Harriss antelope squirrel

Ammospermophilus harrisii

TAXONOMY

Spermophilus harrisii Audubon and Bachman, 1854, Santa Cruz county, Arizona, United States. Two subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Yuma antelope squirrel; German: Harris-Antilopen Zeisel.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

9.0-9.7 in (22.9-24.6 cm), 4.3-5.3 oz (122-150 g). Brown to dark gray in winter, lighter in summer. White stripe along each side. No white under tail unlike the other Ammospermophilus sp.

DISTRIBUTION

Southern Arizona, extreme southwest New Mexico, and northwest Mexico.

HABITAT

Various open and sparsely vegetated desert habitats. Habitats include sandy, gravely, pebbly, and rocky substrates with various desert plant communities of grasses, shrubs, and cacti.

BEHAVIOR

An asocial species that is active all year, although may remain below ground during cold weather feeding on stored seeds. Often seen standing vigilant on top of cacti Opuntia.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on fruit, seeds, and fleshy parts of cacti, and seeds of shrubs. Seeds are transported in cheek pouches to burrows for consuming when environmental conditions are poor.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The mating system has not been described. Breeding period typically February to March but may be as early as December. Gestation is 30 days. Litters of 6-7 young emerge from natal burrows at 4-5 weeks and are weaned at 7 weeks. Sexual maturity is reached after first winter. Usually a single litter per year, sometimes two.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Listed as Imperiled in New Mexico by the New Mexico Natural Heritage Program in 1997.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Considered an agricultural pest. ♦

0 0

Post a comment