Neotamias palmeri - (Merriam, 1897)
Palmer's Chipmunk
Synonym(s): Eutamias palmeri ;Tamias palmeri (Merriam, 1897)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Tamias palmeri (Merriam, 1897) (TSN 180198)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104774
Element Code: AMAFB02200
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Sciuridae Neotamias
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ 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: Tamias palmeri
Taxonomic Comments: This species formerly was regarded as a subspecies of Tamias umbrinus by some authors. It has been included in the genera Eutamias and Tamias (Levenson et al. 1985; Jones et al. 1992, Hoffmann et al., in Wilson and Reeder 1993). Based on patterns of variation in ectoparasites (Jameson 1999) and molecular phylogenetics (Piaggio and Spicer 2001), the North American mammal checklist by Baker et al. (2003) placed all North American chipmunks (except Tamias striatus) in the genus Neotamias. Thorington and Hoffmann (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) noted that chipmunks could be legitimately allocated to one (Tamias), two (Neotamias, Tamias), or three (Tamias, Neotamias, Eutamias) genera; they chose to adopt the single-genus (Tamias) arrangement.

See Sutton (1992) for a key to the species of Tamias (Neotamias).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Aug2015
Global Status Last Changed: 13Aug2015
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Small distribution in one mountain range in southern Nevada; population size likely exceeds 100,000; probably relatively stable or slowly declining; probably has been negatively affected by habitat changes resulting from woodcutting, campground development, and water diversions that reduce riparian habitat, and by predation by feral dogs and cats, but the degree of threat posed by these factors is not well documented; may be vulnerable to detrimental effects of increasing recreational use of the mountains (national recration area), but no documentation of this is currently available; may be highly vulnerable to climate change over the next several decades.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (13Aug2015)

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 Nevada (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: EN - Endangered

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-1000 square km (about 100-400 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The range is restricted to the Spring (Charleston) Mountains, near Las Vegas, Clark County, southern Nevada, at elevations of about 2,050-3,300 meters (most abundant at 2,600-2,900 meters) (Hall 1946, Best 1993, Nevada Natural Heritage Program, Lowrey and Longshore 2010).

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The Spring Mountains encompass about 2,170 square kilometers, of which several hundred square kilometers are suitable habitat for Palmer's chipmunk. The chipmunk's habitat is surrounded by a large expanse of unsuitable habitat.

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: The number of distinct occurrences has not been determined using standardized criteria; the enire range could be regarded as a single occurrence or at most several closely adjacent ones. This species is represented by many localities localities in one mountain range; Lowrey and Longshore (2010) established trapping grids in 48 sites throughout the chipmunk's range and captured multiple individuals in every grid.

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 10,000 and likely exceeds 100,000. In 48 trapping grids (15,360 trap-days), each covering 3.6 hectares, Lowrey and Longshore (2010) captured 3.5-33.9 (average of 14.7) individuals per grid. Individuals were captured in every grid (average about 4/hectare, or 400 per square kilometer).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Water diversion is reducing available riparian habitat; campgrounds and woodcutting are reducing available habitat; feral dogs and cats are increasing mortality through predation (G. Clemmer, pers. comm., 1995). The degree to which these factors may significantly affect chipmunk populations in the near future is unknown, but threat impact may be low.

Residential and commerical development expanding from Las Vegas (east of the mountains) and in the Pahrump Valley (west of the mountains), and associated human population growth, combined with designation of the mountains as a national recreation area (NRA), could lead to negative impacts on chipmunk habitat and populations, though the NRA status might instead/also lead to favorable management (Hafner et al. 1998).

