Urocitellus beldingi - (Merriam, 1888)
Belding's Ground Squirrel
Other English Common Names: Belding's ground squirrel
Synonym(s): Spermophilus beldingi Merriam, 1888
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Spermophilus beldingi Merriam, 1888 (TSN 180149)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104604
Element Code: AMAFB05060
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
Image 11491

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae Urocitellus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Spermophilus beldingi
Taxonomic Comments: Recent molecular phylogenetic studies suggest that the traditionally recognized genera Marmota (marmots), Cynomys (prairie dogs), and Ammospermophilus (antelope ground squirrels) render Spermophilus paraphyletic, potentially suggesting that multiple generic-level lineages should be credited within Spermophilus (Helgen et al. 2009). As a result, ground squirrels formerly allocated to the genus Spermophilus (sensu Thorington and Hoffman, in Wilson and Reeder 2005) are now classified in 8 genera (Notocitellus, Otospermophilus, Callospermophilus, Ictidomys, Poliocitellus, Xerospermophilus, and Urocitellus). Spermophilus sensu stricto is restricted to Eurasia.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Nov1996
Global Status Last Changed: 06Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States California (SNR), Idaho (S4), Nevada (S5), Oregon (S5), Utah (SH)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Western U.S.; eastern Oregon south through northeastern California, southwestern Idaho, north-central Nevada, and extreme southeastern Utah.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Western U.S.; eastern Oregon south through northeastern California, southwestern Idaho, north-central Nevada, and extreme southeastern Utah.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA, ID, NV, OR, UT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
UT Box Elder (49003)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
16 Northern Great Salt Lake Desert (16020308)+*, Curlew Valley (16020309)+*
17 Raft (17040210)+*, Goose (17040211)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeding occurs shortly after hibernation. Gestation lasts 23-28 days. Females are reported to produce 1 litter of 4-12 young, or an average of 8 young/litter (Hall 1946). Sexually mature in 2 years.
Ecology Comments: Lives in colonies. In California, population density estimates range from 1.2/ha in an alpine meadow, to well over 100/ha in an alfalfa field (Jenkins and Eshelman 1984). Predators include coyotes, badgers, and weasels.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Shrubland/chaparral
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: Inhabits alpine and subalpine meadows, sagebrush flats, mixed brush and grass habitats, pastures and croplands. Usually found in fairly open habitat (Jenkins and Eshelman 1984). Young are born in underground burrows.
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Feeds primarily on grass, leaves of meadow plants, and seeds. Diet may be less varied than that of other ground squirrels (Sumner and Dixon 1953).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Remains active for longer periods during the spring and summer than are other species of SPERMOPHILUS, which live in more arid habitats at lower elevations (Larrison and Johnson 1981). Usually hibernates from late September-May or June (Hall 1946).
Length: 30 centimeters
Weight: 340 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Agricultural pest in some areas.
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Ground Squirrels

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Major water barriers; greater than 300 meters wide, or narrower if evidence or professional judgement indicates little or no dispersal across.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Recorded home ranges for most species are very small, 0.1 to 0.6 hectares (Evans and Holdenried 1943, Owings et al. 1977, Morton et al. 1974, Drabek 1973, Murie and Harris 1978, Recht 1977, Johnson 1981), occasionally up to 4 hectares (in S. parryii, Banfield 1974). However, most studies have not used radiotelemetry and likely have underestimated movements. For example, radio-tagged male Spermophilus mohavensis, a species thought to be characterized by very low vagility (Hafner 1992), have mating-season home ranges of up to 40 ha (mean 6.7 ha) and sometimes make movements of at least 1.5 km in a single day (Harris and Leitner 2004). Also, dispersing individuals travel much farther than available home range data might suggest. For example, juvenile S. townsendii dispersed a maximum of 1076 meters, with a mean of 515 meters (Olson and Van Horne 1998). Since actual dispersal surely exceeds documented dispersal, and other small sciurids readily return home after displacements of 1.6 km (see specs for antelope squirrels), it seems unlikely that ground squirrels observed less than 5 km apart and separated by suitable habitat would represent distinct occurrences.
Date: 12Mar2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Notes: Covers species of the genus SPERMOPHILUS.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Apr1986
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. 438 pp.

