Meriones tristrami Thomas, 1892

Amr, Zuhair S., Abu, Mohammad A., Qumsiyeh, Mazin & Eid, Ehab, 2018, Systematics, distribution and ecological analysis of rodents in Jordan, Zootaxa 4397 (1), pp. 1-94: 52-55

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Meriones tristrami Thomas, 1892


Meriones tristrami Thomas, 1892 

Common name: Tristram's jird.

Diagnosis: Dorsal fur color brownish grizzled with black, ventral color pure white, line of demarcation distinct.

White patches above eye and behind ear. Ears with pigmentation ( Figure 59View FIGURE 59). Sole partially covered with hair. Tail longer than head body length with a small black brush. Claws pale in color. Four pairs of mammae. Skull small with small tympanic bullae, the posterior part of the bullae does not extend beyond the paraoccipital. Braincase rounded at posterior end. Suprameatal triangle of bullae completely closed. Upper incisors with anterior median groove ( Figure 60View FIGURE 60).

Localities: Previous records. Ash Shawbak, Aṭ Ṭafīla (Nehring, 1902); ‘Ain Gleidat, Ash Shawbak, Aṭ Ṭafīla ( Allen, 1915); Azraq ed Duruz, Azraq Shīshān (Atallah, 1966; 1967a); ‘Ammān, Ra’s an Naqb (Atallah, 1978); Jāwá (Searight, 1987); Ghazaleh, Irbid, Jāwá, King Husayn Bridge, Surra Reserve Station ( Amr & Disi, 1988; Amr, 2012); Ḑānā Biosphere Reserve (Yousef & Amr, 2005); Aş Şarīḩ, Umm Al Qiţţayn (Sözen et al., 2008). Materials from owl pellets: Ex. Bubo bubo, Wādī  Zarqā, S Jarash (Bates & Harrison, 1989); Aş Şarīḩ (Rifai et al., 1998); Wādī As Sīr (Obuch, per. com.); Ḑānā Biosphere Reserve (Obuch); Marj Al hammam (Obuch, per. com.); Ajlūn Forest Reserve (Obuch, per. com.); ‘Ammān National park (Obuch, per. com.); ‘Ammān 26; (Obuch, per. com.); ‘Ammān University (Obuch, per. com.); Iraq al Wahaj (Obuch, per. com.); Ar Rājif, Wadí Suweid (Obuch, per. com.); Wādī Zarqā Ma’in (Pokines, per. com.). New records. Al Lajjun, Ar Ramthā, Wādī Al-Mujib, Wādī Rattia (Ḑānā NR), Gharandal ( Figure 61View FIGURE 61).

Habitat: This is a rather common species in Jordan. It inhabits the Mediterranean and steppe areas. In Jordan, this species was found mostly within the humid and dry Mediterranean areas of the country. It was found in pen areas and avoids rocky habitats. The distribution range of Tristram jird extends eastwards to the fringes of the eastern desert, where as it was collected from Umm Al Qiţţayn area, with elevations reaching 1000m asl. The populations Wādī Ramm could be considered as relicts in such very arid habitats. The burrows system of Tristram Jird were studied by Peter (1961), whereas it could be small (50 cm long) or extensive reaching several meters in length. 

Biology: Gestation period lasts for 24 days, where a female give birth to 6–9 young (Atallah, 1978).

Remarks: The distribution of this species is important, since the Tristram's jird plays a role as a reservoir host for Leishmania tropica  , the etiologic agent of the oriental sore. Two different karyotypic forms were determined. The karyotype of three specimens from Umm Al Qiţţayn was found to be 2n: 72, NF: 76–80, NFa: 72, while one of three specimens from As-Sarih was determined to be 2n: 72, NF: 77, NFa: 73 since one of the biarmed pairs consisted of one subtelocentric and one acrocentric chromosome (Qumsiyeh et al., 1986; Sözen et al., 2008).