Karyological and some morphological characteristics of the Egyptian mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon (Mammalia: Carnivora), along with current distribution range in Turkey


Abstract: The Egyptian mongoose is the only member of the family Herpestidae in Turkey. The species is distributed mainly in Africa, and Turkey constitutes the northernmost distribution margin of the species. Thus far, a natural specimen's karyotype from an area with a known locality for H. ichneumon has not been studied. The karyotype of a male specimen from Hatay was determined to be 2n = 43, NF = 71, NFa = 66. The X1 and X2 chromosomes were middle-sized metacentric, and the Y chromosome was middle-sized telocentric. The external and skull measurements of the Adana-Yumurtalık and Hatay specimens are given here in a table. The Egyptian mongoose was distributed in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions before the 1970s. However, during the last 30 years, the distribution of H. ichneumon has been recorded only in the Hatay region, mostly because of the lack of detailed distribution studies. We recorded the species from Hatay, Osmaniye, Adana, and Mersin, in the area between Hatay and Silifke. The species seems to be limited in areas below an altitude of 450 m in the Mersin, Adana, and Hatay regions. H. ichneumon is distributed mostly in reed, bush, and scrub areas, as well as in agricultural lands with residential areas. Because of the large distributional decrease of the species, it is necessary to develop their populations by rescuing H. ichneumon from the risks mentioned below by starting a tracking program immediately.

Keywords: Protection, range changing, threats, Herpestes ichneumon, Turkey

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