Red-eared peas

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Red-eared peas
Subordination : Squirrel relatives (Sciuromorpha)
Family : Squirrel (Sciuridae)
Subfamily : Ground Squirrel (Xerinae)
Tribe : Real ground squirrels (Marmotini)
Genre : Ground Squirrel ( Spermophilus )
Type : Red-eared peas
Scientific name
Spermophilus erythrogenys
( Brandt , 1841)

The red- cheeked ground squirrel ( Spermophilus erythrogenys ) is a species of squirrel from the genus of the ground squirrel ( Spermophilus ). It occurs in eastern Kazakhstan and in south-western Siberia in Russia .


The red-cheeked pebble is relatively small and reaches a head-torso length of about 18.8 to 21.5 centimeters. The tail is about 4.0 to 4.5 centimeters long and is therefore, as with all ground squirrels, significantly shorter than the rest of the body. The back color varies and ranges from a pale gray-straw yellow with white speckles to a stronger straw yellow with rust-red tint and yellow spots. The back of the head is gray-brown or gray-straw yellow, under the eyes there is a noticeable broad and maroon-brown spot.

1 · 0 · 2 · 3  =  22
1 · 0 · 1 · 3
Tooth formula of the ground squirrel

The type, like all species of the genus in the upper jaw half per one to a incisor tooth formed incisor (incisor) to which a tooth gap ( diastema follows). This is followed by two premolars and three molars . In contrast, the animals have only one premolar in the lower jaw. In total, the animals have a set of 22 teeth.


The red-eared pies occurs in eastern Kazakhstan and in south-western Siberia in Russia . The altitude distribution extends to about 2100 meters in the southern part of the distribution area.

The population in Xinjiang ( People's Republic of China ) and Mongolia , which was originally also assigned to this species, is now regarded as a separate species, Spermophilus pallidicauda .

Way of life

The red-cheeked ground squirrel is a diurnal ground squirrel. It lives mainly in dry steppes and semi-deserts, in the north it also occurs on the edge of birch and aspen forests and in the south in mountain regions. It can also be found in agricultural areas. The ground squirrel lives in colonies of simple burrows up to 3.5 meters deep, and feeds on various parts of the plant, especially seeds and grains, as well as insects.

The animals spend the winter like other ground squirrels in hibernation , which ranges from late summer in late August or early September to March or April. The breeding season takes place in the spring after waking up, the litter consists of seven to nine young animals. Genetic with the help of studies by the use of RAPD-PCR , a special form of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) could be demonstrated that it regionally in the area between the Tobol and Ishim in the north of Kazakhstan and southern Russia to hybridizations between the red-cheeked ground squirrel and the Red and yellow ground squirrel ( Spermophilus major ) is coming.

Several diseases and parasites have been proven for the red-eared goblet, including encephalitis and tularemia caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis , which is transmitted between animals and humans through direct contact or via ticks, flies or mosquitoes. Also detected the presence is forward two types of coccidiosis , it is Eimeria berkinbaevi and Eimeria callospermophili .


The red-cheeked squirrel is classified as an independent species within the genus of the ground squirrel ( Spermophilus ), which currently consists of 15 species following a revision of the genus. The first scientific description comes from the natural scientist Johann Friedrich von Brandt from 1841. He described the species using individuals from the region around Barnaul in western Siberia. Originally the pale ground squirrel ( Spermophilus pallidicauda ) and the Brandt ground squirrel ( Spermophilus brevicauda ) were considered subspecies of the red -eared ground squirrel .

Apart from the nominate form, no subspecies are distinguished within the species .

Status, threat and protection

The red-cheeked pancake is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as Least Concern. This is justified by the large number and the large distribution area of ​​the animals. It occurs frequently in its area of ​​distribution and is regionally considered a pest. The animals are hunted for meat and fur within the area. Another source of danger can be the local destruction of habitat due to increasing agricultural use in the form of overgrazing together with dry seasons and droughts, during which waterholes dry out.

supporting documents

  1. a b c d e f g h i Richard W. Thorington Jr., John L. Koprowski, Michael A. Steele: Squirrels of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD 2012; Pp. 304-305. ISBN 978-1-4214-0469-1
  2. ^ Robert S. Hoffmann, Andrew T. Smith: Spermophilus. In: Andrew T. Smith , Yan Xie: A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ 2008, ISBN 978-0-691-09984-2 , p. 193.
  3. a b c d e Spermophilus erythrogenys in the Red List of Endangered Species of the IUCN 2015.1. Posted by: S. Shar, D. Lkhagvasuren, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  4. Kristofer M. Helgen, F. Russell Cole, Lauren E. Helgen, Don E. Wilson: Generic Revision in the holarctic ground squirrels genus Spermophilus. Journal of Mammalogy 90 (2), 2009; Pp. 270-305. doi : 10.1644 / 07-MAMM-A-309.1
  5. a b c Spermophilus erythrogenys In: Don E. Wilson , DeeAnn M. Reeder (Ed.): Mammal Species of the World. A taxonomic and geographic Reference. 2 volumes. 3. Edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD 2005, ISBN 0-8018-8221-4 .


  • Richard W. Thorington Jr., John L. Koprowski, Michael A. Steele: Squirrels of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD 2012; Pp. 304-305. ISBN 978-1-4214-0469-1

Web links

Commons : Spermophilus erythrogenys  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files