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Datasheet

Tamias sibiricus (Siberian chipmunk)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 05 January 2012
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tamias sibiricus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Siberian chipmunk
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Mammalia
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • T. sibiricus is a terrestrial sciurid weighing approximately 100 g, present from northwestern Russia to southeastern Asia. Imported from South Korea, it was introduced to Europe as a pet in the 1960s. Since the 1970s, populations have been observed i...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Adult Siberian Chipmunk on fallen tree. Forest of Sénart, France.
TitleAdult
CaptionAdult Siberian Chipmunk on fallen tree. Forest of Sénart, France.
CopyrightJean-Louis Chapuis
Adult Siberian Chipmunk on fallen tree. Forest of Sénart, France.
AdultAdult Siberian Chipmunk on fallen tree. Forest of Sénart, France.Jean-Louis Chapuis
Close-up of head; adult Siberian Chipmunk on fallen tree. Forest of Sénart, France.
TitleAdult
CaptionClose-up of head; adult Siberian Chipmunk on fallen tree. Forest of Sénart, France.
CopyrightJean-Louis Chapuis
Close-up of head; adult Siberian Chipmunk on fallen tree. Forest of Sénart, France.
AdultClose-up of head; adult Siberian Chipmunk on fallen tree. Forest of Sénart, France.Jean-Louis Chapuis
Young Siberian Chipmunks. Forest of Sénart, France
TitleJuveniles
CaptionYoung Siberian Chipmunks. Forest of Sénart, France
CopyrightJean-Louis Chapuis
Young Siberian Chipmunks. Forest of Sénart, France
JuvenilesYoung Siberian Chipmunks. Forest of Sénart, FranceJean-Louis Chapuis
Adult Siberian Chipmunk. Forest of Sénart, France
TitleAdult
CaptionAdult Siberian Chipmunk. Forest of Sénart, France
CopyrightJean-Louis Chapuis
Adult Siberian Chipmunk. Forest of Sénart, France
AdultAdult Siberian Chipmunk. Forest of Sénart, FranceJean-Louis Chapuis
Adult Siberian Chipmunk. Yakutia, Ust-Mayskiy District, Maya River.
TitleAdult
CaptionAdult Siberian Chipmunk. Yakutia, Ust-Mayskiy District, Maya River.
CopyrightEkaterina V. Obolenskaya
Adult Siberian Chipmunk. Yakutia, Ust-Mayskiy District, Maya River.
AdultAdult Siberian Chipmunk. Yakutia, Ust-Mayskiy District, Maya River.Ekaterina V. Obolenskaya
Close- up of head; adult Siberian Chipmunk, Yakutia, Ust-Mayskiy District, Maya River
TitleAdult
CaptionClose- up of head; adult Siberian Chipmunk, Yakutia, Ust-Mayskiy District, Maya River
CopyrightEkaterina V. Obolenskaya
Close- up of head; adult Siberian Chipmunk, Yakutia, Ust-Mayskiy District, Maya River
AdultClose- up of head; adult Siberian Chipmunk, Yakutia, Ust-Mayskiy District, Maya RiverEkaterina V. Obolenskaya
Adult Siberian Chipmunk climbing tree-trunk. Forest of Meudon, France.
TitleAdult
CaptionAdult Siberian Chipmunk climbing tree-trunk. Forest of Meudon, France.
CopyrightAndrey A. Lissovsky
Adult Siberian Chipmunk climbing tree-trunk. Forest of Meudon, France.
AdultAdult Siberian Chipmunk climbing tree-trunk. Forest of Meudon, France.Andrey A. Lissovsky

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tamias sibiricus (Laxmann, 1769)

Preferred Common Name

  • Siberian chipmunk

Subspecies

  • Tamias sibiricus altaicus

Other Scientific Names

  • Eutamias sibiricus (Laxmann, 1769)

