Long-eared jerboas are found in the Palearctic region. They occur from southernmost Mongolia into the Takla-Makan Desert, Mengxin, Aerijin Mountain, and Qing-Zang Plateau regions of north western China. (Rogovin and Shenbrot, 1995; Wilson and Reeder, 2005; Xiang, et al., 2004)
Specimens of long-eared jerboas have been collected in sandy valleys that are covered with low growing bushes. Their range includes the Mengxin and Aerjin Mountain regions, which are arid and classified as desert or semi desert. Their range also extends into the Qing-Zang Plateau region, a cold, high elevation desert area. Plant diversity is low in these areas, Haloxylon ammodendron is a low-growing shrub that has been documented at some capture sites. (Nowak, 1999; Rogovin and Shenbrot, 1995)
- Terrestrial Biomes
- desert or dune
Long-eared jerboa tail length is 150 to 162 mm, body length is from 70 to 90 mm. The tail is covered with short hairs that are similar in color to the rest of the body except for the terminal tuft, which is white and black. Upper parts are reddish yellow to a light russet color. The belly is white. The hind foot is 40 to 46 mm in length, with five digits. The two lateral digits are shorter than the three central ones. The central metatarsals are fused for a small distance. The feet are covered with tufts of bristly hairs. Long-eared jerboas have ears that are 1/3 longer than their heads. The incisors are thin and white. A small premolar can be found on each side of the upper jaw. Females have eight mammae. (Nowak, 1999)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range length
- 70 to 90 mm
- 2.76 to 3.54 in
For some closely related jerboa species mating usually happens a short time after awaking from winter hibernation. A female will breed twice during the summer season and raise between 2 to 6 young. Gestation time is between 25 and 35 days. (Macdonald, 1999)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- Breeding can occur twice each season.
- Breeding season
- Breeding begins shortly after awaking from hibernation.
- Range number of offspring
- 2 to 6
- Range gestation period
- 25 to 35 days
Little is known about parental investment in long-eared jerboas. Like most mammals, females nurse and care for their young at least until they are weaned.
- Parental Investment
Long-eared jerboas are presumed to be mainly nocturnal, as are other jerboas. Related jerboas often create four different types of burrows. A temporary, summer day burrow is used for cover while hunting during the daylight. They will have a second, temporary burrow used for hunting at night. They will also have two permanent burrows one for summer and one for winter. The permanent summer burrow is actively used throughout the summer and the young are raised there. Jerboas hibernate during the winter and use the permanent winter burrow for this. Temporary burrows are shorter in length than permanent burrows. (Macdonald, 1999; Shenbrot, et al., 1999)
Home ranges of long-eared jerboas are not known.
Communication and Perception
Exact forms of communication in long-eared jerboas are not known. However, many species within the family Dipodidae participate in dust bathing. Dust bathing is often a way to use chemical communication. Their keen hearing suggests they may use sounds or vibrations to communicate. (Ebensperger, 2000)
Long-eared jerboas eat flying insects, using sound to locate insects and capture them by performing fast leaps into the air. (Nowak, 1999)
- Other Communication Modes
- scent marks
Long-eared jerboas are insectivorous. They often eat flying insects by using sound to locate them and then capturing them by performing fast leaps into the air. (Kelt, et al., 1999; Kelt, et al., 1996; Shenbrot, et al., 1999)
- Animal Foods
Little owls (Athene noctua) are predators of some species in the family Dipodidae in central Asia. Most species in this family take advantage of their excellent hearing to avoid predation by nocturnal predators. Jerboas are also cryptically colored. (Lay, 1974)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
- Known Predators
- little owls (Athene noctua)
Long-eared jerboas are insectivorous, impacting insect populations within their range. (Shenbrot, et al., 1999)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Long-eared jerboas are important members of their native ecosystems.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Helicobacter species were found in the feces of long-eared jerboas, suggesting they could carry and transmit this disease. (Kazuo, et al., 2004)
- Negative Impacts
- carries human disease
The major threat to long-eared jerboas, according to IUCN, is ongoing human disturbance. The IUCN states that the population has undergone an observed or probable reduction of at least eighty percent over the last ten years due to either a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence, and/or quality of their habitat. (Baillie, 2006)
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Nicole Swanson (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor, instructor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
uses sound to communicate
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
- desert or dunes
in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
Referring to a burrowing life-style or behavior, specialized for digging or burrowing.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.
- scent marks
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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Kazuo, G., J. Wei, Z. Qiang, O. Yuzaburo, K. Haruo, I. Toshio, I. Mamoru. 2004. Epidemiology of Helicobacter Infection in Wild Rodents in the Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region of China. Current Microbiology, 49: 221-223. Accessed November 20, 2006 at http://www.springerlink.com/content/g0v87fn0l9n4rg1n/.
Kelt, D., J. Brown, E. Heske, P. Marquet, S. Morton, J. Reid, K. Rogovin, G. Shenbrot. 1996. Community Structure of Desert Small Mammals: Comparisons Across Four Continents. Ecology, 77/3: 746-761. Accessed September 12, 2006 at http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0012-9658%28199604%2977%3A3%3C746%3ACSODSM%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y.
Kelt, D., K. Rogovin, G. Shenbrot, J. Brown. 1999. Patterns in the Structure of Asian and North American Desert Small Mammal Communities. Journal of Biogeography, 26/4: 825-841. Accessed September 12, 2006 at http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0305-0270%28199907%2926%3A4%3C825%3APITSOA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-N.
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Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: The Johnson Hopkins University Press.
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