Desert gundi

Ctenodactylus vali

TAXONOMY

Ctenodactylus vali Thomas, 1902, north of Tripoli, Libya. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Sahara/Val's gundi; French: Goundi du Sahara; German: Sahara-Gundi.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length is about 6.3-6.7 in (16-17 cm); tail 0.4-0.6 in (1-1.5 cm); average mass 6.2 oz (175 g). Buff to chest nut, with whitish un-derparts; tail small, not bushy.

DISTRIBUTION

Southern Morocco, western Algeria, and northwestern Libya.

HABITAT

Rocky outcrops in desert, from sea level to 8,200 ft (2,500 m).

BEHAVIOR

Shelters in rock crevices. Diurnal, emerging soon after dawn; activity peaks two hours after dawn, and there is often a small amount of activity for two to four hours before dusk. Sunbathes frequently. Has whistling calls. Family groups occupy territories in colonies; one colony covered approximately 26,900 ft2 (2,500 m2).

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds entirely on vegetation, preferring Cruciferae (especially Eremophyton chevallieri), Compositae (especially Amberboa leu-cantha), and Graminae (especially Cymbopogon and Aristida); also eats acacia leaves.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Semicaptive females produced young mainly in March-April, but breeding season may extend from February to June. Es-trous cycle averages 23.4 days; anestrus from May to December. Gestation period 56 days; litter size one to three. Young weigh about 0.7 oz (20 g) when born; nurse for several weeks; fully grown and sexually mature in nine to 12 months. Apparently only one litter per year. Longevity five years in captivity.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not globally threatened. Locally threatened by hunting, human settlement and predation by domestic cats and dogs.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Some are hunted for food. ♦

Ctenodactylus vali
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