Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Most species of spiny mice are nocturnal, but they may also be active during the morning and late afternoon (3). They are omnivorous, taking seeds, grass and insects (4). They live in groups, and females that have given birth tend to help other mothers by cleaning them and biting the umbilical cords (3). Reproduction occurs continuously throughout the year, with a gestation period of five to six weeks (3). Two to three young are typically produced per litter (4), with older mothers producing larger litters (3). Young spiny mice are highly developed at birth, their eyes tend to be open and they have a full coat of fur (4). They are fully weaned at two weeks after birth. Two to three months later the young reach sexual maturity, and average life expectancy is around three years (3).
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Description

The Asia Minor or Turkish spiny mouse is so-called as the back of both males and females are covered in coarse, inflexible spine-like hairs (3). The scientific name Acomys also refers to this feature; the word is derived from the Greek akoke meaning sharp point and mus, meaning mouse (4). The ears are large and erect, and the tail appears to be naked, and its scales are easily visible (3). Although spiny mice have traditionally been thought to belong to the same subfamily as rats and mice (Murinae), recent genetic studies have shown that they are, in fact, more closely related to gerbils (Gerbillinae) (5).
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Distribution

Range Description

Acomys cilicicus is only known from its type locality on the southern coast of Turkey (GMA Turkey 2006).
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Range

Found only in Turkey, where it occurs in one dry area on the southern coast (1) (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Unknown.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Inhabits a dry, rocky desert area (4) (2) in temperate forest (1).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 4 years (captivity) Observations: One captive specimen was still alive at 4 years of age (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Amori, G., Hutterer, R., Kryštufek, B. & Yigit, N.

Reviewer/s
Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Data Deficient because of taxonomic issues. This taxon is likely to be conspecific with the widespread and common species Acomys cahirinus but more research is needed to confirm this.

History
  • 1996
    Critically Endangered
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Status

Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1). This species was previously listed as Critically Endangered but is now considered Data Deficient as it may belong to the same species as the widespread and common northeast African spiny mouse, Acomys cahirinus (1).
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Population

Population
Population size and trends have not been quantified.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
There is high tourism development in the only known locality for this species.
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The threats facing this highly endangered spiny mouse are unknown at present (1).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is not known from any protected areas.
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Conservation

Very little is know of this species and research into the threats facing this mouse is required desperately. A number of zoos support breeding groups of the species (4) (2), which provide a last-ditch redoubt against the total extinction of the species. Hopefully the wild habitat of the Asia Minor spiny mouse can be protected and reintroduction programmes may be possible in the future when more has been discovered of the wild populations of the species and the threats facing it.
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Wikipedia

Asia minor spiny mouse

The Asia Minor spiny mouse (Acomys cilicicus) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae.[2]

Description[edit]

Acomys cilicicus are small terrestrial and social rodents, living also in large groups. The head and the body reach a length of 104–121 millimetres (4.1–4.8 in), with a tail of about 102–117 millimetres (4.0–4.6 in) and a weight up to 48 g.[3]

The upper side of the body is dark gray, with purple reflections, while the lower sides are yellowish-white and the flanks are light brown. The tail is hairless, scaly and shorter than the head and body. The chromosome number is 2n = 36.

In captivity these mice reproduce and live for about 4 years. Since this species was previously considered endangered, there is a protection program and a government permission is needed for export from Turkey. Only a few zoos in the world have individuals of this species (Prague, Tallinn and Helsinki Zoo).

This species is related to the Cairo spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus) and also to the Cyprus spiny mouse (Acomys nesiotes), but there are significant morphological differences.

A. cilicicus in Africasia House at Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki

Distribution[edit]

This species is endemic of Turkey. It is known only from the type locality 17 km east of the Turkish town of Silifke, located in the south-west of Mersin, along the southern coast of Turkey.

Habitat[edit]

Its natural habitat is temperate forests, but this species is also living close to human dwellings.

Conservation status[edit]

A. cilicicus was previously listed as Critically Endangered but is now considered Data Deficient because of taxonomic issues, as it may belong to the same species as the widespread and common northeast Cairo spiny mouse, A. cahirinus.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Amori, G., Hutterer, R., Kryštufek, B. & Yigit, N. (2008). Acomys cilicicus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
  2. ^ Musser, G. G.; Carleton, M. D. (2005). "Superfamily Muroidea". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 894–1531. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  3. ^ Stephan Aulagnier & Al. - Guide des mammiferes d'Europe, d'Afrique du Nord et du Moyen-Orient - Delachaux & Niestlé SA, Paris


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