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Spermophilus richardsonii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA SCIURIDAE

Scientific Name: Spermophilus richardsonii
Species Authority: (Sabine, 1822)
Common Name(s):
English Richardson's Ground Squirrel
Taxonomic Notes: Spermophilus elegans formerly was included in this species (Zegers 1984). Several studies have demonstrated the specific distinctness of S. elegans and S. richardsonii (see Hoffmann et al., in Wilson and Reeder 1993).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G.)
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Chanson, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern because it is widespread, common, and there are no major threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found on the northern Great Plains; southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba in Canada, and Montana, North Dakota, northeastern South Dakota, western Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa in the United States (Hoffmann et al., in Wilson and Reeder 1993).
Countries:
Native:
Canada (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan); United States (Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is common. Average densities at large study sites range from 1.4/ha to 5.2/ha. Animals tend to be concentrated in small areas, so that densities in areas of high concentration (up to 27/ha) are not representative of larger areas. Densities increase dramatically (up to 53.3 juveniles/ha) with synchronous emergence of litters from natal burrow.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits grasslands, rolling hills, fields and croplands. Prefers gravelly or sandy soils for digging burrows. Burrows consist of extensive networks of passages and entrances with several chambers. Young are born in underground nests. The nests are spherical and are lined with grasses in which straw or oat hulls may be found (Jones et al. 1983).

Females typically mate 3-5 days after emergence from hibernation, give birth 22-23 days later. Litter size is 3-11, usually 6-8. Young first leave natal burrow at 28-30 days, sexually mature in one year (Michener 1985). Females live up to six years.

It lives in loose colonies. Home range probably is not larger than 100 yards in diametre (Banfield 1974). May host fleas that transmit bubonic plague. Feeds on a wide variety of herbaceous vegetation in spring and early summer and on seeds and fruits in late summer and fall. Also feeds on insects and carrion, and often damages agricultural crops. Stores seeds in burrows. Hibernation period varies, but usually enters late August-October; emerges by late March or April.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

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

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is not of conservation concern and its range includes several protected areas.

Citation: Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G.) 2008. Spermophilus richardsonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 September 2014.
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