Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Lagomorpha Ochotonidae

Scientific Name: Ochotona collaris
Species Authority: (Nelson, 1893)
Common Name(s):
English Collared Pika
Taxonomic Notes: There are no recognized subspecies of Ochotona collaris (Hoffmann and Smith 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H.
Reviewer(s): Boyer, A.F. & Johnston, C.H. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)
This is a widespread species that is unlikely to be experiencing a decline significant enough to warrant listing under a threat category. Ochotona collaris occurs in remote regions of Alaska (USA) and northwestern Canada, where it is unlikely to be negatively influenced by human activities (Smith et al. 1990).
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Ochotona collaris has a wide geographic distribution that includes central and southern Alaska, almost the entirety of the Yukon Territory, northwestern British Columbia, and the western regions of the Northwest Territory (MacDonald and Jones 1987, Smith et al. 1990). This species has been recorded occurring above the treeline in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, as well as elevations near sea level (MacDonald and Jones 1987).
Countries occurrence:
Canada (British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon); United States (Alaska)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no current data regarding the population status of Ochotona collaris. Population densities have been estimated at 6.4-7.2 individuals/ha (Broadbooks 1965). In other regions of the Yukon population density ranges from below 1.0 up to 4.0 pikas/ha (Morrison 2007). A study conducted in the Ruby Range (Yukon, Canada) indicated that population abundance at the study site has experienced a decline since 1995 (Morrison 2007). A population viability analysis on census data collected from 1995 to 2006 produced a greater than 90% probability of extinction within 10-15 years, for the study site at Ruby Range (Morrison 2007).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Ochotona collaris is a typical rock-dwelling species of pika (Smith et al. 1990). Talus sites are often located in proximity to vegetation patches and meadows (MacDonald and Jones 1987). Home ranges for this species are typically 30 m in diameter (MacDonald and Jones 1987). O. collaris is a general herbivore that constructs haypiles (Smith et al. 1990; Franken and Hik 2004). However, individuals that occupy nunataks (rocky outcroppings) of the Yukon Territory in Canada will collect and forage upon the brain matter of dead birds to supplement their diet (Krajick 1998). A recent study found that increased risk of predation did not alter vegetative selection, but did decrease the overall amount collected (Morrison 2007). O. collaris is a diurnal pika, active in the morning and late afternoon (MacDonald and Jones 1987). The breeding season peaks from May to early June (MacDonald and Jones 1987). The season is timed to allow parturition to coincide with the start of vegetative growth. Litter size for this species is two to six, with two litters produced per year (MacDonald and Jones 1987). A recent study suggests that a reduced breeding season, resulting from high latitudinal orientation, may limit this species to a single litter per year (Franken and Hik 2004). Young are weaned within three to four weeks and reach reproductive maturity by one year of age (Franken and Hik 2004). Gestation time is approximately 30 days (MacDonald and Jones 1987). Adult size is reached between 40-50 days (MacDonald and Jones 1987). The total length of this species is 18.9 cm (Hall 1981).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known threats for Ochotona collaris, although it may be vulnerable to global climate change. It is unlikely that this species will be negatively influenced by human activities, as it occurs in remote regions of Alaska (USA) and northwestern Canada (Smith et al. 1990). Recent changes to Alaskan hunting regulations permit the unlimited trapping of pika for food and pelt (Mowry 2006) during a year round open season along the eastern regions of the state (Alaska Department of Fish and Game 2006). This policy may lead to local depression of populations as a result of intrinsic low density and reproductive rate.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures in place for this species. Recent changes to the hunting regulations in Alaska allow for the unlimited, year-round hunting and trapping of Ochotona collaris (Alaska Department of Fish and Game 2006). Monitoring for negative consequences should be implemented, as this species occurs naturally at low densities and has one of the lowest reproductive rates for small mammals.

Classifications [top]

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

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 2006. Small Game: Seasons and Bag Limits.

Broadbooks, H. E. 1965. Ecology and distribution of the pikas of Washington and Alaska. American Midland Naturalist 76: 229-335.

Franken, R. J. and Hik, D. S. 2004. Interannual variation in timing of parturition and growth of collared pikas (Ochotona collaris) in the southwest Yukon. Integrative and Comparative Biology 44(2): 186-193.

Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

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.

Krajick, K. 1998. Nunataks. Icebound islands of life, National Geographic 194(6): 60-71.

Macdonald, S. O. and Jones, C. 1987. Ochotona collaris. Mammalian Species 281: 1-4.

Morrison, S. F. 2007. Foraging behavior and population dynamics of collared pikas, Ochotona collaris. Biological Sciences, University of Alberta.

Mowry, T. 2006. Pika trapping sure to raise a bit of a stink in Alaska.

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.

Citation: Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H. 2008. Ochotona collaris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41257A10425427. . Downloaded on 09 October 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