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Sicista caucasica

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA DIPODIDAE

Scientific Name: Sicista caucasica
Species Authority: Vinogradov, 1925
Common Name/s:
English Caucasian Birch Mouse

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Tsytsulina, K., Bukhnikashvili, A. & Shenbrot, G.
Reviewer/s: Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species has an extent of occurrence smaller than 20,000 km2 B2ab(iii), and its area of occupancy could be smaller than 2,000 km2 but has not been quantified. It is believed to be declining as a result of habitat loss and degradation. At present it is only known from a small number of locations. Assessed as Vulnerable. More data is needed.
History:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in the western Caucasus. It is known from two localities in Russia (both in the south of Krasnodarsky Kray, at Teberda and Kavkazsky State Reserves (Sokolov et al., 1987; Shenbrot et al. 1995). Also occurs in Georgia (A. Bukhnikashvili pers. comm.).

There have been reports of this species from the eastern Black Sea Mountains in northeastern Turkey, but these are problematic (Krystufek and Vohralik 2001, B. Krystufek pers. comm. 2008); if Sicista actually occurs in Turkey, then it is more likely to be S. armenica (B. Krystufek pers. comm. 2008).

It is difficult to determine the distribution of this species, because the main distinguishing trait of the species is chromosome number (2n=32), and birch mice with 2n=32 have only been karyotyped from a small number of sites (Shenbrot et al. 1995).
Countries:
Native:
Georgia; Russian Federation
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The species can represent up to 25% of small mammal captures at 1,500 m above sea level, with 1-24 individuals per 100 pitfall traps. It is found at lower densities in Georgia (A. Bukhnikashvili pers. comm.).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species occurs in subalpine meadows in tall grass at 1400 to 2,000 m. Optimal habitats occur at 1,500 m; rarely found in forests; active only 3-3.5 months/year; peak activity June-July. In captivity, the species feeds on insects, seeds and berries; litter size 4-6. Hibernates.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Overgrazing is a major threat. Loss of tall grass from grass cutting for agriculture is also a threat in some areas. Areas of suitable habitat outside protected areas are projected to decline further (GMA SW Asia workshop, 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has been recorded from protected areas in the Western Caucasus.
Citation: Tsytsulina, K., Bukhnikashvili, A. & Shenbrot, G. 2008. Sicista caucasica. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 April 2014.
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