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SPECIES Gerbillus (Gerbillus) tarabuli

Author:Thomas, 1902.
Citation:Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1902: 5.
Common Name:Tarabul’s Gerbil
Type Locality:Libya, Sebha.
Distribution:Ranges from N Senegal and S Mauritania (Bâ et al., 2001; Dobigny et al., 2002b; Duplantier et al., 1991a; Duplantier and Granjon, 1992; Granjon et al., 1992, as cf pyramidum; Granjon et al., 2002b) westward to the Cyrenaican Plateau of Libya (Ranck, 1968) and the Tibesti Mtns of Chad (Setzer and Ranck, 1971; Granjon et al., 1999:305).
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (nt) as G. riggenbachi, Lower Risk (lc) as G. tarabuli.

Subgenus Gerbillus. Usually listed as a synonym of G. pyramidum (see Pavlinov et al., 1990), Lay et al. (1975) noted that tarabuli could be distinguished by morphological traits. Future inquiry, according to Lay (1983:347) ". . . should examine the possibility that the 2n = 40 . . .forms reported from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Senegal . . .are conspecific and may be referable to G. tarabuli." Granjon et al. (1999) have examined the distribution of samples with the 2n = 40 complement and using analyses of G- and C-banding and morphometric data redefined the species limits of G. tarabuli and its geographic distribution, as outlined above. Diploid number and other chromosomal traits confirmed by Chetoui et al. (2002) in Tunisian sample. Lay (1983) felt hamadensis, named as a subspecies of G. pyramidum by Ranck (1968), should provisionally be included in G. tarabuli. Granjon et al. (1999) explained why riggenbachi (formerly recorded from the type locality at Rio de Oro in Western Sahara and south on the coast at Lagwera, near border with Mauritania (see map in Aulagnier and Thevenot, 1986) and N Senegal (Duplantier et al., 1991a) is a synonym of G. tarabuli; riggenbachi has been included in either G. pyramidum (F. Petter, 1975b) or G. latastei (Cockrum, 1977), but Lay (1983:347) contended that it ". . . should be regarded as distinct pending comprehensive revision. . .," an arrangement followed by Aulagnier and Thevenot (1986). Granjon et al. (1999) also implicitly included tibesti (from the Tibesti Mtns of Chad) in G. tarabuli; tibesti was originally described as a subspecies of G. pyramidum but Lay (1983:346) noted "It is unclear whether G. p. tibesti represents this form, another species or is distinct." Musser and Carleton (1993) listed it as a separate species pending revisionary studies of North African Gerbillus. The record from Mauritania is documented by Bâ et al. (2001) and was identified by its karyotype (2n = 40, FN = 74), which is typical of the species. See Dobigny et al. (2002b) for additional chromosomal information.

Gerbillus tarabuli is most closely related to G. pyramidum (2n = 38) from Egypt and Sudan, and Granjon et al. (1999) suggested the distribution of G. tarabuli to be separated from the range of G. pyramidum in Egypt by the Cyrenaican Plateau and northern region of the Libyan desert. Those geomorphic features may separate Egyptian G. pyramidum from G. tarabuli, but apparently the former also occurs in the Sahelian region of SE Mauritania, N Mali, and W Niger (Granjon et al., 2002a). Dobigny et al. (2001a) documented G. tarabuli from N Mali, recorded the diploid number as 40, reported a species from the same area with a 2n of 38 that is probably G. pyramidum, and recorded that species (identifications based on karyotypes) from the region outlined by Granjon et al. (2002a). Ecology and membership in community of small mammals in coastal SW Mauritania reported by Granjon et al. (2002b). See account of G. pyramidum.




    hamadensis Ranck, 1968
    riggenbachi Thomas, 1903
    tibesti Setzer and Ranck, 1971

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