  • Drabek, C. M. 1973. Home range and daily activity of the round-tailed ground squirrel, Spermophilus tereticaudus neglectus. American Midland Naturalist 89:287-93.

  • Durrant, S. D. 1952. Mammals of Utah, taxonomy and distribution. University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History 6: 1-549.

  • Durrant, S. D., M. R. Lee, and R. M. Hansen. 1955. Additional records and extensions of known ranges of mammals from Utah. University of Kansas Publications of the Museum of Natural History 9: 69-80.

  • Evans, F. C., and R. Holdenried. 1943. A population study of the Beechey ground squirrel in central California. Journal of Mammalogy 24:231-260.

  • Hafner, D. J. 1992. Speciation and persistence of a contact zone in Mojave Desert ground squirrels, subgenus Xerospermophilus. Journal of Mammalogy 73:770-778.

  • Hall, E. R. 1946. Mammals of Nevada. The University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

  • Harris, J. H., and P. Leitner. 2004. Home-range size and use of space by adult Mohave ground squirrels, Spermophilus mohavensis. Journal of Mammalogy 85:517-523.

  • Helgen, K. M., F. R. Cole, L. E. Helgen, and D. E. Wilson. 2009. Generic Revision in the Holarctic Ground Squirrel Genus Spermophilus. Journal of Mammalogy 90(2):270-305.

  • Helgen, K. M., F. R. Cole, L. E. Helgen, and D. E. Wilson. 2009. Generic revision in the holarctic ground squirrel genus Spermophilus. Journal of Mammalogy 90(2):270-305.

  • Jenkins, S.H. and B.D. Eshelman. 1984. SPERMOPHILUS BELDINGI Mammalian Species, 221:1-8.

  • Johnson, K. 1981. Social organization in a colony of rock squirrels (Spermophilus variegatus). Southwestern Naturalist 26:237-242.

  • Larrison, E.J. and D.R. Johnson. 1981. Mammals of Idaho. The University of Idaho Press, Moscow.

  • Morton, M. L., C. S. Maxwell, and C. E. Wade. 1974. Body size, body composition, and behavior of juvenile Belding ground squirrels. Great Basin Naturalist 34:121-134.

  • Murie, J. O. 1973. Population characteristics and phenology of a Franklin ground squirrel (Spermophilus franklinii) colony in central Alberta. American Midland Naturalist 90:334-40.

  • Murie, J. O., and G. R. Michener, editors. 1984. The biology of ground-dwelling squirrels: annual cycles, behavioral ecology and sociality. Univ. Nebraska Press, Lincoln. xvi + 459 pp.

  • Murie, J. O., and M. A. Harris. 1978. Territoriality and dominance in male Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus). Canadian Journal of Zoology 56:2402-12

  • Olson, G. S., and B. Van Horne. 1998. Dispersal patterns of juvenile Townsend's ground squirrels in southwestern Idaho. Canadian Journal of Zoology 76:2084-2089.

  • Owings, D. H., M. Borchert, and R. A. Virginia. 1977. The behaviour of California ground squirrels. Animal Behaviour 25:221-30.

  • Recht, M. A. 1977. The biology of the Mohave ground squirrel (Spermophilus mohavensis): home range, daily activity, foraging and weight gain, and thermoregulatory behavior. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles. 117 pp.

  • Slade, N. A., and D. F. Balph. 1974. Population ecology of Uinta ground squirrels. Ecology 55:989-1003.

  • Sumner, L., and J.S. Dixon. 1953. Birds and mammals of the Sierra Nevada. University of California Press, Berkeley.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.

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