Heliosciurus mutabilis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae

Scientific Name: Heliosciurus mutabilis
Species Authority: (Peters, 1852)
Common Name(s):
English Mutable Sun Squirrel
Taxonomic Notes: Has variously been treated as a distinct species (e.g. Grubb 1982; Hoffmann et al. 1993) or as a subspecies of H. gambianus or H. rufobrachium.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Grubb, P. & Kerbis Peterhans, J.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, it occurs in a number of protected areas, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This largely East Africa species ranges from Tanzania south to southern Mozambique (Maputo), and westwards in the Chimanimani Highlands of Zimbabwe, south-central Zambia and Malawi.
Countries occurrence:
Malawi; Mozambique; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is common in museum collections and is believed to also be common in the wild.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, this species is associated primarily with lowland or montane evergreen forest, but also occurs in riverine forest and thickets within the Brachystegia/Julbernardia woodland association (Skinner and Smithers 1990). They nest in holes in trees or in dense clumps of vines high in forest trees. The species is diurnal, and is either solitary or found in pairs. A female taken in eastern Zimbabwe in August had four foetuses (Smithers and Wilson 1979).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There appear to be no major threats to this species as a whole. In Mozambique, the removal of forest to make way for agricultural development has reduced the habitat available to them, although in certain areas, such as in the Inhambane, Manica and Sofala provinces, they are still to be found even in the relic forest patches (Skinner and Smithers 1990).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in a number of protected areas (e.g. Liwonde National Park, Malawi).

Citation: Grubb, P. & Kerbis Peterhans, J. 2008. Heliosciurus mutabilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T9831A13019328. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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