Rhombomys opimus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Rhombomys opimus
Species Authority: (Lichtenstein, 1823)
Common Name(s):
English Great Gerbil

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Shar, S., Lkhagvasuren, D. & Molur, S.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This very widely distributed species is present in Iran, Central Asia, western South Asia, China and Mongolia. It is widespread in Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and appears to have a smaller distribution in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In South Asia, it has been recorded from northern Afghanistan (Habibi 2004) and western Pakistan (Baluchistan) (Molur et al. 2005). In China the species is very widespread, and has been recorded from Xinjiang, Nei Mongol, Gansu, Ningxia and western Gansu (Smith and Xie 2008). In Mongolia, it has been recorded from desert and semi-desert habitats across southern Mongolia, including the Dzungarian Govi Desert, Trans Altai Govi Desert, Alashani Govi Desert, Northern Govi, and Eastern Govi. Shargyn Govi in southern Govi Altai Mountain Range represents the northern limit of its range in Mongolia (Mallon, 1985).
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; China; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Mongolia; Pakistan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
Upper elevation limit (metres): 900
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No data are available at present, although it is believed to be common in the Gobi Desert.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a diurnal, fossorial, colonial often seen associated with other gerbils. In China, the species occupies desert to semi-desert habitat, and is most successful in dry river beds dominated with shrubby vegetation (Smith and Xie 2008). In South Asia, it has been recorded from apple orchards and clay-sandy embankments. It has been found to occupy steppe mountains and upland deserts and sand dunes with scattered vegetation, in South Asia (Molur et al. 2005). Distribution is always associated with the presence of saxaul plants (M. Stubbe pers. comm.). It constructs large entrance holes to a very elaborate burrow system that consists of long deep tunnels, nest and food storage chambers (Smith and Xie 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There appear to be no major threats to this species as a whole. It might be locally threatened by habitat degradation through overgrazing of vegetation by increasing numbers of livestock. Drying of water sources and droughts might also threaten this species, although it remains unclear if these represent natural environmental changes or are driven by anthropogenic activity.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is known from Hazar Ganji National Park in Baluchistan, Pakistan (Molur et al. 2005). Approximately 35% of the species’ range in Mongolia occurs within protected areas.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Unknown  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Unknown  
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
suitability: Suitable  
8. Desert -> 8.2. Desert - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
suitability: Unknown  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability: Unknown  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability: Unknown  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Corbet, G.B. 1978. The Mammals of the Palaearctic Region: a Taxonomic Review. British Museum (Natural History) and Cornell University Press, London, UK and Ithaca, NY, USA.

Habibi, K. 2003. Mammals of Afghanistan. Zoo Outreach Organisation/USFWS, Coimbatore, India.

Mallon, D.P. 1985. The mammals of the Mongolian People's Republic. Mammal Review 15(2): 71-102.

Molur, S., Srinivasulu, C., Srinivasulu, B., Walker, S., Nameer, P. O. and Ravikumar, L. 2005. Status of non-volant small mammals: Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (C.A.M.P) workshop report. Zoo Outreach Organisation / CBSG-South Asia., Comibatore, India.

Musser, G. G. and Carleton, M. D. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. In: D. E. Wilson and D. A. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: a geographic and taxonomic reference, pp. 894-1531. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Roberts, T.J. 1977. The Mammals of Pakistan. Ernest Benn, London, UK.

Smith, A.T. and Xie, Y. (eds). 2008. A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Stubbe, M. and Chotolchu, N. 1968. Zur Säugetierfauna der Mongolei. Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum in Berlin 44: 5-121.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 1993. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Shar, S., Lkhagvasuren, D. & Molur, S. 2008. Rhombomys opimus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T19686A9003460. . Downloaded on 25 May 2016.
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