Ochotona argentata 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Lagomorpha Ochotonidae

Scientific Name: Ochotona argentata
Species Authority: Howell, 1928
Common Name(s):
English Silver Pika, Helan Shan Pika
Ochotona helanshanensis Zheng, 1987 [in Wang 1990]
Ochotona pallasi subspecies helanshanensis Zheng, 1987 [in Wang 1990]
Taxonomic Notes: Ochotona argentata was listed in the 1996 and 2000 Red Lists as O. helanshanensis which is no longer recognized as a valid species. It was subsequently changed to O. pallasi helanshanensis in 2002 (on recommendation of the Lagomorph Specialist Group). The taxonomy was changed again to O. argentata in 2003, as O. helanshanensis is apparently a synonym of O. argentata and new biological evidence indicates the form was an independent species (A. Smith pers. comm.). Karyotype (2n = 38), morphological, and vocalization differences validated the classification of O. argentata as a true species (Formozov et al. 2004). However, a recent molecular phylogenetic analysis contradicts past evidence regarding taxonomic standing, suggesting that O. argentata be included once again in O. pallasi (Lissovsky et al. 2007); this has not been followed here.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii)+2ab(i,ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H.
Reviewer(s): Boyer, A.F. & Johnston, C.H. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)
O. argentata is known from a single forest in the Helan-Shan range, occupying a total area of 3 sq. km (Formozov et al. 2004). Past deforestation within its range has reduced total habitat for this species (Formozov et al. 2004). Logging is suspected to be ongoing within the Helan Shan range.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)
1994 Vulnerable (V)
1994 Vulnerable (V)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: O. argentata is endemic to Ningxia province in China (Smith and Xie 2008). It occupies a highly restricted geographic range within the Helan Shan range of Ningxia, China (Hoffmann and Smith 2005). It occurs along a mountain top ridge, with a total area three sq. km (Smith and Xie 2008).
Countries occurrence:
China (Ningxia)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 1-10
Number of Locations: 1
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no known data on current population status of O. argentata; however, it is inferred that deforestation is likely to cause declines as a result of habitat loss.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: O. argentata is restricted to rocky outcrops in a small forest located on a ridge of the Helan Shan mountain range (Formozov et al. 2004). It is a rock-dwelling species that will also occupy mine shaft entrances (up to 20 m deep) (Smith and Xie 2008). It constructs haypiles out of available vegetation (Smith and Xie 2008). Total length of this species is 20.8-23.5 cm (Smith and Xie 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Deforestation within the range of O. argentata has resulted in loss of habitat (Formozov et al. 2004). Logging is suspected to be ongoing with in the mountain range. Ochotonids are sensitive to thermal changes within their habitat and rock-dwelling pikas can be likened to insular populations that are unable to disperse to more suitable habitat, because connecting terrain cannot be easily traversed due to intolerable ambient temperatures. It is therefore inferred, that future climate change will negatively impact the survival of O. argentata.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is currently listed as Vulnerable D2 under the regional assessment in China (Wang and Xie 2004). Due to its highly restricted extent of occurrence and area of occupancy, it is recommended that efforts be made to conserve remaining habitat for this species. Additionally, research efforts should be made to remedy the lack of data regarding biology, ecology, current habitat and population statuses.

Citation: Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H. 2008. Ochotona argentata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41986A10594090. . Downloaded on 24 May 2016.
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