Nidicolous arthropods associated with different chromosomal types of Spalax ehrenbergi Nehring

Michael Costa, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The mole rat, Spalax ehrenbergi Nehring, is a complex group involving four chromosomal types of 2n = 52, 54, 58 and 60. These are clinally distributed from Mount Hermon in the north to the Negev in the south, covering humid, semihumid, semiarid and arid climates. Forty-seven breeding nests of S. ehrenbergi were collected from 23 localities throughout the range and processed for nidicolous arthropods. A total of five species of fleas and 53 species of gamasid mites were collected. Their distribution in the investigated area has been analysed in relation to that of the chromosomal types of S. ehrenbergi. The following conclusions have been reached: (a) Only three of the species (two haematophagous gamasids and one fungivorous acarid) range across the whole investigated area, showing strong host specificity, (b) A correlation is apparent between the distribution of several nidicolous arthropods (fleas and gamasids) and the '54' geographic region. This probably reflects geographical distribution rather than host specificity, (c) Palaearctic species reach their southern limit of distribution on Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights; possibly Ethiopian ones reach their northern limit in the Negev. (d) No direct correlation has been found between nidicolous arthropods and the chromosomal types of S. ehrenbergi. (e) Subjects for future investigation are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-214,IN9,215
JournalZoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1969
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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