International Common Names

  • English: Asian chipmunk
  • Spanish: ardilla terrestre de Siberia
  • French: écureuil de Corée; tamia de Sibérie
  • Russian: burunduk
  • Chinese: huashu

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Burunduk
  • Japan: shimarisu
  • Korea, Republic of: da-lam-jui

Summary of Invasiveness

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T. sibiricus is a terrestrial sciurid weighing approximately 100 g, present from northwestern Russia to southeastern Asia. Imported from South Korea, it was introduced to Europe as a pet in the 1960s. Since the 1970s, populations have been observed in suburban forests and urban parks, originating from animals which were released by owners, escaped from captivity or were introduced as ornamental animals. 22 populations are known in Europe, with some of them consisting of thousands of individuals. However, their natural extension seems limited. Research conducted in France showed that T. sibiricus is a major reservoir for the Lyme disease agent, Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. Moreover it hosted a very large number of hard ticks, mainly Ixodes ricinus, the vector of this disease in Europe. Suspected thus to play a role in terms of human health, it was classified in 2008 in the list of the 100 most invasive species in Europe (DAISIE).

 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Mammalia
  •                     Order: Rodentia
  •                         Family: Sciuridae
  •                             Genus: Tamias
  •                                 Species: Tamias sibiricus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The Siberian chipmunk Tamias sibiricus (Laxmann, 1769) is distributed from northern European Russia through Siberia to Sakhalin island, including northern Mongolia, China, Korea, and Japan (Obolenskaya 2008). Different authors recognize 4–9 subspecies of T. sibiricus mainly on the basis of peculiarities of pelage coloration (Formozov 1928; Ognev 1940; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott 1951; Gromov and Erbaeva 1995; Thorington and Hoffmann 2005). For example Thorington and Hoffmann (2005) listed 9 subspecies: T. sibiricus sibiricus, T. sibiricus asiaticus, T. sibiricus lineatus, T. sibiricus okadae, T. sibiricus ordinalis, T. sibiricus orientalis, T. sibiricus pallasi, T. sibiricus senescens and T. sibiricus umbrosus. Recent taxonomic revision (Obolenskaya et al. 2009; Koh et al. 2009) showed that there are three major groups within T. sibiricus, recognized as separate subspecies: T. sibiricus sibiricus (including orientalis, jacutensis, altaicus, lineatus, okadae, pallasi, asiaticus and uthensis) in the northern part of the range -- Russia, extreme northeast of the Korean peninsula, Mongolia, Japan and northeast China; T. sibiricus barberi — Korean Peninsula except the extreme northeast region; and T. sibiricus senescens (including intercessor, ordinalis and umbrosus) — central China, south of Liaoning Province. These three taxa are separated by quite large morphological and genetic distances and their taxonomic ranks need additional investigation. The last study did not include specimens from several parts of Shaanxi, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces of China, so information from these regions could expand the pattern of T. sibiricus geographic variation.

There is a discussion about the generic or subgeneric rank of the genus-group taxon Eutamias Trouessart, 1880 for which Sciurus sibiricus Laxmann, 1769 is a type species (see Piaggio and Spicer 2001). Some authors include Eutamias as a subgenus in genus Tamias Illiger, 1811 (Ellerman and Morrison-Scott 1951; Thorington and Hoffmann 2005) while others treat it as a separate genus (Ognev 1940; Obolenskaya et al. 2009).

 

Description

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T. sibiricus is a small striped squirrel, weighing about 100 g (adults). It does not show sexual dimorphism. Young and adults are not distinguishable except by their size and proportions.
 
Measurements (adults):
 
In Russia (A. Lissovsky, Zoological Museum of Moscow University, Moscow, Russia, unpublished): body weight: 89.2 ± 2.1 g (range: 74–123; n=29); head and body length: 142.4 ± 2.0 mm (range: 124–168; n=28); tail length: 106.7 ± 1.5 mm (range: 90–133; n=30); hind foot: 33.6 ± 0.4 mm (range: 29–38; n=30); ear: 14 ± 0.5 mm (range: 9-19; n=30); condylobasal length of skulls from different parts of the range: 35 ± 0.05 mm (range: 32–39; n=381), zygomatic breadth: 21.9 ± 0.04 mm (range: 19–24; n=371).
 
