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Southern Illinois University to study migrating armadillos

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A Brazilian Three banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus), aka Tatu-Bola in Portuguese, walks on September 18, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. The Tatu-Bola -an endangered species-- was chosen as the mascot of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. AFP PHOTO/VANDERLEI ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) – Scientists agree that armadillos are moving northward in the U.S., and one Southern Illinois University professor has taken notice.

Associate zoology professor F. Agustin Jimenez has started studying the armadillo, commonly associated with Texas, Florida and other warm-weather states, but it has recently been sighted as far north in Illinois as the Mount Vernon area. His primary study will focus on the parasites carried by the migrating mammal in the region.

The southern hemisphere is home to 23 species of armadillo, but only the nine-banded armadillo is moving northward. Jimenez tells the Southern Illinoisan that warmer and shorter winters could facilitate the species’ survival in the northern hemisphere.

Scientists initially believe the armadillos would die when the winter grew colder, but now they’re being spotted in early spring.
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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com