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Meriones unguiculatus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA MURIDAE

Scientific Name: Meriones unguiculatus
Species Authority: (Milne-Edwards, 1867)
Common Name(s):
English Mongolian Gerbil, Mongolian Jird
Synonym(s):
Meriones chihfengensis Mori, 1939
Meriones koslovi (Satunin, 1903)
Meriones kurauchii Mori, 1930
Pallasiomys unguiculatus Heptner, 1949 subspecies selenginus

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Batsaikhan, N. & Tsytsulina, K.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species has a large population size and a wide distribution. No decline in population size has been detected, and there are no known widespread major threats.
History:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Distributed in dry steppes of SE Mongolia and adjacent territories of Russia and China. In Mongolia: Great Lakes Depression, Valley of the Lakes, southern Hangai Mountain Range, along the Orhon and Selenge river basins in north eastern Hangai Mountain Range, Middle Halh Steppe, Northern Govi, and Eastern Mongolia. In N China: Nei Mongol, Liaoning, Hebei, N Shanxi, N Shaanxi, E Gansu, Ningxia. In Russia: southern Transbaikalia and south of Tuva.
Countries:
Native:
China; Mongolia; Russian Federation
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No data are available at present.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits steppe, semi-desert and desert habitats, frequently occurring in areas with clay soils, or cultivated fields, at railroad mounds, and other grasslands. Not found in mountainous terrain. Active during both day and night, although primarily diurnal during winter. Does not hibernate or estivate. Density of the Mongolian Gerbil is quite variable over its range, but it can occur at extremely high densities under some conditions. Colonial, its normal social unit is the family group. Families live together and mutually defend their burrow system, and all members contribute to gathering food stores (which can weigh as much as 20 kg). Burrow structure is not complicated. Burrows can extend 5-6 m in length and have nest chambers situated at 45 cm in depth (summer) or 150 cm in depth (winter). Diet consists of seeds and greens, but they also consume fruits of desert plants. If food conditions significantly worsen, can migrate up to 50 km. Reproduction time differs around the range, in northern parts (Russia) it is shorter (March to August), while in southern parts (China) it is from February until September; litter size 2-11 (average about six).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Persecuted as a pest, also threatened by wildfires and possibly by habitat degradation through grazing by increasing numbers of livestock. These are not considered to be major threats to the species at present.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Abundant species, that occur in many protected areas (approximately 6% of the species’ range in Mongolia). Further research on population size and trends is recommended.

Citation: Batsaikhan, N. & Tsytsulina, K. 2008. Meriones unguiculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 November 2014.
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