These chipmunks do not tolerate habiats with high temepratures and over the next several decades may be highly vulnerable to negative effects of ongoing climate change (Nevada Natural Heritage Program). The severity of the impact over the next 10 years or three generations is uncertain but may be slight.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Current trend is not definitely known, but available information suggests that extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably have not declined by more than 10 percent over the past 10 years or three generations.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Long-term Trend Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably have not declined by more than 25 percent.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-1000 square km (about 100-400 square miles)) The range is restricted to the Spring (Charleston) Mountains, near Las Vegas, Clark County, southern Nevada, at elevations of about 2,050-3,300 meters (most abundant at 2,600-2,900 meters) (Hall 1946, Best 1993, Nevada Natural Heritage Program, Lowrey and Longshore 2010).

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 state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NV

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: NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NV Clark (32003)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
15 Las Vegas Wash (15010015)+
16 Sand Spring-Tikaboo Valleys (16060014)+, Ivanpah-Pahrump Valleys (16060015)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small rodent (chipmunk).
General Description: This chipmunk is similar to the Uinta chipmunk (Neotamias umbrinus) but has browner or more reddish dark back stripes, and it is more tawny or orangish on the underside of the tail, and it has more gray on the shoulders; total length 210-223 mm (Whitaker 1996).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Panamint chipmunk (the only other chipmunk in the range) is somewhat smaller (total length 192-220 mm), with the shoulders less gray and the back stripes less distinctly dark and light (Whitaker 1996). Uinta chipmunk has darker stripes that are less brown or reddish, and the belly is white (Whitaker 1996).
Reproduction Comments: Copulation occurs probably in April and early May; births occur in late May in June; gestation lasts at least 33 days; liter size usually 3-6; young first emerge in June, continue to appear through August (see Best 1993).
Ecology Comments: Generally secretive and highly mobile; may habituate to humans (Best 1993).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cliff, Forest - Conifer
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris, Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes coniferous forests, from the upper elevations of pinyon/juniper to above the bristlecone pine timber line (primarily white-fir/limber pine/mixed conifer associations. Lowrey and Longshore (2010) found that maturing white-fir and to a lesser extent, ponderosa forest (decreasing density of immature or understory fir trees) contributed to both increased population density and increased survival; increasing density of currant berry shrubs (Ribes spp.) also contributed to increased population density. These chipmunks rarely venture far from shelter among large rocks, logs, or cliff crevices. Sometimes they nest in trees (e.g., in cavities made by woodpeckers).
Adult Food Habits: Granivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore
Food Comments: Eats seeds, fruits, fleshy fungi, green vegetation, and insects; conifer seeds are a primary food source.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Less active in cold winter months, when generally active only during sunny warmer periods.
Length: 23 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Chipmunks

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.
Mapping Guidance: If parts of the occurrence are separated (by less than 1 kilometer), these should be mapped as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: Major water barriers of greater than 30 meters width; major roads of more than 30 meters of bare clearance.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Home ranges generally small, 0.2-4.0 hectares (Broadbooks 1970, Sheppard 1972, Gashwiler 1965, Storer et al. 1944, Roberts 1962, Brown 1971, Eliot 1968, Wadsworth 1972). However, dispersal movements may extend to at least 0.86 km (Roberts 1976). Given that recorded dispersal can be a conservative indicator of actual dispersal characteristics, especially when methods other than radio-telemetry are used to monitor movements, the separation distance used here for suitable habitat assumes that chipmunk dispersal is more extensive than currently documented. Certainly these mammals are capable of making extensive movements. The separation distance for suitable habitat is a compromise between the documented sedentary habits and the likely low probability that two locations separated by less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent different populations.

Barriers: In a study of small mammals and road-crossing, no TAMIAS STRIATUS (n=179) crossed highways with more than 30 meters of clearance (Oxley et al. 1974).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a home range of about 1 hectare (see Separation Justification).
Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. G. Cannings
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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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 13Aug2015
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 13Aug2015
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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  • Baker, R. J., L. C. Bradley, R. D. Bradley, J. W. Dragoo, M. D. Engstrom, R. S. Hoffman, C. A. Jones, F. Reid, D. W. Rice, and C. Jones. 2003a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 2003. Museum of Texas Tech University Occasional Papers 229:1-23.

