Setzer’s mouse-tailed dormouse (Myomimus setzeri)
|Also known as:||Persian mouse-tailed dormouse|
|Size||Head-body length: 61 – 120 mm (2)|
Tail length: 53 – 94 mm (2)
|Weight||21 – 56 g (2)|
Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).
Looking somewhat like a cross between a mouse and a vole (3), Setzer’s mouse-tailed dormouse can be distinguished from other dormice by its mouse-like tail, sparsely covered with short white hairs (2). The soft fur on the upperparts is a blend of ochre and grey, while the underparts, sides of limbs, and feet are white (2).
Setzer’s mouse-tailed dormouse occurs in north-western Iran (2).
Myomimus dormice inhabit open country with clusters of trees and bushes, including the edges of grain fields, orchards, gardens and river banks. Most specimens have been found on trees, especially mulberry (2).
Remarkably little is known about the habits and ecology of Setzer’s mouse-tailed dormouse (2) (3). Unlike other dormice, species belonging to the genus Myomimus are not specialised for a life in the trees, and appear to live instead on and under the ground (2). Like other dormice, Setzer’s mouse-tailed dormouse is assumed to hibernate over winter, accumulating fat beforehand which will sustain them through the long winter sleep (4).
The breeding period of Setzer’s mouse-tailed dormouse is believed to extend from April until June, and the female’s seven pairs of mammae suggest that they give birth to a large number of offspring (2).
Suitable habitat for this little-known dormouse is already limited, and is believed to be declining (2). Agricultural expansion, overgrazing, over-harvesting of woody plants for fuel, and military operations are just some of the human activities that may be having a detrimental impact on the dormouse’s habitat (5).
There are no known conservation measures currently in place for this species.
For further information on Setzer’s mouse-tailed dormouse see:
- EDGE of Existence:
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- Genus: a category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- Hibernate: hibernation is a winter survival strategy characteristic of some mammals in which an animal’s metabolic rate slows down and a state of deep sleep is attained. Whilst hibernating, animals survive on stored reserves of fat that they have accumulated in summer.
- Mammae: the organs of females that contain milk-producing glands.
IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
- Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walkers Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
- Firouz, E. (2005) The Complete Fauna of Iran. IB Tauris, New York.
- Macdonald, D.W. (2006) The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Biodiversity Hotspots: Irano-Anatolian (April, 2008)