de Winton, 1902
Anderson's gerbil (Gerbillus andersoni) is a species of gerbils distributed from Tunisia to Israel. Their habitats and diets are similar to other gerbils. The gestation period is 20–22 days and the average litter size is four or five. IUCN lists the junior synonym Gerbillus allenbyi as vulnerable.
Anderson's gerbil is a medium-sized rodent with a tail that is long compared to the rest of its body. This rodent has dense fur with a tan color along with some reddish tint on the upper part of the body with a white underbelly. The ears of the gerbil are very large with a dark fur color. The ears of this animal is distinctive in that it does not have the white patch behind the ear as others of the genus Gerbillus. Typical of the species in Gerbillus, Anderson's gerbil has large eyes with a black ring around them. There is a distinct white patch that appears above each of the eyes. The gerbil has long hind limbs while the front limbs are shorter. The length Anderson's gerbil is estimated between 19–27 cm. The tail length can vary from 11–15 cm. The mammal can weigh from 15.9-38.4 grams.
Habitat and distribution
The Anderson's gerbil usually occupy sandy dunes of deserts. The gerbil species has even been found in some solidified coastal dunes. This fact leads to say that the Anderson's gerbil is primarily found in sandy dunes along coastal regions of its distribution range. This animal can be found inland and tends to live in sandy areas of valleys or very dry areas along with being found living on mountainsides. The distribution of the Anderson's gerbil has been noted to be in coastal plains of North Africa and in the Middle East. In these countries, the animal ranges from Tunisia and northern Libya to Egypt, Israel, and southwestern Jordan.
Biology and reproduction
Like all other species in the genus Gerbillus, the Anderson's gerbil is a burrowing rodent. The evidence for this mammal tends to suggest that it has a nomadic lifestyle considering that the warrens that it builds it not as complex as other genera of gerbils. However, the species sometimes live in groups when they are in a favorable habitat that is suitable for the living conditions of a group. This particular species of gerbil have been found to occupy a small home range typically from 32 to 34 square meters. This species of gerbil has been documented to be nocturnal. These gerbil are seed-eating gerbils and feed on the particular seeds of the common evergreen Thymelea hirsuta. The breeding season for the Anderson's gerbil has been recorded to occur during late winter and early spring. Their breeding season coincides with the seed shedding of the Thymela hirsuta. Both genders of the species are active for reproductive purposes only once per year. The gestation period for the females is from 20 to 22 days. The females usually give birth to a liter of three to seven offspring. Anderson's gerbil has been said to be able to reproduce the breeding the year after it is born.
This species of gerbil is not technically a threatened species. Under the IUCN redlist, the animal is listed as of least concern and the only threat to this animal mentioned is that overgrazing could be a problem in some parts of the home range of the gerbil.
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- Baillie (1996). "Gerbillus andersoni". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 8 May 2006.Skinner, J.D. and Chimimba, C.T. (2005) The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Skinner, J.D. and Chimimba, C.T. (2005) The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.