Reproductive biology of Acomys cilicicus Spitzenberger, 1978 (Rodentia: Muridae) in Turkey


Abstract: The genus Acomys is represented by 19 species in a vast area in the African and eastern Mediterranean regions. Acomys cilicicus, belonging to the genus Acomys, is an endemic species in Turkey. In this study, by evaluating the reproductive data in laboratory conditions and the natural habitat of A. cilicicus, the reproductive biology of the species was researched in detail for the first time. The data concerning the reproduction of 1404 samples, reproduced from 1 male and 2 females in the laboratory and 34 samples obtained from 6 localities near Silifke, were recorded. For A. cilicicus, it was determined that the pregnancy period was 38-40 days, litter size was 1-3 (n = 321, mean = 2.05), and time to maturity was 2-4 months. The newborns' eyes were closed, their auricles were bonded to the head, they had short hair, their abdomens were hairless, and their backs were dark gray. Dentition was completed within 9-10 days and therefore the newborn could easily take food. Suckling was under control of the mother and carried on for approximately 2-3 months. Furthermore, the reproductive, infanticidal, and cannibalistic behaviors of this species were monitored periodically. These data were compared with A. cahirinus, russatus, nesiotes, minous, and dimidiatus, whose reproductive biologies are known and who are close to A. cilicicus geographically. Finally, it was determined that some reproductive findings of A. cilicicus were compatible with the findings of other species, and some findings were different from those of the species above.

Keywords: Spiny mouse, Acomys cilicicus, reproductive biology, Silifke, Turkey

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