We tested intrinsic reproductive isolation between 3 taxa of the South American caviomorph rodent Thrichomys (Rodentia, Echimyidae): T. pachyurus, T. apereoides subsp. apereoides and T. apereoides subsp. laurentius. They were mated in captivity and produced viable progeny. Some F1 hybrid females were fertile, whereas all F1 males were sterile. Histological examination revealed meiotic arrest at the primary spermatocyte stage. No sperm was detected in testes or epididymes. Electron microscopic analysis of surface spread synaptonemal complexes revealed a complete failure of chromosome pairing in F1 hybrids of T. pachyurus with T. apereoides subsp. laurentius and T. apereoides subsp. apereoides. In the male hybrids between T. apereoides subsp. apereoides and T. apereoides subsp. laurentius, meiosis did not proceed beyond diplotene, although all of the chromosomes, including heteromorphic ones, paired in an orderly fashion. Backcross males with homomorphic karyotypes showed segregation in meiosis progression. This indicates that male hybrid sterility is due to genetic, but not chromosomal, incompatibility of the parental taxa.