What is ground squirrel?

"Ground squirrels" (ground dwelling sciurids) are a parafyletic group of animals. They are divided in two tribes Xerini, Moore 1959, and Marmotini, Pocok 1923, subfamily Xerinae, Osborn 1910, family Sciuridae, order Rodentia.

List of species

Ground squirrel species - tribe Marmotini (according to Moore 1959):

Ammospermophilus harrisii (Audubon & Bachman, 1854)
Ammospermophilus insularis Nelson & Goldman, 1909
Ammospermophilus interpres (Merriam, 1890)
Ammospermophilus leucurus (Merriam, 1889)
Ammospermophilus nelsoni (Merriam, 1893)

Cynomys gunnisoni (Baird, 1855)
Cynomys leucurus Merriam, 1890
Cynomys ludovicianus (Ord, 1815)
Cynomys mexicanus Merriam, 1892
Cynomys parvidens J. A. Allen, 1905

Marmota baibacina Kastschenko, 1899
Marmota bobak (Müller, 1776)
Marmota broweri Hall & Gilmore, 1934
Marmota caligata (Eschschltz, 1829)
Marmota camtschatica (Pallas, 1811)
Marmota caudata (Geoffroy, 1844)
Marmota flaviventris (Audubon & Bachman, 1841)
Marmota himalayana (Hodgson, 1841)
Marmota marmota (Linnaeus, 1758)
Marmota menzbieri (Kashkarov, 1925)
Marmota monax (Linnaeus, 1758)
Marmota olympus (Merriam, 1898)
Marmota sibirica (Radde, 1862)
Marmota vancouverensis Swarth, 1911

Spermophilus adocetus (Merriam, 1903)
Spermophilus annulatus Audubon & Bachman, 1842
Spermophilus alashanicus Büchner, 1888
Spermophilus annulatus Audubon & Bachman, 1842
Spermophilus armatus Kennicott, 1863
Spermophilus atricapillus W. Briant, 1889
Spermophilus beecheyi (Richardson, 1829)
Spermophilus beldingi Merriam, 1888
Spermophilus brevicauda Brandt, 1843
Spermophilus brunneus (A. H. Howell, 1928)
Spermophilus canus Merriam, 1898
Spermophilus citellus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Spermophilus columbianus (Ord, 1815)
Spermophilus dauricus Brandt, 1843
Spermophilus elegans Kennicot, 1863
Spermophilus erythrogenys Brandt, 1841
Spermophilus franklinii (Sabine,1822)
Spermophilus fulvus (Lichtenstein, 1823)
Spermophilus lateralis (Say, 1823)
Spermophilus madrensis (Merriam, 1901)
Spermophilus major (Pallas, 1778)
Spermophilus mexicanus (Erxleben, 1777)
Spermophilus mohavensis Merriam, 1889
Spermophilus mollis Kennicot, 1863
Spermophilus musicus Ménétries, 1832
Spermophilus pallidicauda (Satunin, 1903)
Spermophilus parryii (Richardson, 1825)
Spermophilus perotensis Merriam, 1893
Spermophilus pygmaeus (Pallas, 1778)
Spermophilus ralli (Kuznetsov, 1948)
Spermophilus relictus (Kashkarov, 1923)
Spermophilus richardsinii (Sabine, 1822)
Spermophilus saturatus (Rhoads, 1895)
Spermophilus spilosoma Bennett, 1833
Spermophilus suslicus (Güldenstaedt, 1770)
Spermophilus taurensis sp. nov. 2007
Spermophilus torosensis sp. nov 2007
Spermophilus tereticaudus Baird, 1858
Spermophilus townsendii Bachman, 1839
Spermophilus tridecemlineatus (Mitchill, 1821)
Spermophilus undulatus (Pallas, 1778)
Spermophilus variegatus (Erxleben, 1777)
Spermophilus washingtoni (A. H. Howell, 1938)
Spermophilus xanthoprymnus (Bennett, 1835)

Ground squirrel species - tribe Xerini (Moore 1959):

Atlantoxerus getulus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Spermophilopsis leptodactylus (Lichtenstein, 1823)
Xerus erythropus (Geoffroy, 1803)
Xerus inauris (Zimmermann, 1780)
Xerus princeps (Thomas, 1929)
Xerus rutilus (Cretzchmar, 1829)


Basic Information, Check-list, Distribution

Gromov I. M. & Erbanjeva M. A. 1995: The mammals of Russia and adjacent territories, Lagomorphs and Rodents. Russian academy of sciences, Zoological Institute, St. Petersburg, 522 pp. [in Russian]

Hall R. E.  1981: The mammals of North America. John Wiley & Sons, New York, Second edition, Volume 1 & 2;  1181 pp.

Mitchell-Jones A. J., Amori G., Bogdanowicz W., Kryštufek B., Reijnders P. J. H., Spitzenberger F., Stubbe M., Thissen J. B. M., Vohralík V., Zima J. 1999: Atlas of European Mammals. The Academic Press, London, 496 pp.

Nowak R. M. 1999: Walker's mammals of the world. The Johns Hopkins university press, Baltimore and London, Sixth edition, Volume 1 & 2; 1936 pp.

Wilson D. E. & Reeder D. M., [eds] 2005: Mammal species of the world. A taxonomic and geographic reference. The Johns Hopkins university press, Baltimore, Third edition, Volume 1 & 2; 2142 pp.

Taxonomy and Evolution

Harrison R. G., Bogdanovicz S. M., Hoffmann R. S., Yensen E. & Sherman P. W. 2003: Phylogeny and Evolutionary History of the Ground Squirrels (Rodentia: Marmotinae). Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 10: 249-276.


Barash D. P. 1989: Marmots, social behaviour and ecology. Standford university press, Standford, California, 360 pp.

Bibikov, D. 1996. "Marmots of the World" (On-line). Accessed January 21, 2008 http://www.cons-dev.org/marm/MARM/EMARM/framarm/framarm.html

Murie J. O. & Michener G. R. [eds] 1984: The biology of ground dwelling squirrels. Annual cycles, behavioral ecology and sociality. University of Nebraska press, Lincoln and London, 459 pp.

Sociality and Behaviour

Armitage K. B. 1981: Sociality as a life-history tactic of Ground squirrels. Oecologia, 48: 36-49.

Vocalization (papers from Russian colleagues)

Matrosova V. A., Volodin I. A., Volodina E. V. & Babitsky A. F. 2007:Pups crying bass: vocal adaptation for avoidance of age-dependent predation risk in ground squirrels? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 62:181–191.

Useful links

Zoological Institutions

Ground squirrels - general information, research, protection