Galea (genus)

Temporal range: Recent
G. monasteriensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Caviidae
Subfamily: Caviinae
Genus: Galea
Meyen, 1832
Type species
Galea musteloides
Meyen, 1832

Galea flavidens
Galea monasteriensis
Galea musteloides
Galea spixii

Galea is a genus of South American rodents of the family Caviidae.[1] Four species are known, found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Brazil. They are:

Galea has until recently been considered to have only three species; the Muenster yellow-toothed cavy was only described in 2004. G. flavidens is monotypic and G. musteloides and G. spixii are polytypic.[2]

Galea is in the family Caviidae and its members are described as cavies; they have sometimes also been called "guinea pigs". Cavies are widespread throughout South America. The high diversity of habitats of different species is paralleled by a high diversity of social organizations. Species differences between habitats and reproduction may shed light on evolutionary history.[3]

Galea breeds at multiple times of year that are not strongly constrained by food availability or climate. The gestation period is 48 days and litter size is 2 to 4, both less than those of the guinea pig. Placental development in Galea is very similar to that of the guinea pig.[4]

Galea species usually have smaller body size but the relative sizes of their testes and epididymitis are twice those of Cavia species. In the majority of cases, the acrosomes of Galea sperm are smooth in outline, and only occasionally are degenerate forms present or are the acrosomes absent. In Galea, the spermatozoa of the epididymis are always single-cell whereas those of Cavia are agglutinated in the form of rouleaux. Galea spermatozoa swim more slowly than those of Cavia. While some Galea species are promiscuous – for example G. musteloides[5]Cavia exhibits polygynous behavior, which means that males are selected for aggression so that multiple matings will be prohibited.[6]


  1. Musser, G.G.; Carleton, M.D. (2005). "Superfamily Muroidea". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1553–1554. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. Dunnum, Jonathan, L.; Salazar-Bravo, Jorge (2010). "Phylogeny, evolution, and systematics of the Galea musteloides complex (Rodentia: Caviidae)". Journal of Mammalogy. 91 (1): 243–259. doi:10.1644/08-MAMM-A-214R1.1.
  3. Adrian, O.; Sachser, N. (2011). "Diversity of social and mating systems in cavies: A review". Journal of Mammalogy. 92: 39. doi:10.1644/09-MAMM-S-405.1.
  4. Oliveira, M. F.; Mess, A.; Ambrósio, C. E.; Dantas, C. A.; Favaron, P. O.; Miglino, M. A. (2008). "Chorioallantoic placentation in Galea spixii (Rodentia, Caviomorpha, Caviidae)". Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. 6: 39. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-6-39. PMC 2543018Freely accessible. PMID 18771596.
  5. Sachser, N.; Epplen, J.; Keil, A.; Schwarz-Weig, E. (1999). "Behavioural Strategies, Testis Size, and Reproductive Success in Two Caviomorph Rodents with Different Mating Systems". Behaviour. 136 (9): 1203–1217. doi:10.1163/156853999501720.
  6. Cooper, T. G.; Weydert, S.; Yeung, C.; Kunzl, C.; Sachser, N. (January–February 2000). "Maturation of Epididymal Spermatozoa in the Nondomesticated Guinea Pigs Cavia aperea and Galea musteloides". Journal of Andrology. 21 (1): 154–163. doi:10.1002/j.1939-4640.2000.tb03285.x (inactive 2015-03-27). PMID 10670529.

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