Neotamias townsendii - (Bachman, 1839)
Townsend's Chipmunk
Other English Common Names: Townsend's chipmunk
Synonym(s): Tamias townsendii (Bachman, 1839)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Tamias townsendii Bachman, 1839 (TSN 180208)
French Common Names: tamia de Townsend
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105861
Element Code: AMAFB02040
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 townsendii
Taxonomic Comments: The nominal taxa senex, ochrogenys, and siskiyou formerly were included in T. townsendii; these taxa were regarded as distinct species by Sutton and Nadler (1974); Sutton 1987, 1992, 1993; Jones et al. 1992; and Hoffmann et al., in Wilson and Reeder 1993).

Formerly included in genus Eutamias, which recently was included in the genus 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: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 05Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4N5 (31Dec2017)

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 Oregon (S4), Washington (S5)
Canada British Columbia (S4S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Range extends along the Pacific coast of North America, from extreme southwestern British Columbia south to southern Oregon (Rogue River), southward in the western Cascades to the headwaters of the Rogue River (Sutton 1993).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: In coastal British Columbia, population appeared to decline temporarily as a result of herbicide treatment of Douglas-fir plantation (Sullivan 1990).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Range extends along the Pacific coast of North America, from extreme southwestern British Columbia south to southern Oregon (Rogue River), southward in the western Cascades to the headwaters of the Rogue River (Sutton 1993).

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: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States OR, WA
Canada BC

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

Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Reddish brown pelage, with two grayish, brownish, or whitish dark-bordered stripes on each side of the back, a dark stripe down the middle of the back, and a whitish stripe above and below each eye; long bushy tail, the underside of which is reddish brown or tawny; back side of ear blackish in front, gray in rear; brown stripe below ear; total length to around 30 cm.
Reproduction Comments: Mating occurs in spring, young are born in May-June, and young appear above ground by July (Washington Cascade Mountains). Gestation lasts about 4 weeks. Average litter size is 3.8. Young appear above ground in July(Kenagy and Barnes 1988). Individual females produce one litter each year. Breeding first occurs at an age of 1 or 2 years. Some live as long as 7 years.
Ecology Comments: In one area, home ranged averaged 0.8 ha and density was 2.6 adults/ha (see Sutton 1993). In Oregon, density was 0.6-1.1/ha in virgin forest (see Sutton 1993).

Weasels, mink, and bobcats are important predators.

Feeding experiments in British Columbia indicated that the population was limited by food availability (see Sutton 1993).

See Sutton (1993) for information on ecological interactions between T. TOWNSENDII and T. AMOENUS.

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Mixed, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Townsends chipmunks are most often associated with dense mesic closed-canopy coniferous forests, coniferous tree islands, and dense brushy thickets, including clearcut areas, especially several years after harvest and/or if slash is left. They generally occur under or among brush, slash, and other protective cover.
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Diverse diet. Eats seeds, nuts, fruits, insects, roots, green vegetation, fungi. Forages mostly on ground but sometimes also in trees. Caches food in burrow.

Fungi are important in the diet of Townsends chipmunks. These chipmunks are among the dispersal agents for fungi that play important roles in forest nutrient cycles.

Adult Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Activity occurs in daytime and may vary seasonally. Most activity occurs from March to late November, but the duration of inactivity is longer at higher elevations, especially in areas covered by deep snow, and the species may be active all winter in warmer areas, especially along the coast (Banfield 1974).
Length: 32 centimeters
Weight: 109 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Sciurid mycophagy may play important role in forest ecology (Maser and Maser 1988). May be a significant agent in dissemination of harmful fungus that attacks conifer seeds (see Sutton 1993). Sometimes considered detrimental to commercial forestry due to diet of coniferous seeds.
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: 02Feb2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02Feb2010
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.

  • 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.

  • Dalquest. W. W. 1948. Mammals of Washington. University of Kansas Museum Natural History Publ. 2:1-444.

  • 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.

  • 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., D. C. Carter, H. H. Genoways, R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, and C. Jones. 1986. Revised checklistof North American mammals north of Mexico, 1986. Occas. Papers Mus., Texas Tech Univ., 107:1-22.

  • 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.

  • Kenagy, G. J., and B. M. Barnes. 1988. Seasonal reproductive patterns in four coexisting rodent species from the Cascade Mountains. J. Mamm. 69:274-292.

  • Levenson, H. and R. S. Hoffmann. 1984. Systematic relationships among taxa in the Townsend chipmunk group. Southwestern Nat., 29:157-168.

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

  • Maser, C., B. R. Mate, J. F. Franklin, and C. T. Dyrness. 1981. Natural history of Oregon coast mammals. Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Expt. Sta., USDA, Forest Service, Gen Tech. Rep. PNW-133:1-496.

  • Maser, C., and Z. Maser. 1988. Interactions among squirrels, mycorrhizal fungi, and coniferous forests in Oregon. Great Basin Nat. 48:358-369.

  • Nadler, C. F., et al. 1982. Evolution in ground squirrels.II. Biochemical comparisons in Holarctic populations of SPERMOPHILUS. Z. Sauget. 47:198-215.

  • Nagorsen, D., M. Fraker, and N. Panter. 2002. Chipmunks of the Kootenay Region, British Columbia: Distribution, Identification, Taxonomy, Conservation Status. Rep. prepared for Columbia Basin Fish and Wildl. Compensation Program. Nelson, BC.

  • 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.

  • Parks Canada. 2000. Vertebrate Species Database. Ecosystems Branch, 25 Eddy St., Hull, PQ, K1A 0M5.

  • 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.

  • Sullivan, T. P. 1990. Demographic responses of small mammal populations to a herbicide application in coastal coniferous forest: population density and resiliency. Can. J. Zool. 68:874-883.

  • Sutton, D. A. 1987. Analysis of Pacific coast Townsend chipmunks (Rodentia: Sciuridae). Southwest Nat. 32:371-376.

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

  • Sutton, D. A. 1993. Tamias townsendii. Am. Soc. Mamm., Mammalian Species No. 435:1-6.

  • Sutton, D.A. and C.F. Nadler. 1974. Systematic revision of three Townsend chipmunks (EUTAMIAS TOWNSENDII). The South- western Naturalist 19(2):199-212.

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

  • 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: https://www.departments.bucknell.edu/biology/resources/msw3/

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