Dipodidae


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Dipodidae

[də′päd·ə‚dē]
(vertebrate zoology)
The Old World jerboas, a family of mammals in the order Rodentia.

Dipodidae

 

a family of mammals of the order Rodentia. The body measures 5.5–25 cm in length. The tail is longer than the trunk and often has a flat black and white tuft on the tip. The hind extremities are longer than the front ones and have an elongated foot and shortened lateral digits, which in some species are absent. Many Dipodidae move by jumping on the hind legs alone. They usually inhabit open areas in mountains and valleys in the temperate and torrid zones of Eurasia, North Africa, and North America.

The Dipodidae include approximately 30 species, belonging to 14 genera. The 22 species found in the USSR are from nine genera, the most common being Sicista, Salpingotus, Cardiocranus, and Pygeretmus. All Dipodidae hibernate. They are active at night or at twilight, feeding mainly on underground parts of plants and on seeds. They bear one or two litters a year. Some Dipodidae damage plants that reinforce sand, and some transmit the causative agents of a number of diseases. Fossil remains are known from the Oligocene.

REFERENCE

Mlekopitaiushchie fauny SSSR, part 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.