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Why Israeli rodents are more cautious than Jordanian ones
Date:11/19/2009

are more cautious than their Jordanian friends, while a third study showed that the funnel-digging ant lion population in Israel is unmistakably larger than in Jordan.

According to the researchers, the differences between Israel and Jordan are primarily in the higher level of agriculture and the higher number of agricultural farms in Israel as opposed to Jordan's agriculture that is primarily based on nomadic shepherding and traditional farming. The agricultural fields on the Israeli side of the border not only create a gulf between habitats and thereby cause an increase in the number of species in the region, but they also hail one of the most problematic of intruders in the world: the red fox. On the Jordanian side, the red fox is far less common, so that Jordanian gerbils can allow themselves to be more carefree. The higher reproduction rate of ant lions on Israel's side is also related to the presence of another animal: the Dorcas gazelle. This gazelle serves as an "environmental engineer" of a sort, as it breaks the earth's dry surface and enables ant lions to dig their funnels. The Dorcas gazelle is a protected animal in Israel, while hunting it in Jordan is permitted and compromises the presence of the Jordanian ant lions' soil engineers.

"The current studies clearly display the influence that man has on nature for better and for worse. Over the past years, advanced agricultural technology has been transferred from Israel to Jordan; and we must strengthen our understanding of the influences that modern agriculture has on nature, so that we can assist in preserving the large variety of species in the Arava region," Dr. Shanas concludes.


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Contact: Rachel Feldman
rfeldman@univ.haifa.ac.il
972-482-88722
University of Haifa
Source:Eurekalert

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