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Temporal range: Middle Miocene–Recent
Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Tribe: Sciurini
Genus: Sciurus
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Sciurus vulgaris


The genus Sciurus (/sˈjʊərəs/ or /sɪˈjrəs/) contains most of the common, bushy-tailed squirrels in North America, Europe, temperate Asia, Central America and South America.[1]



The number of species in the genus is subject to change. In 2005, Thorington & Hoffman- whose taxonomic interpretation is followed by the IUCN website- accepted 28 species in the genus:[a]

Genus Sciurus

Sciurus granatensis

In 2015, 15–17 species were left in the genus Sciurus after de Vivo & Carmignotto comprehensively reviewed South American Sciuridae for the first time in many decades and proposed numerous changes; synonymising some species and many subspecies, splitting another species, and naming new species. They followed Joel Asaph Allen's unsatisfying 1914 attempt in splitting the genus Sciurus by raising the South American subgenera to the rank of genus, adding Urosciurus to Hadrosciurus, and splitting the genus Guerlinguetus in three. Their taxonomic treatment might also require Sciurus deppei to be moved to Notosciurus.[3]

A 2020 paper published on the taxonomy of Sciurinae split Sciurus into multiple new genera and elevated several subgenera. The paper included genetic sampling from almost all recognized species and recommends the following species assignments:[4]

Additionally, the paper suggests moving Andean squirrel back to subtribe Microsciurina, the dwarf squirrels, and assigns it to the newly described genus Leptosciurus. The paper's findings agree with prior assessments to synonymize Richmond's squirrel into Red-tailed squirrel and reassigns the Red-tailed squirrel into the previously monotypic Asian genus Syntheosciurus, also in Microsciurina. The paper did not include genetic sampling or taxonomic suggestions for gilvigularis, meridionalis, sanborni, or flammifer.


  1. ^ Thorington, R.W. Jr; Hoffman, R.S. (2005). "Genus Sciurus". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 758–765. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Wauters, Lucas A.; Giovanni Amori; Gaetano Aloise; Spartaco Gippoliti; Paolo Agnelli; Andrea Galimberti; Maurizio Casiraghi; Damiano Preatoni; Adriano Martinoli (2017). "New endemic mammal species for Europe: Sciurus meridionalis (Rodentia, Sciuridae)". Hystrix. 28 (1): 1–28. doi:10.4404/hystrix-28.1-12015.
  3. ^ de Vivo, Mario; Carmignotto, Ana Paula (January 2015). "Family Sciuridae G. Fischer, 1817". In Patton, James L.; Pardiñas, Ulyses F.J.; D'Elía, Guillermo (eds.). Mammals of South America Volume 2, Rodents (1 ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 1–48. doi:10.7208/chicago/9780226169606.001.0001. ISBN 978-0226169576. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  4. ^ De Abreu-Jr, Edson Fiedler; Pavan, Silvia E.; Tsuchiya, Mirian T. N.; Wilson, Don E.; Percequillo, Alexandre R.; Maldonado, Jesús E. (2020). "Museomics of tree squirrels: A dense taxon sampling of mitogenomes reveals hidden diversity, phenotypic convergence, and the need of a taxonomic overhaul". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 20 (1): 77. doi:10.1186/s12862-020-01639-y. PMC 7320592. PMID 32590930. S2CID 220071854.


  1. ^ Most squirrel assessments were written in 2008, despite most being dated 2016/2017