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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 5.8 years (captivity) Observations: Although longevity has not been studied in detail in these North African animals, one captive specimen lived for 5.8 years (Richard Weigl 2005). Maximum longevity could be underestimated, though.
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In 1908, two French doctors isolated a protozoan parasite now known to occur in almost every mammal, in the spleen of a North African gundi. They called it Toxoplasma gondii (Macdonald, 1984).

Twilight, in the common speech of the Arabians whom inhabit this region, is called "the hour when the gundi comes out" (Walker, 1975).

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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This species is not on the endangered species list.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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North African gundis could potentially be destructive to crops, gardens and such where their ranges overlap with human habitation.

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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In the mid-19th century the explorer John Speke shot gundis in the coastal hills of Somalia. It is not known if this was done for sport or for food, but potentially gundis could be used as both (Macdonald, 1984).

It is known that some Arabian tribes hunt gundis for food during the twilight hours (Walker, 1975).

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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The diet of C. gundi consists of a variety of vegetation. Leaves, stalks, flowers, and the seeds of almost any desert plant (including grass and acacia) are used as sustenance (Macdonald, 1984).

Typically, gundis forage over long distances due to the scarcity of food available in their desert habitats. They may forage up to 1 kilometer (.6 mi) per morning. Their home range size varies from a few square meters to 3 square kilometers (1.9 sq mi) (Macdonald, 1984).

Regular foraging is essential because gundis do not store food. When long foraging expeditions are necessary gundis alternate feeding in the sun and cooling off in the shade. In extreme drought gundis eat at dawn when plants contain the most moisture.

Interestingly, gundis do not drink. They get most of their water intake from the plants they eat (Macdonald, 1984; Walker, 1975). Their kidneys have long tubules for absorbing water and their urine can be concentrated if plants dry out completely. However, this is an emergency response and can only be sustained for a limited time period (Macdonald, 1984).

Another interesting fact about their foraging foraging is that while most rodents are good gnawers, gundis are not because they lack the hard orange enamel on the outer surfaces of their incisors (Macdonald, 1984).

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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Ctenodactylus gundi, the North African gundi, can be found in Southeastern Morocco, Northern Algeria, Tunisia and Libya (Macdonald, 1984; Walker, 1975).

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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The North African gundi is found in deserts with arid rock outcrops. Its habitat may also include a rocky slope on a hill or mountain (Macdonald, 1984; Walker, 1975).

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
5.8 years.

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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The North African gundi ranges in size from 16-20cm for its head body length. It has a tiny tail, a mere whisp of hairs that is about 10 to 20mm long.

Gundis have very short legs, flat ears, big eyes, and long whiskers. It has been said that when seen crouched on a rock in the sun with the wind blowing through their fur, they look like powder puffs (Macdonald, 1984). They have compact bodies, resembling guinea pigs in external appearance. Each of their feet has four digits, the two inner digits of the hind foot have comblike bristles that stand out against their dark claws. The claws are not enlarged but are very sharp (Walker, 1975).

The skull of the North African gundi is broad posteriorly. It has a straight palate. The cheek teeth are rootless (ever growing) and they have the following dental formula: 1/1 0/0 1-2/1-2/ 3/3 X2= 20 or 24 (Walker, 1975).

Range mass: 175 to 195 g.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Female gundis have a gestation period of forty days. The mother has four nipples, two on her flanks and two on her chest. She usually has a litter size of two. The babies are born fully furred and with their eyes open. The young have few opportunities to suckle as they are weaned on chewed leaves starting with their mother's first foraging expedition after birth. They are fully weaned after four weeks. Weaning probably occurs so soon after birth because the mother has little milk to spare in the dry heat of the desert (Macdonald, 1984).

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 29.9 g.

Average gestation period: 74 days.

Average number of offspring: 1.9.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female:
319 days.

