Eliomys melanurus (Wagner 1840) Asian Garden Dormouse
Hebrew name: נמנמן סלעים, namneman sla’im
Global Threat: NT – Near Threatened
Regional Threat: EN (B) - Endangered
Distribution area: The Negev Highlands from Revivim to Makhtesh Ramon, En Yahav (Arava), the Golan and Mt. Hermon.
Historic distribution: Bodenheimer (1958) reported that the species was found in the Dan area in the Upper Galilee (in Harrison & Bates 1991). Wahrman (1970) described the species’ fragmented distribution in Israel: in the Golan and Mt. Hermon and in the Negev Highlands (in Harrison & Bates 1991). Kahmann (1981) summarized information on this species from collections and field observations and reported
findings from the Judean Desert: Massada, Marsaba and Bet Sahur (in Qumsiyeh 1996). There is no other information on the Asian garden dormouse’s distribution in the Judean Desert. This is a relict steppe species from central Asia, whose populations in Israel are fragmented.
Typical Habitat: Rocks, Mediterraniean woodland, between terraces and in orchards near settlements (in the Arava).
Threat and Disturbance Factors: Degradation and reduction of natural habitats.
Population Size: The population in Israel lives in three sub-populations spread over ca. 3000 km2. The population is not dense.
Fluctuations in Population Size: Partial knowledge. The population became extinct in Tel Dan sometime in the 1980s (Yossi Lev-Ari, pers. comm.) along with the expansion of the house mouse population.
Isolation between Subpopulations: The three sub-populations (Negev Highlands; En Yahav; Golan and Hermon) are apparently isolated from each other.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation: Preserving the rocky habitat and the Atlantic pistachio trees (whose holes are inhabited by the Asian garden dormouse) in the Negev Highlands.