Neotamias obscurus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Neotamias obscurus (J.A. Allen, 1890)
Common Name(s):
English California Chipmunk, Chaparral Chipmunk
Tamias obscurus J.A. Allen, 1890
Taxonomic Source(s): Patterson, B.D. and Norris, R.W. 2016. Towards a uniform nomenclature for ground squirrels: the status of the Holarctic chipmunks. Mammalia 80(3): 241–251. DOI: 10.1515/mammalia-2015-0004.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-01-25
Assessor(s): Álvarez-Castañeda, S.T., Castro-Arellano, I. & Lacher, T.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Linzey, A. & Timm, R.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its abundance within its restricted and fragmented distribution, its presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:It occurs in southwestern United States and Mexico, but limited to the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains of California and to the mountains of northern Baja California. It is distributed in a series of at least four disjunct populations.
Countries occurrence:
Mexico (Baja California); United States (California)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is locally abundant and common, although in a small, fragmented range.

The populations in Baja California Sur, Mexico are very small with two subpopulations in the same locality.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It typically occurs in arid to semi-arid habitats in association with pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla) and juniper (Juniperus californicus), with some scrub oak (Quercus chrysolepsis) and yucca (Yucca brevifolia), cactus (Opuntia), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus), and sage (Artemesia tridentate) in the understory, and rocky ground cover (Best and Granai 1994).

This squirrel is particularly active during late summer, from early to mid-morning and from mid- to late-afternoon, especially when pinyon nuts are available. Pinyon pine nuts are the primary food during the late summer months, and chipmunks may be found during the daytime climbing the pines in search of nuts (Wilson and Ruff 1999). This species eats a variety of seeds, fruits, and flowers, but captive specimens refused to eat insects and meat (Best and Granai 1994). In California, it has been reported that T. obscurus may have more than two litters of three or four young each per year. It uses burrows with entrances protected by large boulders (Best and Granai 1994).

In Baja California Sur, Mexico, this species is associated with two oases where they consume the small crops in the area. Where plantations have been abandoned, the populations have disappeared. They use the cardon cactus (Pachycereus pingleyi) as nest sites.
Generation Length (years):3

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Its range is restricted and fragmented. The rarity of the species in Baja California Sur makes it a trophy pet.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The three Mexican populations are in protected areas and parts of the species' range in California are in protected areas.

Citation: Álvarez-Castañeda, S.T., Castro-Arellano, I. & Lacher, T. 2016. Neotamias obscurus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T21359A22268421. . Downloaded on 17 October 2017.
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