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Meriones tamariscinus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA MURIDAE

Scientific Name: Meriones tamariscinus
Species Authority: Pallas, 1773
Common Name(s):
English Tamarisk Gerbil, Tamarisk Jird, TAMARISK JIRD

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Tsytsulina, K., Formozov, N. & Sheftel, B.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
A widespread and abundant species with no major threats, hence listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species global distribution extends from CIS-Caucasia (Russian Federation) through Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, to Tajikistan, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and northern Xinjiang and Nei Mongol regions of China (Gromov and Erbaeva 1995, Wilson and Reeder 2005).

Within Mongolia, its regional distribution has been recorded from the lower drainage of the Bodonch and Bulgan rivers in Dzungarian Govi Desert, and north-western Aj Bogd Mountain Range in Trans Altai Govi Desert (Sokolov and Orlov, 1980).
Countries:
Native:
China; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Mongolia; Russian Federation; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a common species within much of its range, although populations undergo fluctuations in density every 2-3 years. Usually does not form colonies, but in Kazakhstan density could reach 30-50 individuals per hectare. A considerable pest of grain-crops, melons and gourds. In Central Asia population density considerably increase during cereals ripening. Same as other gerbil species is a natural carrier of plague and other diseases agents. Population size is under observation of plague control services.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits shrubby thickets in flood-plains and forest belts (in Astrakhan semidesert); also oases and shrubby semi-deserts with some grass cover. In NW parts of the range it is expanding its range and occupying new lands that have appeared as the Caspian Sea has dried out; however, in the Aral Sea region the species' range has stayed the same despite the availability of new lands. Lives in family groups, occasionally forming small colonies without social structure. Besides seeds, a considerable proportion of its diet is made up of vegetative parts of plants. Reproduction starts in February to March (western parts of the range) or March to April (eastern parts of the range) and lasts for about six months. Breeding intensity decreases during hot months. Females that have overwintered usually give birth to three litters per year; young females generally start reproduction in June. Litter size is about 4-5 young.

Tamarisk gerbils have head-rump measurements averaging 15-18 cm and a tail length of approximately 15 cm (Sokolov and Orlov, 1980). Dorsal coloration varies from yellow through to sandy or grey, in some cases it may be dark brown, with a white or pale underside. The hairs on its back have black tips, giving the sides of the body a lighter appearance. The tail hairs become long and bushy towards the tip (Nowak, 1991).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats to this species are known. In parts of the range (e.g. in Mongolia) habitat degradation, particularly through trampling and browsing of tamarisk by domestic camels may be a local problem. Low levels of human disturbance, and competition for tamarisk with domestic camels, may also constitute local threats. Drying of water sources and droughts threaten this species, although it remains unclear if these represent natural environmental changes or are driven by anthropogenic activity.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in some protected areas. Listed as Rare in the 1997 Mongolian Red Book (MNE, 1997). Approximately 23% of the species’ range in Mongolia occurs within protected areas.

Citation: Tsytsulina, K., Formozov, N. & Sheftel, B. 2008. Meriones tamariscinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 October 2014.
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