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On the Indian Crested Porcupine, Hystrix indica (Kerr, 1792) in Turkey (Mammalia: Rodentia)



Atilla Arslan
 
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ABSTRACT

This study presents some data about ecological, biological and taxonomical characteristics of Hystrix indica (Kerr, 1792) from Turkey. For this purpose characteristics of burrow, skull, tooth and measurements of external and cranial characters of two female H. indica from Turkey were investigated. It was concluded that our specimens are between the Middle East and Indian sub-region specimens in terms of morphometrical. It was also determined that there were roots in stomach contents of specimens.

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  How to cite this article:

Atilla Arslan , 2008. On the Indian Crested Porcupine, Hystrix indica (Kerr, 1792) in Turkey (Mammalia: Rodentia). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 11: 315-317.

DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2008.315.317

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=pjbs.2008.315.317

INTRODUCTION

The Indian crested porcupine, Hystrix indica ranges from Arabia (Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) to Turkey and from the southern and eastern states of the former Soviet Union to the south of the Indian subcontinent (Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951; Corbet, 1978; Harrison and Bates, 1991). Although some undefined registration, which is related to shaded quills of this species had been given, from Turkey, Gulen (1952) and Mursaloglu (1976) were given definite registration from IceI (Mersin) and Gaziantep. Arslan (2006) also studied karyology of this species from Turkey.

This study aims to obtain some information about ecological, biological and taxonomical characteristics of H. indica from Turkey.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The two specimens (female) obtained as injured by hunters from Bozyazi (Icel) and Ceyhan (Adana) in 2005. Age determination was made according to the methodology described by Morris (1970, 1972). External and cranial measurements (mm) were taken from each specimen in the Laboratory. Thirteen measurements were taken from each of the skulls with a calliper with accuracy of up to 0.1 mm. The characters are: Total length (TBL), Tail Length (TL), Hind Foot Length (HFL), Ear Length (EL), Codylobasal length (CBL), Nasal Length (NL), Occipitonasal Length (ONL), Palatal Length (PL), Frontal Length (FL), Parietal Length (PEL), Diastema Length (DL), Zygomatic Breadth (ZB), Interorbital Constriction (IC), Braincase breadth (BCB), Upper Toothrow Length (UTL), Lower Toothrow Length (LTL), Mandible Length (ML). The skulls of the specimens were deposited in the Faculty of Science and Art, at Selcuk University.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Five burrows which belong to H. indica were investigated in Ceyhan and Bozyazi. There was a river or puddle near these burrows which were carved by porcupines. The burrows were found on the side of heavily forested areas. Entrance of burrows had 40 cm height. This height went on throughout tunnel which is average 4.5 m length (Fig. 1). According to Gulen (1952) and Mursaloglu (1976) porcupine live in burrows which were done by carving the soil, on the side of scrub areas on the south and west region of Turkey. Their data about burrow characters is similar to ours.

It was determined that there were roots in stomach contents of our specimens. Gutterman and Herr (1981) stated that most of diets of the Indian crested porcupine were bulbs of plants in Israel. Kadhim (1997) reported that the main food of H. indica from Iraq consists of plant materials, such as roots, seeds, tubers, buds, small branches of leaves, wild fruits and insect and small vertebrate. However, it was determined that there were no animal remains in the stomach contents of our specimens.

Fig 1: The burrow of Hystrix indica from Ceyhan

Table 1: iMeasurements of some external and cranial characters (mm) of Hystrix indica in Turkey (two female specimens from Bozyazi and Ceyhan) in comparison with Middle East (Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon) (Harrison and Bates, 1991), Indian sub-region (Nepal, Indian, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and H. cristata (Italy, North Africa and Sicily) (Angelici et al., 2003) (n: number of specimen)

Fig 2:
iThe skull of Hystrix indica. Dorsal (a), ventral (b) view and mandible (c and d), upper (e) lower and (f) teeth (pm: premolar, m: molar)

Skull of H. indica is very robust, nasals are long and broad, zygomatic arches are short and deep, zygomatic plates are narrow, tympanic bullae are small and mandible is massive. The dental formula is i 1/1, pm 1/1, m 3/3 = 20. In our specimens PM1, M1, M2 have 5, M3 has 6 and PM1 has 4, M1 has 5, M2 has 6, M3 has 5 enamel islands on the chewing surface (Fig. 2).