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Leu, H. 2000. "Ctenodactylus gundi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ctenodactylus_gundi.html
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Heather Leu, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Common gundi

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The common gundi (Ctenodactylus gundi) is a species of rodent in the family Ctenodactylidae. It is found in Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. The parasitic organism Toxoplasma gondii was first described in 1908 in Tunis by Charles Nicolle and Louis Manceaux within the tissues of the gundi.

Description

The common gundi grows to a length of between 16 to 20 cm (6.3 to 7.9 in), having a stumpy tail of 10 to 20 mm (0.4 to 0.8 in). A gundi weighs about 185 g (6.5 oz). It resembles a guinea pig in appearance, having big eyes, flat ears and short limbs. Each foot has four digits and sharp, dark claws; the two hind feet have comblike bristles between the claws. Gundi's teeth are rootless.[3]

Distribution

This gundi is found in northern Africa on the south side of the Atlas Mountains at altitudes up to about 2,900 m (9,500 ft). Its range extends from western Libya through Tunisia and Algeria to eastern Morocco.[1]

Ecology

Gundis are diurnal and herbivorous. It lives in rocky, arid places, making its home in crevices and under boulders. These homes are usually temporary.[3]

In the early morning, gundis sunbathe until the temperature passes 20° C (68°F). Once it's hot enough, the gundis will forage and eat, then go back to sunbathing on warm rocks. They will shelter in the shade once the temperature reaches 32° C (90° F). Only after the temperature drops again, in the afternoon, do gundis leave their shelter.[3] It forages for leaves, stems, flowers and seeds over large distances because of the scarcity of suitable plants. It does not drink, obtaining sufficient water from its diet, nor does it store food as do some desert rodents.[3]

Gundis make chirp-like sounds to communicate with each other. If alarmed, they thump their hind feet as well.[3]

A gundi reaches sexual maturity at the age of nine to twelve months. The gestation period is estimated to be 57 days and the litter size averages just under two. Gundis are born with open eyes and fur. They are able to control their body temperature from birth, and are weaned after only four weeks.[3] The interval between litters is about 70 days.[4]

The gundi is a territorial species, with family groups of between three and eleven adults defending a territory.[1] Gundis live in colonies, and within these colonies, gundis live in separate units. A unit can be a female, male, and their offspring, or multiple females with juveniles. Gundis sleep in piles to stay warm during the winter. [3]

Of the common gundis tested in southeastern Tunisia, nearly half were found to harbour Leishmania parasites; Leishmania tropica was found in five individuals and Leishmania major in one. These protozoan parasites are causative agents of cutaneous leishmaniasis, a skin disease transmitted by female sandflies, and it is thought that the gundi may act as a natural reservoir for the pathogen.[5]

Status

The common gundi is a fairly common species with a wide range, and no particular threats have been identified. Its abundance varies according to the amount of precipitation that falls; in the west of its range it is replaced by Val's gundi (Ctenodactylus vali) in dry years. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed it as being a species of "least concern".[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Aulagnier, S. (2008). "Ctenodactylus gundi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T5792A11701789. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T5792A11701789.en.
  2. ^ Dieterlen, F. (2005). "Family Ctenodactylidae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 1536. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Leu, Heather. (2000). "Ctenodactylus gundi". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  4. ^ Virginia Douglass Hayssen; Ari Van Tienhoven; Ans Van Tienhoven (1993). Asdell's Patterns of Mammalian Reproduction: A Compendium of Species-specific Data. Cornell University Press. pp. 678. ISBN 0-8014-1753-8.
  5. ^ Leishmaniasis: New Insights for the Healthcare Professional. ScholarlyEditions. 2013. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-4816-5996-3.

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Common gundi: Brief Summary

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The common gundi (Ctenodactylus gundi) is a species of rodent in the family Ctenodactylidae. It is found in Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. The parasitic organism Toxoplasma gondii was first described in 1908 in Tunis by Charles Nicolle and Louis Manceaux within the tissues of the gundi.

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