Glaucomys sabrinus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Glaucomys sabrinus (Shaw, 1801)
Common Name(s):
English Carolina Flying Squirrel, Northern Flying Squirrel
Taxonomic Notes: This may be a species complex.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-08-19
Assessor(s): Cassola, F.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Linzey, A.
Listed as Least Concern because it has a very wide range, its populations are secure throughout much of its range, and there are no major threats.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a wide distribution throughout northern North America from Alaska in the United States, across Canada to the eastern provinces. It extends into the United States in several prongs. One extends to southern California, another to southern Utah, a third to northeastern South Dakota, and a fourth to eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. There are many disjunct populations in the southern portions of the range. Holmes and Neubaum (2013) registered the presence of this squirrel in Colorado.
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland I, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward I., Québec, Saskatchewan, Yukon); United States (Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species has a large range in North America and is common in many areas. Recorded densities vary from <1/ha to 10/ha. In western Oregon, population density was 0-0.24/ha (mean 0.12) in second growth forest and 0.52-1.28/ha (mean 0.85) in old-growth forest (Witt 1992). Density averaged 2.0-2.3/ha in Douglas-fir habitats in western Oregon (Rosenberg and Anthony 1992). In Utah, density was 0.2-1.8/ha in populus-dominated forest, 1.2-5.8/ha in Abies-dominated forest, and 0.2-2.1/ha in Picea-dominated forest (see Witt 1992).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It prefers coniferous and mixed forest, but will utilize deciduous woods and riparian woods. Optimal conditions have been reported as cool, moist, mature forest with abundant standing and down snags. Often most abundant near surface water; that is, swamps or streams (Heaney, in Wilson and Ruff 1999). In the Oregon Cascades, Rosenberg and Anthony (1992) concluded that flying squirrels are habitat generalists and are not more abundant in old growth than in younger, second-growth stands. Occupies tree cavities, leaf nests, underground burrows; uses large number in alternate den sites in Alaska. Prefers cavities in mature trees as den sites. In winter in British Columbia, squirrels appeared to select nest trees more for suitable nest sites than for tree size: diameter at breast height was 16.7-79.0 cm, age was 42-174 years, and height was 11.2-32.7 m (Cotton and Parker 2000). Small outside twig nests sometimes are used for den sites. Sometimes uses bluebird boxes.

Breeding season: February-May; July. Gestation lasts 37-42 days. One or two litters of 2-6 young (average 4-5) are born March-early July, and late August to early September (apparently one litter in spring or summer in the southern Appalachians). Weaned at about two months. Sexually mature at 6-12 months.

Highly social, especially in winter when nests may be shared. Apparently lives in family groups of adults and juveniles. Weigl (1978) recorded G. sabrinus home ranges of up to 35 ha. Summer home range estimated at 2-3 ha in North Carolina, 5-7 ha in West Virginia . Home range has been estimated at about 3-7 ha and 5-13 ha in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, respectively (see Witt 1992). In western Oregon, home range was estimated at about 3-5 ha (Witt 1992).

Diet consists largely of fungi and lichens plus plant and animal material (insects, nuts, buds, seeds, fruit). Apparently can subsist on lichens and fungi for extended periods, and may depend on having these food items available. Spends considerable time foraging on the ground. Active at night. Peak activity in the southern Appalachians occurs from sunset to two hours after and one hour before sunrise (Wells-Gosling and Heaney 1984). Active throughout the year.
Generation Length (years):4-5

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species overall. Declines in the southern Appalachians may be due to a roundworm parasite (Strongyloides robustus) of southern flying squirrels that is lethal or debilitating to northern flying squirrels. Habitat changes favourable to Glaucomys volans are likely to be detrimental to Glaucomys sabrinus.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Its range includes several protected areas throughout its range. Subspecies fuscus and coloratus of the Appalachian Mountains are listed by USFWS as Endangered.

Citation: Cassola, F. 2016. Glaucomys sabrinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T39553A22256914. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
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