In France (B. Pisanu, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished): full body mass: 100 ± 1 g (range: 89 – 115; n = 33); head and body length: 149 ± 1 mm (range: 137 – 163; n = 28); tail length: 109 ±2 mm (range: 84 – 125; n = 24); hind foot: 36.4 ± 0.3 mm (range: 33.0 – 41.0; n = 28); ear: 16.3 ± 0.2 mm (range: 14.0 – 18.5; n = 26).
 
Coat:
 
T. sibiricus is a small squirrel-like animal with general sandy-rufous pelage coloration and a long bushy brown-grey tail, with a central and two pairs of lateral black stripes. The back from the back of the head to the rump is covered by five dark longitudinal stripes separated by lighter zones of the same width.
 
Pelage coloration displays geographic variation:
  • In central China the upper part of the head is greyish-brown with a slightly undulating pattern. The dark dorsal stripes are deep-brown with solitary light hairs. The central pair of light dorsal stripes is sandy-grey. The lateral pair of light dorsal stripes is light ash-grey. The medial part of the rump is rufous with a red tint.
  • In the Korean peninsula the upper part of the head is rufous-brown. The dark dorsal stripes are very contrasting, being deep brown, nearly black. The central pair of light dorsal stripes is rufous-fiery red. The lateral pair of light dorsal stripes is ochraceous-sandy. The rump is very bright, rufous-fiery red. The rufous color of the rump reaches the middle of the back in some specimens.
  • In the northern part of the range the upper part of the head is greyish-brown, fulvous-brown or rufous. The dark dorsal stripes are sharp black. The central pair of light dorsal stripes is sandy. The lateral pair of light dorsal stripes is sandy-grey. Southeastern populations have light dorsal stripes from ochraceous to red. Differences between the coloration of the central and lateral light dorsal stripes are weak. The medial part of the rump is brown, ochraceous-red or ochraceous (Obolenskaya et al., 2009).

Distribution

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The native range of T. sibiricus covers a vast territory from the northern parts of European Russia to the shore of the Sea of Okhotsk and from northern Yakutia to central China. A detailed description of the native range was published by Obolenskaya (2008). This publication includes the analysis of the distribution of this taxon, mainly based on localities recovered from available museum referenced specimens. The most western region where T. sibiricus is known to occur is the basin of the Severnaya Dvina. Occurrences in Karelia and Finland are not supported by museum collection information. In the eastward and southward directions, the border of the chipmunk’s range in Europe follows the range of the southern taiga and does not cross the Volga. The northern border of its range coincides with the northern border of the taiga. T. sibiricus can also live in the forest-tundra zone but only along shrubby river valleys. It only inhabits the southern part of the Putorana Plateau and is not present north of 69° N. In the north-eastern part of the Far East, it inhabits mountain regions covered with Pinus pumila and is absent from the Chukotskiy Peninsula and Kamchatka. It lives along all the continental coast of the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan. It inhabits Shantar Island, Sakhalin Island, Kunashir Island and Hokkaido Island. Further southward, it lives in broad-leaved and mixed coniferous and broad-leaved forests across the Korean peninsula and the Chinese provinces of Nei Menggu, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Sichuan. From Nei Menggu to the Altai Mountains, its range extends along the southern border of the taiga, including forested parts of Transbaikalia, Hentiyn Nuruu, Hangayn Nuruu and the Mongolian Altai Mountains along with part of the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Its range penetrates into the steppes along shrubby river valleys. West from the Altai, the southern border of the range goes along the southern limit of forested areas. It crosses the Novosibirsk, Omsk and Tyumen regions of Russia and reaches the southern Urals in the region of the Belaya River.

