Mzab gundi

Massoutiera mzabi

TAXONOMY

Ctenodactylus mzabi (Lataste, 1881), Ghardaia, northern Algeria. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Lataste's gundi; French: Goundi du Sahara; German: Langhaargundi.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body 6.7-9.5 in (17-24 cm); tail 1.4 in (3.5 cm); captive males averaged 6.05 oz (172 g), females 6.85 oz (194 g). Various shades of yellow, brown or buff; ears round and flat; tail bushy.

DISTRIBUTION

Central Sahara Desert in Algeria, northern Niger, northwestern Chad, northeastern Mali, and southwestern Libya.

HABITAT

Rock outcrops and mountains in desert; occurs up to 7,875 ft (2,400 m) above sea level.

Pectinator spekei

Massoutiera mzabi

BEHAVIOR

Lives in rock crevices, using many temporary shelters. Diurnal; emerges to feed in early morning; peak activity one to four hours after dawn, but active for much of the day, except during hottest periods. Does not emerge in cold or wet weather; often sunbathes and grooms. Utters an infrequent chirp. In colonies, occurs at a density of 0.12/acre (0.3/ha). Lives in family groups with close social ties; females help other females during pregnancy and when giving birth.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Eats leaves, stems, flowers and seeds, preferring Cruciferae (especially Moricandia arvensis), Compositae, and Graminae.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Young recorded March to June; females also pregnant in April-May. Estrus cycle in captive females averages 24.9 days; estrus period October to March. Litter size in captivity two to three; newborn young 2.8-3.2 in (7-8 cm), and approximately 0.7 oz (20 g). Sexually mature in eight to 12 months.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not globally threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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