Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 1, 2017

Facts and misconceptions on the Palaearctic existence of the striped ground squirrel

Boris Kryštufek, Cătălin Stanciu, Danijel Ivajnšič, Sidi Imad Cherkaoui and Franc Janžekovič
From the journal Mammalia

Abstract

The striped ground squirrel has a wide distribution in the Ethiopian region but is restricted to a small isolated area in Palaearctic Africa. This fragment was first recorded in the late 1940s in the Souss Valley (Morocco), however, not a single new observation has been published in the following decades. In September 2016 we surveyed the Souss Valley and found squirrels at 43 sites within the triangle between Agadir–Taroudant–Tiznit. Occupied sites were not distributed at random but occurred between an altitude of 45–254 m and on a substrate with coarse texture containing >65% sand. The vast majority of the sites with squirrels (69%) were classified as suburban, cultivated or both. Habitat suitability was estimated by applying geographically weighted logistic regression analysis. The influence of local predictor variables varied across the study area indicating the heterogeneous effects on the determination of the occurrence of the species. The modelled highly suitable habitat area for the striped ground squirrel in Morocco covers almost 690 km2 and only marginally overlaps the range for the species reported in the literature.

Acknowledgements

Travels to Morocco which set the frame for present study were organised by the Oceanographic Research and Marine Environment Protection Society “Oceanic-Club” (Constanţa, Romania) and the “Grigore Antipa” National Museum of Natural History (Bucharest). We are particularly grateful to Dumitru Murariu, Răzvan-Valentin Popescu-Mirceni, Gabriel Chişamera, Costică Adam and Zaharia Răzvan. Cécile Callou (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris) provided information on vouchers held in Paris. Access to collections was granted by Irina Ruf and Katrin Krohmann (Senckenberg Museum Frankfurt) and Rainer Hutterer (Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Bonn). Karolyn Close edited for grammar and style. B.K. acknowledges the financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (research core funding no. P1-0255).

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Supplemental Material:

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2017-0060).

Received: 2017-5-26
Accepted: 2017-7-27
Published Online: 2017-9-1
Published in Print: 2018-4-25

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