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Rhombomys opimus

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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)
Justification:
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.

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:
Native:
Afghanistan; China; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Mongolia; Pakistan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
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.
Population Trend: Stable

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.

Citation: Shar, S., Lkhagvasuren, D. & Molur, S. 2008. Rhombomys opimus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 December 2014.
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