Urocitellus richardsonii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Urocitellus richardsonii Sabine, 1822
Common Name(s):
English Richardson's Ground Squirrel
Spermophilus richardsonii (Sabine, 1822)
Taxonomic Source(s): Helgen, K.M., Cole, F.R.,Helgen, L.E. and Wilson, D.E. 2009. Generic revision in the Holarctic ground squirrel genus Spermophilus. Journal of Mammalogy 90(2): 270-305.
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). This species is now recognized under a new genus, Urocitellus (Helgen et al. 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-08-18
Assessor(s): Cassola, F.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Linzey, A.
Listed as Least Concern because it is widespread, common, and there are no major threats.
Previously published Red List assessments:

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 occurrence:
Canada (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan); United States (Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota)
Additional data:
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.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

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.
Generation Length (years):2-3

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: Cassola, F. 2016. Urocitellus richardsonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42561A22262546. . Downloaded on 19 April 2018.
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