T. sibiricus was first introduced into the wild in Europe in the 1970s. 22 naturalized populations were present in 2009: eleven in France, three each in Italy and Belgium, two each in Germany and the Netherlands, and one in Switzerland, mainly in suburban forests and urban parks. Near to the native range, it was introduced more than 20 years ago to the largest island of Japan (Honshu) at various sites (e.g. on Karuizawa, and in Aomori Prefecture) and also to Hokkaido (where a wild population already existed) from the continent (T. Oshida, University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro, Japan, personal communication, 2009). It was also introduced to the Moscow Region of Russia, Ruzskiy District (55°36’N, 36°32’E) from Primorye (Obolenskaya, 2008).
 
The locations of the European populations are as follows:
  •  France (Chapuis, 2005; Marmet and Chapuis, 2007): Forêt de Sénart, Draveil (Essonne) (48°40'N, 2°27'E); Forêt de Meudon, Clamart (48°47'N, 2°14'E) (Hauts-de-Seine); Parc Henri Sellier, Plessis-Robinson (48°46'N, 2°15'E) (Hauts-de-Seine); Parc de Sceaux (48°46'N, 2°18'E) (Hauts-de-Seine); Bois de Guyancourt (48°46'N, 2°5'E) (Yvelines); Bois de Verneuil-sur-Seine (48°59'N, 1°56'E) (Yvelines); Bois de Boissy, Taverny (49°0'N, 2°13'E) (Val d'Oise); Forêt de la Haute Pommeraye, Creil (49°14'N, 2°29'E) (Oise); Parc de la Vallée au Loup (48°46'17"N, 2°15'53"E) (Hauts-de-Seine); Forêt d’Ermenonville, Borest (49°10'N, 2°40'E) (Oise); and Bois de Villers-Carbonnel (49°51'N, 2°53'E) (Somme).
  • Belgium (de Keyser, 1983; Verbeylen, 2002; 2003; Verbeylen & Van den Broeke, 2003; Verbeylen et al., 2003): Soignes Forest, Brussels (50°47'N, 4°25'E); Calmeyn Forest, De Panne (51°6'N, 2°35'E); Forest De Beeltjens, Westerlo (51°5'N, 4°55'E).
  • Germany (Geinitz, 1980; Berger, 1984; Münch, 2005; P. Boye, Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, Germany, personal communication, 2010): Aschaffenburg (Bavaria) (49°58'N, 9°8'E); Rolandseck (Remagen, Rheinland-Palatinate) (50°37'N, 7°12'E).
  • Italy (Armori and Gippoliti, 1995; dal Farra et al. 1996; Bertolino and Genovesi, 2005, Bertolino 2009): River Piave, Belluno (46°8'N, 12°13'E); Bussolengo Zoological Park, Verona (45°29'N,10°49'E); Villa Ada Park, northwest part of Rome (41°56'N,12°30'E).
  • Switzerland (Fernandez, 1995): Parc de la Perle du Lac (46°13'15N, 6°9'E), Geneva.
  • Netherlands (Dijkstra & Dekker, 2008; V. Dijkstra, Zoogdiervereniging VZZ, Arnhem, The Netherlands, personal communication, 2009): Tilburg (51°34'N, 5°02'E); Weert (51°14'N, 5°46'E).
These European populations most probably originated from South Korea.
 

