Palmer's chipmunk

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Palmer's chipmunk
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Neotamias
Species: N. palmeri
Binomial name
Neotamias palmeri
(Merriam, 1897)
Synonyms

Tamias palmeri

Palmer's chipmunk (Neotamias palmeri) is a species of rodent in the family Sciuridae, endemic to Nevada. Its natural habitat is temperate forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.[1]

Description[edit]

Palmer's chipmunk resembles other chipmunks in that it has solid black and white stripes that run down its body dorsally. The body of the chipmunk is tan while its ventral side is more pale. Total body length is 210–223 millimetres (8.3–8.8 in), with a tail of 86.5–101.5 millimetres (3.41–4.00 in). Adults weigh between 50 and 69.4 grams.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Palmer's chipmunk is found only in the Spring Mountains of Clark County, southern Nevada. It mostly occurs at altitudes of 7,000–10,000 feet (2,100–3,000 m), inhabiting cliffs and forested areas between the upper Pinyon pine and Juniper regions, up and into the Fir-Pine and Bristlecone pine communities.[3] There are some indications that the species prefers to associate with water sources.[1]

Ecology[edit]

The caches of Palmer's chipmunk have been found to contain seeds from the ponderosa pine, which are an important food resource of the chipmunk. This species has also been known to eat local fruits, grass, insects, and the seeds of other conifers.[3] The species hibernates during cold weather, but is not an obligate hibernator. On warm winter days, Palmer's chipmunk will come out of its burrow to visit their caches for food.[4]

Reproduction[edit]

Nests are most commonly built on the ground but can occasionally be found in trees. In late spring to early summer, female chipmunks have litters of 3 or 4 pups which are born hairless. After a month or so, the pups have developed a smooth fur coat and begin to move in and out of the nest. At about 6 weeks old, the pups have moved to a mostly solid food diet.[5]

Conservation[edit]

The species has been classified as Endangered by the IUCN. Its habitat is being reduced by the extension of campgrounds, woodcutting, and the increasing sprawl of Las Vegas. Predation by feral dogs and cats is also likely to be a factor.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lowrey, C.; Linzey, A. V. & Hammerson, G. (2008). "Tamias palmeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 8 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Ruff, Wilson (1999). The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. The Smithsonian Institution Press in Association with the American Society of Mammalogists. pp. 372–373. 
  3. ^ a b "Palmer's chipmunk". Nevada Department of Wildlife. Retrieved 2016-11-14. 
  4. ^ Hirshfeld, J. (1975). Reprodution, Growth, and Development of Two Species of Chipmunk: Eutamias panamintinus and Eutamias palmeri (Thesis). Las Vegas: University of Nevada. 
  5. ^ "North American Mammals: Tamias palmeri". Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2016-11-14.