A preliminary study on Indian Gerbils, Tatera indica Hardwicke, 1807 at population level in eastern and southern parts of Iran (Rodentia: Muridae)

Document Type : Research articles


Rodentology Research Department, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University, 91775-1436, Mashhad, Iran


There is little known about the systematics and population structure of Indian gerbils (Tatera indica) in Iran. In the present study six populations of T.indica from different localities of Iran were compared according to morphology, morphometry and karyological studies to determine the status of these populations at the sub specific level. The univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses of four external and 18 cranial morphometric characters in Tatera indica (Rodentia: Muridae) were performed using 84 specimens collected from widely scattered geographical localities.The results of MANCOVA showed that there are no significant differences between sexes. In order to show variation between samples and the significance of cranial variables CDA and PCA analyses were carried out using log-transformed data. The results of CDA analysis indicated discrimination between samples. The results of the univariate and multivariate analysis showed that the morphometric characteristics of the Indian gerbil populations in Iran are slightly different. Also, the results of the GM analysis showed two major phonetic groups which indicates separation of the northern and the southern populations. Karyological results showed that 2N=68 and NFa=80 in all karyotyped specimens which are similar to findings of previous authors. There are not any variations in 2N and NFa of the studied specimens. On the basis of the CDA, PCA and GM analyses there are two main phenetic groups in these populations which might be related to the sub-specific condition of them. However, due to methodological problems, other techniques such as molecular studies must be applied for determination of true status of these groups.