 

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

CountryDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferencesNotes

ASIA

China
-BeijingWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-GansuWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-HebeiWidespreadNativeNot invasiveZhang, 1997
-HeilongjiangWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-HenanWidespreadNativeNot invasiveZhang, 1997
-JilinWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-LiaoningWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-Nei MengguWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-NingxiaWidespreadNativeNot invasiveZhang, 1997
-QinghaiWidespreadNativeNot invasiveZhang, 1997
-ShaanxiWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-ShanxiWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-SichuanWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
-TianjinLocalisedNativeNot invasiveZhang, 1997
-XinjiangLocalisedNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997
Japan
-HokkaidoPresentNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Ohdachi et al., 2009
-HonshuPresentIntroducedOshida & Yanagawa, 2002Various sites, including Karuizawa (T. Oshida, University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihro, Japan, personal communication, 2009)
KazakhstanLocalisedNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Sludskii, 1977
Korea, DPRWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008
Korea, Republic ofWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008
MongoliaLocalisedNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Bannikov, 1954

EUROPE

AustriaAbsent, formerly presentIntroduced1970sNot invasiveKrapp, 1978Near Vienna
BelgiumLocalisedIntroducedde Keyser, 1983; Verbeylen & Broeke, 2003; Verbeylen, 2002
FranceLocalisedIntroducedInvasiveChapuis, 2005; Krapp, 1978; Marmet & Chapuis, 2007
GermanyLocalisedIntroducedGeinitz, 1980; P. Boye, Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, Germany, personal communication, 2010; P. Boye, Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, Germany, personal communication, 2009
ItalyLocalisedIntroducedArmori & Gippoliti, 1995; Bertolino & Genovesi, 2005
NetherlandsLocalisedIntroduced1972, 2005Dijkstra & Dekker, 20082 populations: Tilburg (1972), Weert (2005)
Russian Federation
-Central RussiaPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008Small introduced population in the west part of Moscow Region (Ruzskiy District)
-Eastern SiberiaWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Ognev, 1940
-Northern RussiaLocalisedNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Formozov, 1928; Ognev, 1940
-Russian Far EastWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Chernyavskiy, 1984; Ognev, 1940; Yudin et al., 1976
-Western SiberiaWidespreadNativeNot invasiveObolenskaya, 2008; Ognev, 1940; Telegin, 1980
SwitzerlandLocalisedIntroduced1970sFernandez, 1995Geneva

History of Introduction and Spread

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Origin of populations introduced in Europe:

T. sibiricus was introduced to Europe from the 1960s onwards, for the pet trade. According to S.H. Han (Institute of Biological Resources, Ministry of Environment, South Korea, personal communication, 2009), more than 200,000 individuals were exported from South Korea every year between 1960 and 1980. By the late 1960s, and especially after the 1970s, individuals were introduced to suburban forests and urban parks in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria. These animals either 1) were abandoned by owners tired of their company, 2) were deliberately introduced as ornamental animals, or 3) escaped from captivity (breeding farms, pet shops, zoos).
 
A recent molecular analysis (A. Lissovsky & E. Baudry, Zoological Museum of Moscow University, Moscow, Russia, unpublished) conducted in 4  populations in France matched the Korean phylogroup formed by T. sibiricus barberi Johnson & Jones, 1955 (Obolenskaya et al. 2009; Koh et al. 2009). Mention has been made of introductions from China or Japan, but there is no evidence to verify this. According to M. Kawamichi (Kansai Wildlife Research Association, Japan, personal communication, 2009), when mention is made of introduction from Japan, this refers to animals in transit from South Korea. Thus T. sibiricus introduced to Europe probably all originated from South Korea, although this hypothesis should be confirmed by systematic molecular analyses. Today, pet shops are supplied by individuals grown on farms in Europe.
 
After prohibition of the trade of chipmunks from Korea, pet shops in Japan imported them from China, where they were probably captured in the wild. The Japanese government prohibited the trade in wild-caught rodents from 2000, for quarantine reasons (M. Kawamichi, Kansai Wildlife Research Association, Japan, personal communication, 2010).
 
Not all introductions resulted in the establishment of populations. The most surprising “natural” failure concerned the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, France, where about 400 animals imported from South Korea were accidentally released in 1969 (F. Petter, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, personal communication, 2009). The population remained in subsequent years but then declined, and it disappeared in 1977. The presence of a large population of domestic cats might explain its disappearance.
 
