportamiento reproductivo de hembras de C. talarum.
Biología sensorial (sistemas visuales, auditivos y/o olfativos) en C. talarum.
Señales químicas y su rol en la fisiología y comportamiento de individuos de C. talarum.
Eje de estrés en poblaciones naturales de C. talarum.
Aprendizaje y memoria espacial bajo estrés por predación, restricción alimentaria y desafío inmune.
Relación entre la variabilidad en el Complejo Principal de Histocompatibilidad (MHC), el status del sistema inmunitario, la intensidad de la respuesta inmune y la carga parasitaria.
Aunque nuestro modelo de estudio es el género Ctenomys, también hemos realizado varios proyectos de investigación en colaboración con otras especies de animales, como lagartijas (Liolaemus spp.), cangrejos (Neohelice sp.) e insectos (Triatoma sp.).
Director
Dr. Daniel Antenucci
Investigador Independiente – CONICET Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata
Luna, F., Roca, P., Oliver, J., & Antenucci, C. D. (2012). Maximal thermogenic capacity and non-shivering thermogenesis in the South American subterranean rodent Ctenomystalarum. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 182(7), 971–983.
Luna, F., Roca, P., Oliver, J., & Antenucci, C. D. (2012). Maximal thermogenic capacity and non-shivering thermogenesis in the South American subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 182, 971–983.
Vera, F., Zenuto, R. R., & Antenucci, C. D. (2013). Seasonal variations in plasma cortisol, testosterone, progesterone and leukocyte profiles in a wild population of tuco-tucos. Journal of Zoology, 289(2), 111–118. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2012.00967.x/full
Meroi, F. R., Luna, F., & Antenucci, D. (2014). Variación estacional de la tasa metabólica de reposo en Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia, Ctenomyidae): ausencia de efectos ambientales. Mastozoología Neotropical, 21(2), 241–250. Retrieved from http://www.scielo.org.ar/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0327-93832014000200005
Baldo, M. B., Luna, F., Schleich, C. E., & Antenucci, C. D. (2014). Thermoregulatory development and behavior of Ctenomys talarum pups during brief repeated postnatal isolation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 173, 35–41.
Baldo, M. B., Antenucci, C. D., & Luna, F. (2015). Effect of ambient temperature on evaporative water loss in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Journal of Thermal Biology, 53, 113–118.
Baldo, M. B., Luna, F., & Antenucci, C. D. (2016). Does acclimation to contrasting atmospheric humidities affect evaporative water loss in the South American subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum? Journal of Mammalogy, 97(5), 1312–1320.
Vera, F., Zenuto, R., & Antenucci, C. D. (2017). Expanding the actions of cortisol and corticosterone in wild vertebrates: a necessary step to overcome the emerging challenges. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 246, 337–353.
Malewski, S., Begall, S., Schleich, C. E., Antenucci, C. D., & Burda, H. (2018). Do subterranean mammals use the Earth’s magnetic field as a heading indicator to dig straight tunnels? PeerJ, 6, e5819. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5819
Vera, F., Antenucci, C. D., & Zenuto, R. R. (2019). Different regulation of cortisol and corticosterone in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum: responses to dexamethasone, angiotensin II, potassium, and diet. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 273(1), 108–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.05.019
Dra. Roxana Zenuto
Investigador Independiente – CONICET
Vera, F., Antenucci, C. D., & Zenuto, R. R. (2019). Different regulation of cortisol and corticosterone in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum: responses to dexamethasone, angiotensin II, potassium, and diet. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 273(1), 108–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.05.019
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2019). Feeding behavior under predatory risk in Ctenomys talarum: nutritional state and recent experience of a predatory event. Mammal Research, 64(2), 261–269. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13364-018-0406-9
Fanjul, M. S., Varas, M. F., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Female preference for males that have exclusively marked or invaded territories depends on male presence and its identity in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Ethology, 124(8), 579–590. https://doi.org/10.1111/eth.12761
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., Cutrera, A. P., Merlo, J. L., Kittlein, M. J., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Prenatal predatory stress in a wild species of subterranean rodent: Do ecological stressors always have a negative effect on the offspring? Developmental Psychobiology, 60(5), 567–581. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21635
Merlo, J. L., Cutrera, A. P., Kittlein, M. J., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Individual condition and inflammatory response to PHA in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (Talas tuco-tuco): A multivariate approach. Mammalian Biology, 90, 47–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2018.02.007
Cutrera, A. P., Luna, F., Merlo, J., Baldo, M. B., & Zenuto, R. R. (2014). Assessing the energetic costs and trade-offs of a PHA-induced inflammation in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum: Immune response in growing tuco-tucos. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 174, 23–28.
Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2017). Female choice, male dominance and condition-related traits in the polygynous subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Behavioural Processes, 142, 46–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2017.05.019
Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2012). Female reproductive behaviour, ovarian hormones and vaginal cytology of the induced ovulator, Ctenomys talarum. Acta Theriologica, 57(1), 15–27.
Cutrera, A. P., Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2012). Females prefer good genes: MHC-associated mate choice in wild and captive tuco-tucos. Animal Behaviour, 83(3), 847–856.
Vera, F., Zenuto, R., & Antenucci, C. D. (2017). Expanding the actions of cortisol and corticosterone in wild vertebrates: a necessary step to overcome the emerging challenges. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 246, 337–353.
Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2013). When allowed, females prefer novel males in the polygynous subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (tuco-tuco). Behavioural Processes, 92, 71–78.
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C., & Zenuto, R. (2015). Short-term anxiety response of the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum to odors from a predator. Physiology & Behavior, 151, 596–603.
Cutrera, A. P., Zenuto, R. R., & Lacey, E. A. (2014). Interpopulation differences in parasite load and variable selective pressures on MHC genes in Ctenomys talarum. Journal of Mammalogy, 95(4), 679–695. Retrieved from http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1644/13-MAMM-A-120
Schleich, C. E., Zenuto, R. R., & Cutrera, A. P. (2015). Immune challenge but not dietary restriction affects spatial learning in the wild subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Physiology & Behavior, 139, 150–156. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S003193841400540X
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2016). Source odor, intensity, and exposure pattern affect antipredatory responses in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Ethology, 122(12), 923–936. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eth.12568/full
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2014). Effects of acute and chronic exposure to predatory cues on spatial learning capabilities in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae). Ethology, 120(6), 563–576. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eth.12230/full
Vera, F., Zenuto, R. R., & Antenucci, C. D. (2013). Seasonal variations in plasma cortisol, testosterone, progesterone and leukocyte profiles in a wild population of tuco-tucos. Journal of Zoology, 289(2), 111–118. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2012.00967.x/full
Investigadores
Dr. Cristian Schleich
Investigador Adjunto – CONICET Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2014). Effects of acute and chronic exposure to predatory cues on spatial learning capabilities in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae). Ethology, 120(6), 563–576. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eth.12230/full
Baldo, M. B., Luna, F., Schleich, C. E., & Antenucci, C. D. (2014). Thermoregulatory development and behavior of Ctenomys talarum pups during brief repeated postnatal isolation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 173, 35–41.
Schleich, C. E., Zenuto, R. R., & Cutrera, A. P. (2015). Immune challenge but not dietary restriction affects spatial learning in the wild subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Physiology & Behavior, 139, 150–156. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S003193841400540X
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C., & Zenuto, R. (2015). Short-term anxiety response of the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum to odors from a predator. Physiology & Behavior, 151, 596–603.
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2016). Source odor, intensity, and exposure pattern affect antipredatory responses in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Ethology, 122(12), 923–936. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eth.12568/full
Francescoli, G., Nogueira, S., & Schleich, C. (2016). Mechanisms of social communication in caviomorph rodents. In L. A. Ebensperger & L. D. Hayes (Eds.), Sociobiology of Caviomorph Rodents: An Integrative Approach (pp. 147–172). Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
Schleich, C. E. (2016). Preferential use of one paw during feeding in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Belgian Journal of Zoology, 146(2), 134–139.
