Hsia & Fang, 1964
Allactaga nataliae Sokolov, 1981
The Balikun jerboa (Allactaga balikunica) is a species of rodent in the Dipodidae family. It is found in arid areas of northwestern China and Mongolia. It eats green plants, plant roots, seeds, and grasshoppers and beetles.
The Balikun jerboa is a typical five-toed jerboa that grows to a head and body length of 115 to 132 mm (4.5 to 5.2 in) with a tail of 165 to 190 mm (6.5 to 7.5 in). The dorsal surface is yellowish-greyish-brown, each hair having a grey base, a yellow centre and a brown tip. The rump is darker and the flanks paler. The underparts, forelegs and inner surface of the hind legs are white. The tail is slender with a tuft of blackish hairs at the tip mostly growing sideways. It is similar in appearance to the Gobi jerboa (Allactaga bullata) of which it was at one time thought to be a subspecies, but the stripe of colour across the hips is slightly more reddish in colour in that species.
Distribution and habitat
The Balikun jerboa is endemic to the Balikun region of Xinjiang province of China, its range extending into Mongolia where it occurs in the eastern parts of the Gobi Desert. Its habitat is bare sandy and rocky areas with sparse vegetation.
The Balikun jerboa is nocturnal and lives solitarily in a burrow. It is active and is a good jumper, and feeds on plant material such as shoots, roots and grass seed as well as small insects. Little is known of its reproduction but it is thought to have two litters a year, each one consisting of one to three offspring.
The Balikun jerboa has a wide range and is presumed to have a large total population. No specific threats have been identified and there are several protected areas within its range, so the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".
- Avirmed, D., Shar, S., Lkhagvasuren, D. & Smith, A.T. (2008). Allactaga balikunica. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
- Andrew T. Smith; Yan Xie (2008). A guide to the mammals of China. Princeton University Press. pp. 199–200. ISBN 978-0-691-09984-2.
- Holden, M. E. and G. G. Musser. 2005. Family Dipodidae. Pp. 871-893 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.