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Spermophilus tereticaudus Phoenix 1.jpg
Round-tailed ground squirrel in Phoenix, Arizona
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Tribe: Marmotini
Genus: Xerospermophilus
Merriam, 1892

X. mohavensis
X. tereticaudus
X. spilosoma
X. perotensis

Xerospermophilus is a genus of ground squirrels in the family Sciuridae, containing four species. The members of this genus were formerly placed in the large ground squirrel genus Spermophilus. Since DNA sequencing of the cytochrome b gene has shown Spermophilus to be paraphyletic to the prairie dogs and marmots,[1] this group is now separated, along with six other genera.[2] Within the genus, the Mohave ground squirrel and the round-tailed ground squirrel were thought to be close relatives, sometimes a subgenus Xerospermophilus, while the spotted ground squirrel and the Perote ground squirrel were placed in the subgenus (now a genus) Ictidomys.[2]

The name of the genus is a combination of the Greek word xeros, "dry", and Spermophilus, which also comes from Greek, meaning "seed lovers".[2]


The four species in Xerospermophilus are listed below. These are the same species that were previously grouped in the subgenus Otospermophilus.[2]


  1. ^ Herron, Matthew D.; Castoe, Todd A.; Parkinson, Christopher L. (2004). "Sciurid phylogeny and the paraphyly of Holarctic ground squirrels (Spermophilus)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 31 (3): 1015–30. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.09.015. PMID 15120398. 
  2. ^ a b c d Helgen, Kristofer M.; Cole, F. Russel; Helgen, Lauren E. & Wilson, Don E (2009). "Generic Revision in the Holarctic Ground Squirrel Genus Spermophilus". Journal of Mammalogy. 90 (2): 270–305. doi:10.1644/07-MAMM-A-309.1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2011.