Richmond's squirrel

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Richmond's squirrel
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Sciurus
Species:
S. richmondi
Binomial name
Sciurus richmondi
Nelson, 1898[2]
Richmond's squirrel habitat map.png
Richmond's squirrel's range

Richmond's squirrel (Sciurus richmondi) is a poorly known tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus endemic to Nicaragua, which is likely a synonym of the Red-tailed squirrel (Notosciurus granatensis).[1][3][4] It is locally known as the ardilla del rama.[5]

Taxonomy[edit]

It was first described in 1898 by Nelson based on a series of specimens collected in 1892. Specimens were collected again in 1908 and 1910 by Joel Asaph Allen. No more specimens were then collected until 53 were taken in the 1960s.[6] It appears no scientific specimens were taken or official observations recorded after the 1960s of which data has been uploaded to the GBIF.[4]

Description[edit]

Very similar to Notosciurus granatensis ssp. hoffmanni, but smaller in size[6][7], coloured less brightly, and with lighter coloured hairs on the tail. It has a brown back and tail, the tail streaked with tawny yellowish hairs, and an orange abdomen.[6]

Females have noticeably wider cheekbones than the males, but are otherwise morphologically identical (aside from the obvious).[6]

Distribution[edit]

Endemic to Nicaragua.[3][4] It has mostly been collected in the lowlands on the Atlantic coast, from the border of Costa Rica to Honduras. It is thought to be absent from the Pacific coast, although specimens have been collected near there at the Toro rapids on the Río San Juan near Lake Nicaragua.[4][6]

Habitat[edit]

Its habitat is tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests.[3] It has been collected in trees along streams in pastures, cacao plantations, and secondary woodlands in the 1960s, and possibly old growth forests in the 1890s.[6] It occurs from lowlands to about 1,000m.[1]

Behaviour[edit]

It is diurnal and probably solitary.[1] It forages on the ground and in the understory and is seldom seen in the canopy, more often on the trunk and lower branches according to Jones Jr. & Genoways in 1971.[6] The breeding season is long, from at least February to September[6], and litters of mostly 3, sometimes 2, young were been reported by Jones Jr. & Genoways based on 6 gravid females.[6] Jones Jr. & Genoways reported that it may moult twice a year.[6]

Similar Species[edit]

It is closely related to Notosciurus granatensis ssp. hoffmanni which replaces it just across the border with Costa Rica.[4][6] Genetic studies indicate is likely conspecific with N. granatensis[1], which has been suspected by most workers on it since it was first named (i.e. Nelson, Allen, Jones Jr. & Genoways, Koprowski & Roth).[6]

Deppe's squirrel (Sciurus deppei) occurs sympatrically with it throughout its range, although at higher elevations, and is also similarly sized and coloured, and similar in behaviour.[6]

Uses[edit]

It is sometimes hunted for food in Nicaragua.[1]

Conservation[edit]

Jones Jr. & Genoways in 1971 and Reid in 1997 thought the animal probably rare.[6] Baillie considered the species to be 'Lower Risk/near threatened' for the IUCN red list in 1996.[3] In the latest assessment for the IUCN in 2008 the taxon was given a 'Near Threatened' status as it was thought to have a known extent of occurrence of close to 20,000 km2, and the assessors thought it was possible the population was in decline,[1] likely based on anecdotes from the 1970s.[6] The IUCN stated in 2008 that deforestation is a major threat to this species,[1] likely echoing Jones Jr. & Genoways in 1971.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Koprowski, J. & Roth, L. (2008). "Sciurus richmondi". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T20020A9134791. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T20020A9134791.en. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. ^ Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffmann, R.S. (2005). "Sciurus (Guerlinguetus) richmondi". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference (3rd ed.). The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 754–818. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4. OCLC 26158608.
  3. ^ a b c d Baillie, J. (1996). "Sciurus richmondi". 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e "Sciurus richmondi Nelson, 1898". GBIF Backbone Taxonomy - Checklist dataset. GBIF Secretariat. 2017. doi:10.15468/39omei. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  5. ^ Aguirre, Yuri (12 July 2016). "Richmond's Squirrel Ardilla del Rama. Sciurus richmondi (N…". Flickr. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Jones Jr., J. Knox; Genoways, Hugh H. (July 1971). "Notes on the Biology of the Central American Squirrel, Sciurus richmondi". American Midland Naturalist. New Orleans: University of Notre Dame. 86 (1): 242–246. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  7. ^ Hayssen, Virginia (15 August 2008). "Patterns of Body and Tail Length and Body Mass in Sciuridae". Journal of Mammalogy. 89 (4): 852–873. doi:10.1644/07-MAMM-A-217.1. Retrieved 12 August 2018.