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Mesocricetus brandti

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA CRICETIDAE

Scientific Name: Mesocricetus brandti
Species Authority: (Nehring, 1898)
Common Name(s):
English Brandt's Hamster
Synonym(s):
Mesocricetus koenigi Nehring, 1898

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Kryštufek, B., Yigit, N. & Amori, G.
Reviewer(s): Temple, H. & Tsytsulina, K. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
In general steppe habitat is declining and hamster populations are declining in the region. The species is rare and more data are needed to confirm population decline rates, however, it is likely that continuing population declines of at least 20% over ten years due to habitat conversion and direct poisoning have occurred. Therefore Near Threatened (approaches criterion A2c).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Turkish hamster has the largest distributional area in the genus Mesocricetus. It occurs in Anatolia, Transcaucasia (Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan; Šidlovskij 1967), SE Daghestan (Russian Federation) (Gromov and Erbaeva 1995, Pavlinov et al., 2002). and northwest Iran (Qazvin in the east, Lurestan in the south; Lay, 1967). Reports for north Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and north Israel (Musser and Carleton, 2005) are erroneous (Shehab et al. 2004). The species is found from sea level to 2,600 m, however, the primary range is above 1,000-2,200 m.
Countries:
Native:
Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Georgia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Russian Federation; Turkey
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Azerbaijan the species is considered rare in semi-deserts, foothills, mountain steppes and mountain grasslands (Rodrigues et al., 1999). It is included in the Red Data Book of Georgia (1982) as rare/endangered (Biodiversity Assessment for Georgia, 2000). In Georgian lowlands it is more rare than in the highlands; in Turkey it is always rare. Lately in the Caucasus populations have decreased due to anthropogenic factors (K. Tsytsulina pers. comm. 2008)..
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species occurs in dry open steppe habitat with cereals and wormwoods, or cereals and herbs. Also can also be found in agricultural lands. Feeds on herbs and cereals, sometimes consumes insects and other invertebrates. Hibernates and make supplies for winter. Those supplies include cereals, herb roots, bulbs, and leaves. Depending on the type of ground burrows can be from 50 cm to 2 m deep, and from 6 to 10 m long. Burrows have several passages, nesting cell, supply cell and toilet cell. Often has burrows within colonies of Microtus arvalis and Microtus socialis. Reproduces 2-3 times per year. In good years up to 4 litters at foothills have been registred. Litter size is 4 to 20 young, 10 on average. Pregnancy is 16-17 days.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Locally controlled as a pest. The species is widespread but rare and although habitat is grazed there is no evidence that overgrazing affects the species at present (B. Krystufek pers. comm. 2007). Agriculture in Turkey is destroying much natural steppe habitat (Yigit, N. pers. comm. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Found in protected areas.

Citation: Kryštufek, B., Yigit, N. & Amori, G. 2008. Mesocricetus brandti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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