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SPECIES Rhombomys opimus

Author:Lichtenstein, 1823.
Citation:Naturh. Abh. Eversmann's Reise: 122.
Common Name:Great Gerbil
Type Locality:Kazakhstan, Kzyl-Ordinskaya, KaraKumy Desert (see Pavlinov and Rossolimo, 1987).
Distribution:From S Mongolia and N China (Xinjiang, Gansu, Nei Mongolia) to Kazakhstan, Iran, Afghanistan, and SW Pakistan (Corbet, 1987c, Ma et al., 1987; Wang, 2003; Zhou et al., 2000).
Status:IUCN Lower Risk (lc).
Comments:Reviewed by Pavlinov et al. (1990). Regional reviews cover Pakistan (Roberts, 1977), Iran (Lay, 1967), Afghanistan (Hassinger, 1973), Russia and adjacent regions (Gromov and Erbajeva, 1995), and N China (Xinjiang, Gansu, and Nei Mongolia; Ma et al., 1987; Zhang et al., 1997; Zhou et al., 2000). Rhombomys opimus is unique among gerbils in having hypsodont, evergrowing (rootless) molars with cement in the reentrant angles, but Pavlinov (1982b, 1996) found a few old individuals with rooted molars from several localities in Iran; however, this discovery does not help clarify taxonomic status of the species. Chromosomal data summarized by Qumsiyeh and Schlitter (1991). Morphology and schmelzmuster of rootless molars in relation to jaw motion documented by Koenigswald et al. (1994) and compared to 24 other extant rodent genera. Phallic morphology described by Yang et al. (1992). Age identification and population structure of Chinese population reported by Zhou et al. (2002), who also mapped the nine different dry habitats in N China occupied by R. opimus, noting that its distribution has been altered there through human activities.



    alaschanicus Matschie, 1911
    dalversinicus Kashkarov, 1926
    fumicolor Heptner, 1933
    giganteus Buchner, 1889
    major Burdelov, 1989
    minor Burdelov, 1989
    nigrescens Satunin, 1903
    pallidus Wagner, 1841
    pevzovi Heptner, 1939
    sargadensis Heptner, 1939
    sodalis Goodwin, 1939

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