Spermophilus F. Cuvier, 1825
* Spermophilus on Mammal Species of the World.
Spermophilus is a genus of ground squirrels in the family Sciuridae. The majority of ground squirrel species, over 40 in total, are usually placed in this genus. However, Spermophilus in the broad sense has been found to be paraphyletic to the certainly distinct prairie dogs, marmots, and antelope squirrels, so it has been split into several genera by Kristofer Helgen and colleagues.
Some Eurasian species are sometimes called susliks (or sousliks). This name comes from Russian суслик, suslik. The scientific name of this genus means "seed-lovers".
Ground squirrels may carry fleas that transmit diseases to humans (see Black Plague), and have been destructive in tunneling underneath human habitation. Though capable of climbing, most species of ground squirrel live in open, treeless habitats.
A generic revision was undertaken in 2007 by means of phylogenetic analyses using the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b. This resulted in the splitting of Spermophilus into eight genera, which with the prairie dogs, marmots, and antelope squirrels are each given as numbered clades. The exact relations between the clades are slightly unclear. Among these, eleven exclusively Palearctic species are retained as the genus Spermophilus sensu stricto (in the strictest sense).
* Clade 1, Notocitellus, the tropical ground squirrels
* Tropical ground squirrel, Notocitellus adocetus
* Clade 2, Ammospermophilus, the antelope squirrels
See antelope squirrel.
* Clade 3, Otospermophilus, the rock squirrels
* Rock squirrel, Otospermophilus variegatus
* Clade 4, Callospermophilus, the golden-mantled ground squirrels
* Golden-mantled ground squirrel, Callospermophilus lateralis
* Clade 5, Xerospermophilus, the pygmy ground squirrels
* Mohave ground squirrel, Xerospermophilus mohavensis
* Clade 6, Cynomys, the prairie dogs
See prairie dog.
* Clade 7, Poliocitellus
* Franklin's ground squirrel, Poliocitellus franklinii
* Clade 8, Ictidomys, little ground squirrels
* Thirteen-lined ground squirrel, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus
* Clade 9, Marmota, the marmots
* Clade 10, Urocitellus, Holarctic ground squirrels
* Long-tailed ground squirrel, Urocitellus undulatus
* Clade 11, Spermophilus sensu stricto, Old World ground squirrels
* European ground squirrel, Spermophilus citellus
1. ^ The Free Dictionary
* Helgen, Kristofer M.; Cole, F. Russel; Helgen, Lauren E.; and 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.
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License