Schleich, C., & Francescoli, G. (2018). Three decades of subterranean acoustic communication studies. In M. L. Dent, R. R. Fay, & A. N. Popper (Eds.), Rodent Bioacoustics (pp. 43–69). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-92495-3_3
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., Cutrera, A. P., Merlo, J. L., Kittlein, M. J., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Prenatal predatory stress in a wild species of subterranean rodent: Do ecological stressors always have a negative effect on the offspring? Developmental Psychobiology, 60(5), 567–581. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21635
Malewski, S., Begall, S., Schleich, C. E., Antenucci, C. D., & Burda, H. (2018). Do subterranean mammals use the Earth’s magnetic field as a heading indicator to dig straight tunnels? PeerJ, 6, e5819. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5819
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2019). Feeding behavior under predatory risk in Ctenomys talarum: nutritional state and recent experience of a predatory event. Mammal Research, 64(2), 261–269. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13364-018-0406-9
Francescoli, G., & Schleich, C. (2019). Agonism management through agonistic vocal signaling in subterranean rodents: a neglected factor facilitating sociality? Biological Theory, 14(1), 42–51. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13752-018-0304-z
Dr. Ana Paula Cutrera
Investigador Adjunto – CONICET Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata
Cutrera, A. P., Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2012). Females prefer good genes: MHC-associated mate choice in wild and captive tuco-tucos. Animal Behaviour, 83(3), 847–856.
Cutrera, A. P., Zenuto, R. R., & Lacey, E. A. (2014). Interpopulation differences in parasite load and variable selective pressures on MHC genes in Ctenomys talarum. Journal of Mammalogy, 95(4), 679–695. Retrieved from http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1644/13-MAMM-A-120
Cutrera, A. P., Luna, F., Merlo, J., Baldo, M. B., & Zenuto, R. R. (2014). Assessing the energetic costs and trade-offs of a PHA-induced inflammation in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum: Immune response in growing tuco-tucos. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 174, 23–28.
Schleich, C. E., Zenuto, R. R., & Cutrera, A. P. (2015). Immune challenge but not dietary restriction affects spatial learning in the wild subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Physiology & Behavior, 139, 150–156. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S003193841400540X
Cutrera, A. P., & Mora, M. S. (2017). Selection on MHC in a context of historical demographic change in two closely-distributed species of tuco-tucos (Ctenomys australis and C. talarum). Journal of Heredity, 108(6), 628–639. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esx054
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., Cutrera, A. P., Merlo, J. L., Kittlein, M. J., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Prenatal predatory stress in a wild species of subterranean rodent: Do ecological stressors always have a negative effect on the offspring? Developmental Psychobiology, 60(5), 567–581. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21635
Merlo, J. L., Cutrera, A. P., Kittlein, M. J., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Individual condition and inflammatory response to PHA in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (Talas tuco-tuco): A multivariate approach. Mammalian Biology, 90, 47–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2018.02.007
Dr. María Sol Fanjul
Investigador Asistente – CONICET
Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2012). Female reproductive behaviour, ovarian hormones and vaginal cytology of the induced ovulator, Ctenomys talarum. Acta Theriologica, 57(1), 15–27.
Cutrera, A. P., Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2012). Females prefer good genes: MHC-associated mate choice in wild and captive tuco-tucos. Animal Behaviour, 83(3), 847–856.
Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2013). When allowed, females prefer novel males in the polygynous subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (tuco-tuco). Behavioural Processes, 92, 71–78.
Fanjul, M. S., & Zenuto, R. R. (2017). Female choice, male dominance and condition-related traits in the polygynous subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Behavioural Processes, 142, 46–55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2017.05.019
Fanjul, M. S., Varas, M. F., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Female preference for males that have exclusively marked or invaded territories depends on male presence and its identity in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Ethology, 124(8), 579–590. https://doi.org/10.1111/eth.12761
Dr. Facundo Luna
Investigador Adjunto – CONICET
Luna, F., Roca, P., Oliver, J., & Antenucci, C. D. (2012). Maximal thermogenic capacity and non-shivering thermogenesis in the South American subterranean rodent Ctenomystalarum. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 182(7), 971–983.
Luna, F., Roca, P., Oliver, J., & Antenucci, C. D. (2012). Maximal thermogenic capacity and non-shivering thermogenesis in the South American subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 182, 971–983.
