Jerboas are not related to gerbils, they are rodents, but belong to a complete different family; the Dipididae (gerbils belong to the Muridae).
But because Jerboas are the geological equivalent of gerbils, I decided to spend a page on them.
From "Walker's Mammals of the World" by Ronald M. Nowak:
This family of 11 genera and 32 species occurs throughout the arid part of the southern Palearctic region, from the Sahara, across southwestern and Central Asia, to the Gobi. There are 4 subfamilies:
DIPODINAE, genera: Dipus, Paradipus, Jaculus, Stylodipus
ALLACTAGINAE, genera: Allactaga, Alactagulus, Pygeretmus
CARDIOCRANIINAE, genera: Cardiocranius, Salpingotus, Salpingotulus
EUCHOREUTINAE, genus: Euchoreutes
The Dipodidae are characterized by their remarkable adaptations for jumping. Their hind legs are at least four times longer than the front legs.
This jumping ability is probably an adaptation for escape from predators in open fields. When a jerboa moves quick, it leaps and jumps with its hind legs, jumping up to 3 meters in a single bound. It's long tail serves as a balancing organ. Sometimes the jerboa's walk slowly on their hind feet in a bipedal walk and rarely they use all fours, hopping like a rabbit.
The Dipodidae are very well adapted to burrow in the arid desert, semidesert and steppe regions. Jerboas living in sandy soils have tufts of bristly hairs under the digits and soles of their hind feet. They can support the animal on loose sand and are an aid in kicking the sand away when burrowing.
Jerboas also have a tuft of hair around the ears, which provides sand to be blown into the inner ear.
In the late spring and summer, jerboas often plug their burrows during the day. This way they keep the heat out and the moisture in, maintaining a suitable microclimat within their burrow.
Most jerboa species become dormant during the winter. Dipodids feed on seeds, the succulent parts of plants and insects. They do not require free water in nature and sometimes don't drink water in captivity either when available.
When handled or disturbed these animals sometimes make grunting noises or shrill shrieks, but they are usually silent. Some species thump with their hind feet.
These animals generally live solitaire, except for females with their young. Females can give birth to several litters per year.
Read more about the Jaculus genus here.
Genus Dipus (rough-legged jerboa or northern three-toed jerboa)
D. sagitta, northern Caucasus and northeastern Iran to Manchuria
Genus Paradipus ( comb-toed jerboa)
P. ctenodactylus, Syr Darya River in south-central Kazakh SSR to the shores of the Caspian Sea in southwestern Turkmen SSR
Genus Jaculus (desert jerboas)
J. jaculus, desert and semidesert areas from Morocco and Mauritania to southwestern Iran and Somalia
J. blandfordi, southern and eastern Iran, southern and western Afghanistan, southwestern Pakistan
J. orientalis, Morocco to southern Israel
J. turcmenicus, southern Soviet Central Asia from the southeastern shore of the Caspian Sea to the Kyzyl Kum Desert
Genus Stylodipus (thick-tailed three-toed jerboas)
S. telum, Ukraine to Mongolia
S. andrewsi, Mongolia
S. sungorus, southwestern Mongolia
Genus Allactaga (four- and five-toed jerboas)
A. elater, lower Volga River and eastern Asia Minor to Sinkiang and western Pakistan
A. euphratica, Asia Minor and Jordan to Afghanistan
A. hotsoni, southern Afghanistan, southeastern Iran, southwestern Pakistan
A. firouzi, southwestern Iran
A. bobrinskii, deserts of Uzbek and Turkmen SSR
A. severtzovi, Soviet Central Asia
A. major, Moscow and Ukraine to southwestern Siberia and Tien Shan Mountains
A. sibirica, Caspian Sea to Manchuria
A. nataliae, Mongolia
A. bullata, western and southern Mongolia and adjacent parts of China
A. tetradactyla, coastal plains of Libya and Egypt
Five-toed jerboa: Alactaga siberica
Genus Alactagulus (lesser five-toed jerboa or little earth hare)
A. pumillio, Don River and northeastern Iran to Inner Mongolia
Genus Pygeretmus (fat-tailed jerboas)
P. platyurus, western and extreme eastern Kazakh SSR
P. shitkovi, eastern Kazakh SSR in the area of Lake Balkhash
Genus Cardiocranius (five-toed dwarf jerboa)
C. paradoxus, north of Lake Balkhash in Kazakh SSR, the Tuva Autonomous Region of south-central Siberia, various parts of Mongolia and the Nan Shan Mountains of northern China
Genus Salpingotus (three-toed dwarf jerboas)
S. kozlovi, Gobi Desert of southern Mongolia and northern China
S. crassicauda, desert areas from Aral Sea to Mongolia
S. thomasi, Afghanistan and Tibet
S. heptneri, south of the Aral Sea
S. pallidus, Kazakh SSR
Genus Salpingotulus (Baluchstan pygmy jerboa)
S. michaelis, southwestern Pakistan, possibly the adjacent part of Afghanistan
Genus Euchoreutes (long-eared jerboa)
E. naso, western Sinkiang, north-central China and extreme southern Mongolia
Read more about Notomys alexis here.
There are nine species of Jerboa mice (also called Australian Hopping Mice):
N. mitchelli, southern Australia
N. mordax, known only by a single specimen from southeastern Queensland
N. alexis, central Australia
N. fuscus, southeastern Western Australia to southwestern Queensland
N. cervinus, south-central Australia
N. macrotis, known only by two specimens from southwestern Western Australia
N. longicaudatus, Northern Territory, northwestern New South Wales
N. amplus, known only by two specimens from the extreme southern part of the Northern Territory
N. aquilo, northeastern Northern Territory and the nearby island of Groote Eylandt, western Cape York Peninsula of northern Queensland
(Walker's mammals of the world, fifth edition by R.M. Nowak)