Dusky palm squirrel

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Dusky palm squirrel
Dusky striped squirrel by N A Nazeer.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Funambulus
Subgenus: Funambulus
Species: F. sublineatus
Binomial name
Funambulus sublineatus
(Waterhouse, 1838)

The dusky palm squirrel (Funambulus sublineatus) has recently been split into two species. The Indian form (formerly subspecies F. s. sublineatus) has now been referred to as the Nilgiri palm squirrel, whereas the Sri Lankan form (formerly F. s. obscurus) may now be referred to as the dusky palm squirrel.[2] They are species of rodent in the Sciuridae family.

The former range of the species, before the taxonomic split[3] was in both India and Sri Lanka, though the Nilgiri palm squirrel (F. sublineatus) is now restricted in distribution to the Western Ghats of India. Very little is known of this squirrel, probably the smallest in the genus weighing about 40g. Its new status as an endemic mammal to India means records need updating.

The dusky palm squirrel in Sri Lanka (F. obscurus) is better documented as by W.W.A. Phillips in the Manual of the Mammals of Sri Lanka. It is much larger than the former species, with longer, thicker stripes. Its head and body length is 11–13 cm, with a 10-cm tail. Its upperparts are dark brown to black in color with three off-white dorsal stripes; its underparts are yellowish with a green tinge. The tail is short.

Both species are confined to wet humid forests either in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri hills (and surrounding areas such as around Kodaikanal in India) or to the wet zone forests in Sri Lanka, and indicate a preference for hilly terrain, often fringing tea or coffee estates. This squirrel, at least in Sri Lanka, is found at the highest altitude of any member of the genus.


  1. ^ Rajamani, N., Molur, S. & Nameer, P. O. (2008). Funambulus sublineatus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  2. ^ Rajith Dissanayake. 2012. The Nilgiri striped squirrel (Funambulus sublineatus), and the dusky striped squirrel (Funambulus obscurus), two additions to the endemic mammal fauna of India and Sri Lanka. Small Mammal Mail. Vol 3(2):6-7
  3. ^ Rajith Dissanayake and Tatsuo Oshida. 2012. The systematics of the dusky striped squirrel, Funambulus sublineatus (Waterhouse, 1838) (Rodentia: Sciuridae) and its relationships to Layard's squirrel, Funambulus layardi (Blyth, 1849). Journal of Natural History. Vol 46(1-4):91-116