The Asian long-tailed ground squirrel — citellus undulatus pallas

Synonyms: Spermophilus eversmanni, Citellus eversmanni. Kazakh name: tapak kuypyuk. Local name: emuranok — Altai. In Pushnikov: obyknovennyysuslik.

Notes on taxonomy. Long-tailed ground squirrel was first described by Pallas to p. Selenga (Transbaikalia). In 1841, Brandt described the long-tailed ground squirrel called — Spermophilus eversmanni and in the same year, the gopher Eversmann was described under the name of — Arctomys altaicus.

The Asian long-tailed ground squirrel is very close to the American parakeet gopher — Citellus parryi Rich., 1827. The latter are somewhat larger and has a sharp spot in the color coat. Distinctive features in the structure of the teeth is captured for the Late forms (Gromov et al, 1965).

Taxonomically close to the long-tailed ground squirrel relic, inhabit the mountains of Tien Shan. This is manifested in the characteristics of the external structure, and in the proportions of the skull. In addition, studies of AS Strogonova-Dinh and Zhu (1961) showed that the long-tailed gopher in Jungar Alatau and the relic of the spurs Kegen gopher ridge behavior and way of life are very similar.

At present there are following modern subspecies of Asian long-tailed ground squirrel (Gromov, 1963), of which the last two are found in Kazakhstan:

1) C. and. undulatus Pall., 1778 — Long-tailed ground squirrel Transbaikalia;

2) S. and. intercedens Ognev, 1937 — Nerchin tailed ground squirrel;

3) S. and. jacutensis Br., 1843 — Yakut tailed ground squirrel;

4) S. and. menzbieri Ognev, 1937 — Amur tailed ground squirrel;

5)S. and. eversmanni Brandt, 1841 — Altai tailed ground squirrel; coloring summer fur the most intense, with strong development of rusty tones and relatively dark horse. Sizes are relatively small, but the tail is long. Distribution — Altai Idalia east to the west of the Irkutsk region.

Altai tailed ground squirrel has been described from a specimen, caught C. and. montibus Altaicis.

6)S. and. stramineus Obol, 1927 — Mongolian tailed ground squirrel the lightest form of a bright straw-yellow tones in the color of winter fur. The spread-Jungar Alatau Chuyskayastepna Altai, Mongolia.

The so-called Mongolian long-tailed Gopher was described from a specimen caught in the vicinity of the monastery Laman-Gegen (Northwest Mongolia).

A description of the animal. Gophers medium or large in size, with a long tail on the most (from 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the body). These squirrels saved, in addition, such a primitive squirrel traits as relatively long feet and relatively maloredutsirovannaya auricle.

Coloring fur back brownish ocher, often with varying degrees of intensity rusty tones in the top of the head. Light patchy pattern varies from relatively large distinct whitish ocher specks to small obscure mottling or heavy light streaks. Small bright streak planned sometimes on the upper surface of the head. Underparts, sides of the head and limbs — from white-ocher to fairly bright ocher-rusty color. Colouring lower body often comes high on the sides. Tail above brown, mottled with black hair ends, it is usually at the end of the development of broad black horizontal line, and on the edge — light rim.

In Kazakhstan subspecies gophers well defined seasonal dimorphism fur. In winter, the upper side of the body is light gray, fairly bright, crisp and clear-gray, yellow-whitish lower. Summer dark back with a predominance of rusty tones, abdomen also darker than in winter. Above the eyes and on the cheeks spots saturated colors not.

The coat is long-tailed ground squirrel is quite soft and lush, with a well developed down, the length of spines on the back reaches 12-15 mm. Fur young animals is low, dull, with no noticeable ripples.

With the onset of hot days and burn vegetation inhabitants moved to the southern slopes of the north, and the seasonal change of habitat is most clearly expressed in the steppe zone of the mountains (Chronicle Altyn Emel) and relatively poor — in the highlands: the subalpine and alpine zones (headwaters. Baskan).

Being sedentary animals, it differs from other squirrels extremely high mobility. The latter is due to the nature of his litany — dominated the diet of concentrated feed in the form of seeds.

Under favorable weather conditions, animals are removed from their burrows in the tens or even hundreds of meters, while on the surface for a long time (up to 40-60 min) takes not only zhirovok but blank feed in case of bad weather. This biological feature of long-tailed ground squirrel, distinguishing it from other relatives, binds more tightly to the hole, despite the high mobility within the aft section.

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