Meroi, F. R., Luna, F., & Antenucci, D. (2014). Variación estacional de la tasa metabólica de reposo en Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia, Ctenomyidae): ausencia de efectos ambientales. Mastozoología Neotropical, 21(2), 241–250. Retrieved from http://www.scielo.org.ar/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0327-93832014000200005
Baldo, M. B., Luna, F., Schleich, C. E., & Antenucci, C. D. (2014). Thermoregulatory development and behavior of Ctenomys talarum pups during brief repeated postnatal isolation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 173, 35–41.
Cutrera, A. P., Luna, F., Merlo, J., Baldo, M. B., & Zenuto, R. R. (2014). Assessing the energetic costs and trade-offs of a PHA-induced inflammation in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum: Immune response in growing tuco-tucos. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 174, 23–28.
Baldo, M. B., Antenucci, C. D., & Luna, F. (2015). Effect of ambient temperature on evaporative water loss in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Journal of Thermal Biology, 53, 113–118.
Baldo, M. B., Luna, F., & Antenucci, C. D. (2016). Does acclimation to contrasting atmospheric humidities affect evaporative water loss in the South American subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum? Journal of Mammalogy, 97(5), 1312–1320.
Luna, F., Naya, H., & Naya, D. E. (2017). Understanding evolutionary variation in basal metabolic rate: An analysis in subterranean rodents. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 206, 87–94. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2017.02.002
Becarios
Lic. María Belén Baldo
Becaria Doctoral – CONICET
Baldo, M. B., Luna, F., Schleich, C. E., & Antenucci, C. D. (2014). Thermoregulatory development and behavior of Ctenomys talarum pups during brief repeated postnatal isolation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 173, 35–41.
Cutrera, A. P., Luna, F., Merlo, J., Baldo, M. B., & Zenuto, R. R. (2014). Assessing the energetic costs and trade-offs of a PHA-induced inflammation in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum: Immune response in growing tuco-tucos. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 174, 23–28.
Baldo, M. B., Antenucci, C. D., & Luna, F. (2015). Effect of ambient temperature on evaporative water loss in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Journal of Thermal Biology, 53, 113–118.
Baldo, M. B., Luna, F., & Antenucci, C. D. (2016). Does acclimation to contrasting atmospheric humidities affect evaporative water loss in the South American subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum? Journal of Mammalogy, 97(5), 1312–1320.
Lic. Julieta Merlo
Finalización de Doctorado CONICET
Cutrera, A. P., Luna, F., Merlo, J., Baldo, M. B., & Zenuto, R. R. (2014). Assessing the energetic costs and trade-offs of a PHA-induced inflammation in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum: Immune response in growing tuco-tucos. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 174, 23–28.
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., Cutrera, A. P., Merlo, J. L., Kittlein, M. J., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Prenatal predatory stress in a wild species of subterranean rodent: Do ecological stressors always have a negative effect on the offspring? Developmental Psychobiology, 60(5), 567–581. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21635
Merlo, J. L., Cutrera, A. P., Kittlein, M. J., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Individual condition and inflammatory response to PHA in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (Talas tuco-tuco): A multivariate approach. Mammalian Biology, 90, 47–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2018.02.007
Lic. Valentina Brachetta
Finalización de Doctorado CONICET
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2014). Effects of acute and chronic exposure to predatory cues on spatial learning capabilities in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae). Ethology, 120(6), 563–576. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eth.12230/full
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C., & Zenuto, R. (2015). Short-term anxiety response of the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum to odors from a predator. Physiology & Behavior, 151, 596–603.
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2016). Source odor, intensity, and exposure pattern affect antipredatory responses in the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum. Ethology, 122(12), 923–936. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eth.12568/full
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., Cutrera, A. P., Merlo, J. L., Kittlein, M. J., & Zenuto, R. R. (2018). Prenatal predatory stress in a wild species of subterranean rodent: Do ecological stressors always have a negative effect on the offspring? Developmental Psychobiology, 60(5), 567–581. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21635
Brachetta, V., Schleich, C. E., & Zenuto, R. R. (2019). Feeding behavior under predatory risk in Ctenomys talarum: nutritional state and recent experience of a predatory event. Mammal Research, 64(2), 261–269. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13364-018-0406-9