Although external measurements of our specimens were longer than those of data of Gulen (1952) (TBL: 745, HFL: 98, EL. 45, CBL: 134, NL: 67) and Mursaloglu (1976) (TBL: 660, TL: 80, HFL: 90, EL: 40), cranial measurements of our specimens were close to data of Gulen (1952). This differences probably resulted from the different ages of specimens. External and cranial characteristics (Fig. 2) of specimens of H. indica in Turkey are consistent with those descriptions made by Harrison and Bates (1991). All the external and cranial measurements of Turkish specimens given in this investigation, except for codylobasal and mandible length, are longer than those given by Harrison and Bates (1991) in the Middle East. Angelici et al. (2003) compared skull measurements of adult 46 H. cristata from mainland Italy, Sicily and northern Africa and skull measurements of adult 20 H. indica from Indian sub-region (Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) as morphometric. Depending on the results of their study, all H. indica specimens were grouped apart from three groups of H. cristata (Angelici et al., 2003). Interorbital constriction, condylobasal, nasal, palatal, frontal, lower toothrow and mandible length of our specimens were lower than those of H. indica specimens in Indian sub-region. For this reason, it was concluded that our specimens are between the Middle East and Indian sub-region specimens in terms of morphometrical. However, condylobasal, palatal and parietal length of our specimens were similar to that of H. cristata in mainland Italy, Sciliy and northern Africa (Table 1).

REFERENCES
1:  Angelici, F.M., D. Capizzi, G. Amori and L. Luiselli, 2003. Morphometric variation in the skulls of the crested porcupine Hystrix cristata from mainland Italy, Sicily and Northern Africa. Mammalian Biol.-Zeitschrift fur Saugetierkunde, 68: 165-173.
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2:  Arslan, A., 2006. A karyotypic study on the Indian-crested Porcupine, Hystrix indica (Kerr, 1792) in Turkey (Mammalia: Rodentia). Zool. Midd. East, 37: 5-8.

3:  Corbet, G.B., 1978. The Mammals of the Palaearctic Region: A Taxonomic Review. Cornell University Press, London, Pages: 314.

4:  Ellerman, J.R. and T.C.S. Morrison-Scott, 1951. Checklist of Palaeartic and Indian Mammals 1758 to 1946. British Museum (Nat. Hist.), London, pp: 810.

5:  Gülen, Ö.K., 1952. Oklu Kirpi (Hystrix hirsuturostris aharonii). Biol. Derg., 2: 149-161.

6:  Gutterman, Y. and N. Herr, 1981. Influence of porcupine (Hystrix indica) activity on the slopes of the Northern Negev Mountains-germination and vegetation renewal in different geomorphological types and slope directions. Oceologia, 51: 332-334.
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7:  Harrison, D.L. and P.J.J. Bates, 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. 2nd Edn., Harrison Zoological Museum, England, ISBN: 0951731300, Pages: 345.

8:  Kadhim, A.H.H., 1997. Distribution and reproduction of the Indian crested porcupine Hystrix indica (Hystricidae: Rodentia) in Iraq. Zool. Midd. East, 15: 9-12.

9:  Morris, P., 1970. A method for determining absolute age in the hedgehog. J. Zool., 161: 277-281.
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10:  Morris, P., 1972. A review of mammalian age determination methods. Mamm. Rev., 2: 69-104.
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11:  Mursaloglu, B., 1976. Türkiye kemiricileri (Mammalia: Rodentia) (Yayinlanmami TÜBITAK raporu, TBAG-52). Ankara, pp: 146.

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