Ochotona argentata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Lagomorpha Ochotonidae

Scientific Name: Ochotona argentata Howell, 1928
Common Name(s):
English Silver Pika, Helan Shan Pika
Ochotona helanshanensis Zheng, 1987 [in Wang 1990]
Ochotona pallasi ssp. 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 name. It was subsequently changed to O. pallasi helanshanensis in 2002 (on recommendation of the IUCN SSC Lagomorph Specialist Group). The taxonomy was changed again to O. argentata in 2003, as O. helanshanensis is apparently a junior synonym of O. argentata. New biological evidence (morphological and molecular comparisons) indicates that the form is an independent species (Lissovsky 2014, Lissovsky et al. 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-07-06
Assessor(s): Smith, A.T. & Li, W.
Reviewer(s): Battistoni, A.
Ochotona argentata was previously known only from three highly restricted areas in the Helan-Shan range, each occupying an area of 3 km² (Formozov et al. 2004). Past deforestation within its range has reduced total available habitat for this species (Formozov et al. 2004). Logging is suspected to be ongoing within the Helan Shan range. The current (new) range map includes additional localities made available from surveys by an ornithologist working in this isolated mountain range (Li pers. comm.), thus expanding the extent of occurrence (EOO) for this species from past assessments (to 107 km² – close to but not reaching the criterion B1 threshold for Critically Endangered). We know of no ongoing assessments of the population status of this species, so no population size reduction can be assessed.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Ochotona 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, where it occurs along mountain top ridges.
Countries occurrence:
China (Ningxia)
Additional data:
Number of Locations:3
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
No. of subpopulations:3
All individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Ochotona 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).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

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 within 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. & Li, W. 2016. Ochotona argentata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41986A45194521. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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