Similarly, populations of T. sibiricus reported in France near Nantes and near Paris (Bois de Boulogne) and in Austria near Wien (Krapp, 1978) are now extinct. In recent years, individuals have been newly observed in forests or parks in France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Overall, the small number of founders, along with the presence of domestic cats in urbanized areas, may be the primary obstacle to the establishment or spread of T. sibiricusin Europe.
 
Naturalized European populations:
 
In France, at least 9 populations remain and have increased (Chapuis, 2005; Jaouen & Léger, 2005; Marmet and Chapuis, 2007):
  • Forêt de Sénart (3200 ha), Draveil: introduced late 1960s; number of founders unknown; population about 15,000 individuals in 2008. High mortality was observed during winter 2008-2009, following the low availability of food in autumn 2008. Overwintering adults successfully reproduced in the following summer, so the population is likely to grow again in the near future.
  • Bois de Verneuil-sur-Seine (230 ha): introduced mid-1980s; number of founders unknown; current population in the thousands.
  • Forêt de la Haute Pommeraye (1500 ha), Creil: introduced 1986 (escape from a pet shop); number of founders unknown; current population in the thousands.
  • Forêt de Meudon (1100 ha): introduced early 1980s; number of founders unknown; current population in the thousands.
  • Bois de Guyancourt (300 ha): introduced late 1980s, number of founders unknown; current population in the hundreds.
  • Bois de Boissy (40 ha), Taverny: introduced 1990; number of founders unknown; current population in the hundreds.
  • Parc Henri Sellier (26 ha), Plessis-Robinson: introduced 1980s; number of founders unknown; current population <100 (estimated population: 50 adults in June 2006). Decrease in numbers observed in 2007-2008; still present in 2009.
  • Parc de Sceaux (180 ha): introduced late 1990s; number of founders unknown; population 20-25 in June 2007; still observed in 2009.
  • Parc de la Vallée au Loup (46 ha), Châtenay-Malabry: introduced 1990s; number of founders unknown; current population <50; still present in 2009.
For two other populations, recent data is not available:
  • Bois de Villers-Carbonnel (200-300 ha): about 30 individuals escaped from a breeding farm in 1984.
  • Forêt d’Ermenonville (3,600ha), Borest: introduced late 1990s, number of founders unknown.
The origin of these populations may have been the introduction of chipmunks by private owners, except at La Haute Pommeraye, where they escaped from a pet shop, and Villers-Carbonnel, where they escaped from a breeding farm.
 
In Belgium, according to Verbeylen (2002, 2003), Verbeylen & Van den Broeke (2003), Verbeylen et al. (2003) and G. Verbeylen (Nattuurpunt, Brussels, Belgium, personal communication, 2009), three populations are currently present out of the four listed by de Keyser (1983) (the fourth was probably a mistake in the literature and never existed). The populations are fluctuating (probably because of factors like food supply, winter temperature and rainfall).
  • Soignes Forest (4200 ha), Brussels: introduced late 1960s; individuals introduced by a pet-seller. Population in 1981, approx. 150; 1988, approx. 4500; 1998, approx. 7500; 2002, decrease in numbers, followed a few years later by an increase. In 1998, chipmunks occupied 26% of the forest area. In 1992, 75% of the population died off. In the mid 2000s there were some sightings outside the ring of Brussels, indicating that the population was spreading, but there were no more sightings there in the following years.
  • The Calmeyn Forest (66 ha), De Panne: introduced 1976; number of founders 17, released in a wildlife park (Meli Park) as ornamental animals. Population in 1998, approx. 520; 1999, approx. 165; 2000, approx. 70; 2001, approx. 85; 2003, approx. 30; 2006, approx. 500; 2009, almost no animals seen.
  • Forest De Beeltjens (<100 ha), Westerlo: date of introduction and number of founders unknown; released from a pet shop. In 1996, >30 individuals. Still present.
 
