Mammal Species of the World Logo



GENUS Gerbilliscus

Author:Thomas, 1897.
Citation:Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1897: 433.
Type Species:Gerbillus boehmi (Noack, 1887).

Tribe Taterillini, Subtribe Taterillina. Usually included as a subgenus of Tatera (Musser and Carleton, 1993, for example). Pavlinov (1981b, 2001) and Pavlinov et al. (1990) regarded true Tatera to consist only of the Asian species T. indica, initially placed all the African species in subgenera Gerbilliscus and Taterona (Pavlinov, 1981b), then separated Gerbilliscus as a genus (which included Taterona as a subgenus), and identified Taterillus as its closest relative. Pavlinovís phylogenetic analysis reflects the distinctive traits associated with auditory structures and occlusal pattern of m1 separating Asian from all African species and we follow his arrangement. African Gerbilliscus is also distinguished from Asian Tatera by humerus morphology (entepicondylar foramen present in Gerbilliscus, absent in Tatera; Bates, 1988) and karyotypes (2n = 36-52 in Gerbilliscus, 2n = 68 for Tatera; Rao et al., 1968; Qumsiyeh and Schlitter, 1991; Yosida, 1981; Yiğit et al., 2001).

Taxonomic revisions of various inclusiveness (when Gerbilliscus was included in Tatera) were provided by Pirlot (1955) and Bates (1985, 1988). Davis (1975a) reviewed the genus and, aside from C. boehmi, clustered all the species either in an afra group or robusta group. Chromosomal information for some species was reported by Matthey and Petter (1970) and summarized by Qumsiyeh and Schlitter (1991). Chromosomal contrasts among Southern African species of Gerbilliscus, Gerbillurus, and Desmodillus documented by Qumsiyeh (1986). Results of craniometric studies of Angolan Gerbilliscus (as Tatera) were presented by Crawford-Cabral (1988) and Crawford-Cabral and Pacheco (1991). Neal (1982, as Tatera) provided contrasts in reproductive characteristics of G. nigricaudus, G. robustus, and G. validus. Significance of divergence in acoustic repertoire, ultrasonic vocalizations and associated behavior, and overall behavioral patterns among selected species of Gerbilliscus, Gerbillurus, and Desmodillus in different combinations reported by Dempster and Perrin (1991, 1994) and Dempster et al. (1991, 1992, 1993).

Evolutionary history as indicated by fossils (reported as Tatera) extends to early Pliocene and Pleistocene in East and South Africa (Avery, 1998, 2000; Denys, 1987a, 1989b, 1990a; Sabatier, 1982; Wessels, 1998) and Pleistocene in Namibia (Senut et al., 1992). Protatera, from the late Miocene of North Africa and late Miocene-early Pliocene of Spain, is the oldest member of Taterillini in Africa and may be ancestral to Gerbilliscus (Jaeger, 1977b; see reviews by Denys, 1999, and Wessels, 1998; reported as Tatera).



SUBGENUS Gerbilliscus

SPECIES boehmi



SPECIES brantsii

SPECIES guineae

SPECIES inclusus


SPECIES leucogaster

SPECIES nigricaudus

SPECIES phillipsi

SPECIES robustus

SPECIES validus


  Bucknell Home Page   Biology Department Home Page


©Bucknell Univesity All Rights Reserved
Comments and questions to