Significance to humans

Direct economic benefits from pikas are few; they are too small to serve as a source of country food. In central Asia,

Collared Pika
A collared pika (Ochotona collaris) surveying for predators on tallas slope. (Photo by John Hyde. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

their pelts were once used to make felt. A distillate of the soft feces of pikas ("mumio") is used as a folk medicine in central Asia to speed up the healing of broken bones or to remedy rheumatism. Some species are believed to be agricultural pests or to damage rangelands and are subject to widespread poisoning efforts. A contrasting view is that these species are important in their respective ecosystems and should be preserved to maintain local biodiversity rather than to be subject to control.

Ochotona Distribution Asia

1. Pallas's pika (Ochotona pallasi); 2. Large-eared pika (Ochotona macrotis); 3. American pika (Ochotona princeps); 4. Turkestan red pika (Ochotona rutila); 5. Afghan pika (Ochotona rufescens); 6. Northern pika (Ochotona hyperborea); 7. Plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae); 8. Steppe pika (Ochotona pusilla); 9. Gansu pika (Ochotona cansus). (Illustration by Amanda Humphrey)

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