Ochotona alpina 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Lagomorpha Ochotonidae

Scientific Name: Ochotona alpina
Species Authority: (Pallas, 1773)
Common Name(s):
English Alpine Pika, Altai Pika
Taxonomic Notes: This species is within subgenus Pika. Theer are five recognised subspecies: O. a. alpina (which includes ater; eastern and central Altai Mountains); O. a. changaica (Mongolia); O. a. nanula (S Tuva); O. a. nitida (includes sushkini; eastern Altai and western Sayan Mountains); and O. a. sayanica (eastern Sayan Mountains). Some forms previously included in O. alpina are now considered to be included in other species of Ochotona: svatoshi and cinereofusca are in O. hyperborea; and scorodumovi is a junior synonym of O. mantchurica. In earlier treatments, O. argentata was considered a form of O. alpina, but it is more closely related to O. pallasii.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-07-06
Assessor(s): Smith, A.T. & Cook, J.
Reviewer(s): Battistoni, A.
Contributor(s): Johnston, C.
This is a widespread species with no currently known population decline. The species is listed Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Octotona alpina occurs in the mountain ranges in western Mongolia, northern Xinjiang, eastern Kazakhstan, and southern Russia. O. alpina ranges in elevation from 400-2,500 m in the Altai Mountains (Ognev 1966), in China, O. alpina occurs at elevations greater than 2,000 m (Smith and Xie 2008).
Countries occurrence:
China (Heilongjiang, Xinjiang); Kazakhstan; Mongolia; Russian Federation (Altay, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tuva)
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):400
Upper elevation limit (metres):2500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are few data regarding the current status of Ochotona alpina. Some isolated populations may be subject to stochastic variation in population size.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Ochotona alpina occupies rocky regions and talus piles (Smith et al. 1990). Because this is a rock-dwelling species it occupies naturally fragmented habitat, as talus piles are generally separated by terrain that pikas rarely traverse. It prefers talus sites where vegetation is present (Smith et al. 1990). This species is a generalized herbivore that collects foodstuffs to create haypiles (Smith and Xie 2008). This pika is considered an important factor in the health of the ecosystem, as it is prey for sables in the region (Khlebnikova 1978). It has been noted that pika haypiles have been utilized by several species during winter months (Smith et al. 1990). Siberian wapiti (Cervus elaphus sibiricus) and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) will eat from the haypiles during heavy snowfall (Smith et al. 1990). It has been reported that vegetation diversity and composition are largely influenced by the presence of this species (Khlebnikova 1978). It is primarily a diurnal species, but vocalizations can be heard at night (Ognev 1966). Reported mortality rates differ according to habitat type; 41% in alpine zones and 53% in forested areas (Smith et al. 1990). Longevity of O. alpina can be as high as six years, but is usually only three years in the northern extents of its range (Sokolov et al. 1994). O. alpina produces two litters per year, with an average of three young per litter (Smith and Xie 2008). Gestation is approximately 30 days and newborns are 5.8-6.0 cm in length (Sokolov et al. 1994). Total length is 15.2-25.1 cm.
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats at present.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Mongolia, approximately 12% of the species' distribution occurs in protected areas (Clark et al. 2006). This species has been regionally Red Listed as Least Concern in Mongolia (Clark et al. 2006). In China, this species has been regionally Red Listed as Least Concern (Wang and Xie 2004).

Classifications [top]

0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Clark, E.L., Munkhbat, J., Dulamtseren, S., Baillie, J.E.M., Batsaikhan, N., Samiya, R. and Stubbe, M. (eds). 2006. Mongolian Red List of Mammals. Regional Red List Series. pp. 159. Zoological Society of London, London, UK.

Gromov, I. M. and Erbajeva, M. A. 1995. The Mammals of Russia and Adjacent Territories. Russian Academy of Sciences Zoological Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Hoffmann, R.S. and Smith, A.T. 2005. Order Lagomorpha. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 185-211. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

Khlebnikova, I. P. 1978. The northern pika in the mountain forests of Siberia. Nauka, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation.

Lissovsky, A.A. 2014. Taxonomic revision of pikas Ochotona (Lagomorpha, Mammalia) at the species level. Mammalia 78(2): 199–216.

Lissovsky, A.A., Ivanova, N.V. and Borisenko, A.V. 2007. Molecular phylogenetics and taxonomy of the subgenus Pika (Ochotona, Lagomorpha). Journal of Mammalogy 88(5): 1195-1204.

Lissovsky, A.S. 2003. Geographical variation of skull characters in pikas (Ochotona, Lagomorpha) of the alpina-hyperborea group. Acta Theriologica 48: 11-24.

Naumov, R.L. 1974. Ecology of Ochtona alpina in the west Sayan. Zoology Zh. 53: 1524-1529.

Nikolskii, A.A. and Mukhamediev, T.D. 1997. Territoriality in the Altai pika (Ochotona alpina). Giber Faune Sauvage 143: 359-383.

Ognev, S. I. 1966. Mammals of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem.

Orlov, G.I. 1983. The neck gland of pikas (Lagomorpha, Ochotonidae) and the scent marking of Ochotona alpina related to its functioning. Zool. Zhur. 62: 1709-1717.

Sludskii, A.A., Bernstein, A.D., Shubin, I.G., Fadeev, V.A., Orlov, G.I., Bekenov, A. et al. 1980. Mammals of Kazakhstan. Volume 2: Lagomorpha. Nauka Kazakh SSR, Alma-Ata, USSR.

Smith, A.T. and Xie, Y. 2008. A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Smith, A. T., Formozov, N. A., Hoffmann, R. S., Changlin, Z. and Erbajeva, M. A. 1990. The Pikas. In: J. A. Chapman and J. C. Flux (eds), Rabbits, Hares and Pikas: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan, pp. 14-60. The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland.

Sokolov, V. E., Yu Ivanitskaya, E., Gruzdev, V. V. and Heptner, V. G. 1994. Mammals of Russia and Adjoining Regions. Lagomorphs. Nauka Publishers, Moscow, Russia.

Wang, S. and Xie, Y. 2004. China Species Red List. Vol. 1 Red List. Higher Education Press, Beijing, China.

Citation: Smith, A.T. & Cook, J. 2016. Ochotona alpina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41255A45182115. . Downloaded on 21 January 2017.
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