Spermophilus relictus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Spermophilus relictus
Species Authority: (Kashkarov, 1923)
Common Name(s):
English Tien Shan Ground Squirrel
Citellus relictus Kashkarov, 1923
Urocitellus relictus (Kashkarov, 1923)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Tsytsulina, K.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Common in suitable habitats within its moderately large range. Faces no major threats and is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Distributed in Western and Central Tien Shan and western parts of peripheral ranges of Pamir Alai. Range consist of several separated areas. Found from 500 to 3200 m.
Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Uzbekistan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Common, partly rare, partly abundant. Most abundant (25 individuals per ha) is during young dispersal period, at altitude 2600-2800 m. In 1983, in Gissar State reserve (Uzbekistan, 2000-2300 m) population density was 2,8 individuals per ha (Volzheninov et al., 1986).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Inhabit mountain and partly piedmont steppes. From deserted wormwood and sheep fescue on loess ad rubbly soil to hgh altitude cereal and mixed grasses steppes and meadow-steppes with some alpine vegetation. Found in juniper stang and in openings at lower border of coniferous forest. Avoid wet meadows and agricultural fields.

In summer, day break in activity is very well pronounced. During hot days, as well as at night burrow exits are sealed with soil plug. Life cycle timing depends on the altitude and slope aspect. For example, hibernation ends from end of February (Issyk-Kul basin) to first decade of May (Chatkal highland). Young emerge from mid-May (lowlands) to second decade of June (Kuraminsky range). On overcast and windy days activity is reduced.

Burrows are simple, majority of them are with one passage and one nesting cell. Wintering nest is at 1 - 1,5 m below ground, summer nests not lower than 1 m. Sometimes use burrows of voles and marmots. Feed mainly on underground plant parts, in spring consume green parts and flowers. To reach to pea tree flowers climb the tree. In some areas (Chatkal range) insects were up to 90% of stomach contents. Does not make supplies. Reproduction is prolonged, beginning very much depends on spring weather. Average litters size depends on altitude, from 6 at 750-800 m, to 3-4 at above 2000 m.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is a trade animal of minor importance. In 1950s up to 45,000 skins per year were collected, but to 1990s it lowered up to 10,000 skins per year. Found in some protected areas in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan (Sary-Chelek State Reserve) and Uzbekistan (Gyssar State Reserve).

Citation: Tsytsulina, K. 2008. Spermophilus relictus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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