Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae

Scientific Name: Sigmodon hispidus
Species Authority: Say & Ord, 1825
Common Name(s):
English Hispid Cotton Rat
Taxonomic Notes: Three former subspecies of Sigmodon hispidus have been assigned specific status: S. hirsutus (Carroll et al. 2005; Musser and Carleton 2005), S. toltecus (Carroll et al. 2005; Musser and Carleton 2005), and S. zanjonensis (Musser and Carleton 2005). All other subspecies formerly assigned to S. hispidus that occur in southern Chiapas, Mexico and Central America have been reassigned to S. hirsutus (Peppers and Bradley 2000, Carroll et al. 2005, Musser and Carleton 2005) and those that occur in eastern Mexico have been reassigned to S. toltecus (Carroll et al. 2005). Following this taxonomy, S. hispidus is not thought to occur south of the United States. However, Carroll et al. (2005) note that their analyses did not have any samples from within several hundred kilometers south of the Rio Grande, and thus it is possible that populations of Sigmodon in northern Tamaulipas, Mexico may in fact be of the subspecies of S. hirsutus occurring in adjacent Texas.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Linzey, A.V., Matson, J., Timm, R. & Woodman, N.
Reviewer(s): McKnight, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team) & Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority)
Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, lack of major threats, and because it is unlikely to be in decline.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is widely distributed in south-eastern and south-central United States; an isolated population also occurs in western Arizona and adjoining California (Carroll et al. 2005). Using genetic analysis, Carroll et al. (2005) showed that S. hispidus does not occur south of the United States, however, there analyses did not contain samples from immediately south of the Rio Grande in northern Mexico. Subspecies in Mexico and Central and South America formerly assigned to S. hispidus have been given specific status or assigned as to other species (Peppers and Bradley 2000; Carroll et al. 2005). The northern edge of range of S. hispidus is unstable and dependent on weather patterns.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is very abundant, and is increasing its distribution. Densities up to 112.5/ha have been recorded, although they typically average 10 - 12/ha. The species exhibits multi-annual variation in numbers.
Current Population Trend: Increasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is most common in grassy habitats with dense vegetation, including tall-grass prairies, meadows, agricultural areas, and old fields. However, it also occurs in mesquite desert with little ground cover (Reid 2006).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): None known.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Occurs in many protected areas throughout its range.

Citation: Linzey, A.V., Matson, J., Timm, R. & Woodman, N. 2008. Sigmodon hispidus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T20213A9179086. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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