The animal-environment interaction is complex, and the ability to temporally organise locomotor activity provides adaptive and survival advantages. We investigated daily and circadian locomotor activity patterns of two jird species from Arabia occurring in dramatically different environments to determine the environmental effect on activity. The King jird occurs in mountainous regions of Azir where climatic conditions are cool and wet, while the Libyan jird inhabits low-lying hot sandy deserts where temperatures exceed 45ºC during summer.
Six King jirds and nine Libyan jirds were subjected to a 12L:12D light cycle, a period of constant darkness (DD) and an inversed 12D:12L light cycle. Five of six King jirds and all Libyan jirds showed entrainment of their activity to the light cycles, most animals exhibited nocturnal activity. All entraining jirds showed circadian rhythmicity, with the periods of the rhythms very close to 24 hours. Entraining jirds inversed their activity patterns when the light cycle was inversed. The two jird species displayed comparable amounts of nocturnal activity in all light cycles presented. The King jird showed larger intraspecific variability than the Libyan jird, which may reflect more plasticity in its circadian clock, allowing it to adapt quicker to environmental changes.