Urocitellus townsendii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Urocitellus townsendii Bachman, 1839
Common Name(s):
English Townsend's Ground Squirrel
Spermophilus townsendii Bachman, 1839
Taxonomic Source(s): Helgen, K.M., Cole, F.R.,Helgen, L.E. and Wilson, D.E. 2009. Generic revision in the Holarctic ground squirrel genus Spermophilus. Journal of Mammalogy 90(2): 270-305.
Taxonomic Notes: Spermophilus canus and S. mollis formerly were included in S. townsendii. Baker et al. (2003) and Thorington and Hoffmann (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) recognized the three taxa as distinct species, noting their distinct cytotypes and lack of hybridization. This species is now recognized under a new genus, Urocitellus (Helgen et al. 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-07-11
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Listed as Vulnerable because its extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, less than 10% of its original habitat remains and continues to decline in extent and quality, and populations are highly fragmented, and it is considered a pest and subject to control in some areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is restricted to the Yakima River Valley of Washington in the United States, west of the Yakima River and in the Horse Heaven Hills to the south of the valley (Hafner et al. 1998).
Countries occurrence:
United States (Washington)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Remaining populations of this species are fragmented and isolated. There are no estimates of population density available.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found mainly in high desert shrubland. It generally occurs in well-drained soils, especially embankments. It makes extensive burrow systems. Young are born in a nest chamber in an underground burrow. In Idaho, juvenile dispersal distance over two years was 146-1,076 m (mean 515 metres over the two years) (Olson and Van Horne 1998).

The main diet of this species includes herbaceous vegetation (grasses, forbs, and exotic annuals), and seeds; it may also eat some shrub parts and animal matter. This species will often feed on crops. May climb bushes while foraging. It emerges from dormancy in late winter or early spring (males before females) but returns to dormancy during May-July, when grasses dry out. May have separate period of activity in fall. It is most active in the early morning.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Less than 10% of the species' original habitat remains and most of its range is on private land. This species causes agricultural damage in some areas and has been subject to control programs.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is not known to occur in protected areas. To protect this species it is necessary to prevent overgrazing and limit the expansion of agriculture.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: The original published version of this assessment erroneously included Yensen, E. as an Assessor. This is corrected here.

Citation: NatureServe. 2016. Urocitellus townsendii (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T20476A112212554. . Downloaded on 24 June 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided