Sicista subtilis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Sicista subtilis
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1773)
Common Name(s):
English Southern Birch Mouse
French Siciste Des Steppes
Spanish Ratón Listado De Las Estepas

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Kryštufek, B., Zagorodnyuk, I. & Amori, G.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species has a large range. The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population size criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. less than 10,000 mature individuals in conjunction with appropriate decline rates and subpopulation qualifiers). Although population declines and range contractions have occurred in at least parts of the range, the species remains abundant in other areas, and overall it is not believed to approach the threshold for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, it is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Sicista subtilis has a continuous range extending from the Ukraine and the southern parts of Russia to the north western parts of China (Panteleyev 1998, Pucek 1999). Isolated populations are found in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria (a single locality only) and southeast Poland. It formerly occurred in Austria but is now regionally extinct (last recorded here in 1960: Spitzenberger 2002). In Serbia it is known from only one locality. Its altitude in Austria was recorded from <120 m (Spitzenberger 2002) to 1,680 m (Pucek 1982).
Bulgaria; Hungary; Kazakhstan; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Ukraine
Regionally extinct:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Europe it tends to be rare, although it is locally common in at least parts of its global range, accounting for 25% of all rodents caught in north Kazakhstan (Pucek 1999). Little is known about population trends in this species, but its extinction in Austria suggests that in Europe at least its range may be contracting. The species has disappeared from large tracts of its former range in Hungary (F. Spitzenberger pers. comm. 2006). In Romania, the population is estimated at 2,000 individuals (Popescu and Murariu 2001, Botnariuc and Tatole 2005).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in the steppe areas stretching across Europe to China. It occurs in steppe, rough grassland and pasture, open woodlands, and in field margins and shelter belts on cultivated land (Pucek 1982, 1999), and extends into semi-desert areas in parts of its range. It tends to prefer more open habitats than the northern birch mouse Sicistica betulina .
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is susceptible to loss of steppe habitat. In Romania, habitat loss due to agriculture and indirect mortality through pesticide use are the major threats (I. Coroiu pers. comm. 2006). In Austria, Sicista subtilis occupied a very small and relict range. It went extinct as a result of the conversion of natural meadows adjacent to the reedbeds of Lake Neusiedl into improved grassland (Spitzenberger 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is listed on the Romanian Red List, and protected by national legislation. It receives strict legal protection under the Bern Convention (Appendix II). It occurs in a number of protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Botnariuc, N. and Tatole, V. (eds). 2005. Cartea Rosie a vertebratelor din România. Museul National de Istorie Naturala “Grigore antipa”.

Mitchell-Jones, A. J., Amori, G., Bogdanowicz, W., Kryštufek, B., Reijnders, P. J. H., Spitzenberger, F., Stubbe, M., Thissen, J. B. M., Vohralik, V. and Zima, J. 1999. The Atlas of European Mammals. Academic Press, London, UK.

Panteleyev, P. A. 1998. The Rodents of the Palaearctic Composition and Areas. Pensoft, Moscow, Russia.

Popescu, A. and Murariu, D. 2001. Fauna Romaniei. Academia Romana.

Pucek, Z. 1982. Sicista subtiilis (Pallas, 1773) – Steppenbirkenmaus. In: J. Niethammer and F. Krapp (eds), Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas. 2/1m _Rodentia II, Akademische Verlagsgeselschaft, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Pucek, Z. 1999. Sicista subtilis. In: A. J. Mitchell-Jones, G. Amori, W. Bogdanowicz, B. Kryštufek, P. J. H. Reijnders, F. Spitzenberger, M. Stubbe, J. B. M. Thissen, V. Vohralík, and J. Zima (eds), The Atlas of European Mammals, Academic Press, London, UK.

Spitzenberger F. 2002. Die Säugetierfauna Österreichs. Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft. Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft, Band.

Citation: Kryštufek, B., Zagorodnyuk, I. & Amori, G. 2008. Sicista subtilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided