Mediterranean Subregion

Mediterranean Subregion

 

a subregion of the Holarctic zoogeographic region, located mostly in the Mediterranean Region, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Because of the considerable variety of natural conditions and the diversity and genetic heterogeneity of the fauna, some zoogeographers have adopted somewhat different boundaries for the subregion, assigning Kazakhstan and Middle Asia to the Central Asian subregion. Others do not distinguish a Mediterranean subregion or limit it exclusively to mountains.

The rich and diverse fauna of the Mediterranean subregion includes many mammalian species. Typical chiropterans and rodents include jerboas (mostly in the eastern part of the subregion), mole rats, gerbils (several genera), mole voles, mountain voles (for example, the long-clawed mole vole), mouselike dormice, Betpakdala dormice, ground squirrels (several species), and porcupines. Rabbits are common. Typical carnivores include mongooses, genets, ratels, fennecs, Blanford’s fox, and tiger weasels. Among the ungulates are chamois, mountain goats, argalis, aoudads, and oryxes. Insectivores include Pyrenean desmans, Russian desmans, moles, and hedgehogs.

The bird population of the Mediterranean is quite varied, although there are few endemic species. Typical birds include rock partridges, snow partridges, sandgrouses, warblers, buntings, desert larks, desert jays, and bustards (Otis undulata). Reptilian life includes true lizards (for example, Lacerta saxícola), agamids, skinks, monitors, and snakes (for example, vipers, cobras, and blind snakes). Among the amphibians are endemic tritons, salamanders, and obstetrical toads. The insect life is diverse; cicadas are particularly numerous.

The fauna of the Mediterranean subregion has undergone substantial changes since ancient times as a result of man’s activities.

REFERENCES

Bobrinskii, N. A., and N. A. Gladkov. Geografiia zhivotnykh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1961.
Gratsianskii, A. N. Priroda Sredizemnomor’ia. Moscow, 1971.

V. G. GEPTNER

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