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

  • Best, T. L. 1993. TAMIAS PALMERI. Mammalian Species No. 443:1-6.

  • Broadbooks, H. E. 1970a. Home ranges and territorial behavior of the yellow-pine chipmunk, Eutamius amoenus. Journal of Mammalogy 51:310-26.

  • Broadbooks, H. E. 1970b. Populations of the yellow pine chipmunk, Eutamias amoenus. American Midland Naturalist 83:472-488.

  • Brown, J. H. 1971. Mechanisms of competitive exclusion between two species of chipmunks. Ecology 52:305-311.

  • Elliot, L. 1978. Social behavior and foraging ecology of the eastern chipmunk (TAMIAS STRIATUS) in the Adirondack Mountains. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology No. 265. 107 pp.

  • Gashwiler, J. S. 1965. Longevity and home range of a Townsend chipmunk. Journal of Mammalogy 46:693.

  • Hafner, D. J., E. Yensen, and G. L. Kirkland, Jr. (compilers and editors). 1998. North American rodents. Status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/SSC Rodent Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. x + 171 pp.

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

  • Hall, E. R. 1981a. The Mammals of North America, second edition. Vols. I & II. John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York. 1181 pp.

  • Jackson, H. H. 1961. Mammals of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 504 pp.

  • Jameson, E. W., Jr. 1999. Host-ectoparasite relationships among North American chipmunks. Acta Theriologica 44:225-231.

  • Jones, J. K., Jr., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, C. Jones, R. J. Baker, and M. D. Engstrom. 1992a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1991. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University, 146:1-23.

  • Levenson, H., et al. 1985. Systematics of the Holarctic chipmunks (TAMIAS). J. Mammalogy 66:219-242.

  • Lowrey, C., and K. Longshore. 2010a. Palmers chipmunk ecology project. USGS report.

  • Lowrey, C., and K. Longshore. 2010b. Long-term conservation strategy for the Palmers chipmunk (Tamias palmeri) within the Spring Mountains, Nevada. USGS report prepared for Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

  • Lowrey, C., and K. Longshore. 2013. Habitat interaction between two species of chipmunk in the Basin and Range Province of Nevada. Western North American Naturalist 73:129-136.

  • NatureServe. Central Databases. Arlington, Virginia. U.S.A. Online. Available: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/

  • Nevada Division of Wildlife. 1996. Distribution, abundance, and habitat components of the Palmer's chipmunk (Tamias palmeri) in the Spring Mountains of southern Nevada. Job Performance Report prepared for Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, Project EW-2-5. January 1996.

  • Oxley, D. J., M. B. Fenton and G. R. Carmody. 1974. The effects of roads on populations of small mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology 11: 51-59.

  • Piaggio, A. J., and G. S. Spicer. 2001. Molecular phylogeny of the chipmunks inferred from mitochondrial cytochrome b and cytochrome oxidase II gene sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 20:335-350.

  • Roberts, D. R. 1962. Rodent movements in a cutover forest of the Sierra Nevada, California. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley.

  • Sheppard, D. 1972. Home ranges of chipmunks (EUTAMIAS) in Alberta. Journal of Mammalogy 53:379- 380.

  • Storer, T. I., F. C. Evans, and F. G. Palmer. 1944. Some rodent populations in the Sierra Nevada of California. Ecological Monographs 14:166-192.

  • Sutton, D. A. 1992. Tamias amoenus. Am. Soc. Mamm., Mammalian Species No. 390:1-8.

  • Wadsworth, C. E. 1972. Observations of the Colorado chipmunk in southeastern Utah. Southwestern Naturalist 16:451-454.

  • Whitaker, J. O., Jr. 1996. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA. 937 pp.

  • 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/.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. Available online at: http://vertebrates.si.edu/msw/mswcfapp/msw/index.cfm

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