In Switzerland (Fernandez, 1995; G. Dändliker, Direction Générale de la Nature et du Paysage, Geneva, Switzerland, personal communication, 2009):
  • Parc de la Perle du Lac, Geneva: introduced early 1970s, number of founders unknown. Population still present in 2009, and tending to spread.
In Germany, five populations of chipmunks are commonly cited, at Freiburg, Aschaffenburg, Rolandseck, Münster and Wuppertal, but only 2 populations of T. sibiricus may still be present (Geinitz, 1980; Berger, 1984; Münch, 2005; P. Boye, Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, Germany, personal communication, 2010)
  • Park Schoental, Aschaffenburg: date of introduction and number of founders unknown. Population estimated at 70-90 individuals in recent years.
  • Rolandseck, Remagen: date of introduction and number of founders unknown. Population located in a wildlife park, and in forests on the western slopes of the river Rhine valley. Population size unknown.

The other populations are as follows:

  • Freiburg: first observed in 1969; number of founders unknown. Located in a cemetery. Currently this population is probably extinct.
  • Münster: introduced since 1973-1974; number of founders unknown. Located in a cemetery. In the late 1970s, the population was about 200. It disappeared in 1996 following a campaign of rabbit control (by poison?).
  • Wuppertal (Northrhine-Westphalia) (51°15'N, 7°8'E): date of introduction and number of founders unknown; problems with species identification for this population. Still present.
These populations are poorly known. Recently (February 2010), the species present in Wuppertal has been identified as Tamias striatus (Peter Boye, Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, Germany, personal communication, 2010), the only population of this speciesin Europe to the authors’ knowledge.
     
In Italy, three populations are probably still present (Armori and Gippoliti, 1995; dal Farra et al. 1996; Bertolino et al., 2000; Bertolino and Genovesi, 2005, Bertolino 2009):
  • Belluno: introduced 1969-70; number of founders 70-100; shows a great potential for expansion along the River Piave.
  • Verona, in the "Natura Viva" of Bussolengo Zoological Park (40 ha): several pairs introduced in the 1970’s; population in the 1990s approx. 100.
  • Villa Ada Park (150 ha), northwest of Rome: introduced 1980s; number of founders and population size unknown. Still present but few animals observed.
In The Netherlands (Dijkstra & Dekker, 2008; V. Dijkstra, Zoogdiervereniging VZZ, Arnhem, The Netherlands, personal communication, 2009): 
  • Tilburg: introduced 1972; number of founders unknown; escaped from a zoo. In 2009, population in the hundreds, over a few square kilometres.
  • Weert: probably present since 2005; number of founders unknown. In 2009, some animals still present. Survival of the population uncertain.
 

 

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
BelgiumKorea, Republic ofsince 1960sPet trade (pathway cause)
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
Yesde Keyser, 1983; Verbeylen & Broeke, 2003; Verbeylen, 2002
FranceKorea, Republic ofsince 1960sPet trade (pathway cause)
Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause)
YesChapuis, 2005; Jaouen & Léger, 2005; Marmet & Chapuis, 2007
GermanyKorea, Republic of1969Pet trade (pathway cause)
Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause)
YesGeinitz, 1980; Münch, 2005Additional reference: Peter Boye, Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, Germany, personal connunication, 2009. As well as 1969 introduction there were others of unknown date.
ItalyKorea, Republic of1970s,1980sPet trade (pathway cause)
Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause)
YesArmori & Gippoliti, 1995; Bertolino & Genovesi, 2005
JapanunknownPet trade (pathway cause)YesOhdachi et al., 2009; Oshida & Yanagawa, 2002Introduced either from Japan or from Republic of Korea.
NetherlandsKorea, Republic of1972, 2005Pet trade (pathway cause)
Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause)
YesDijkstra & Dekker, 2008
SwitzerlandKorea, Republic of1970sPet trade (pathway cause)YesFernandez, 1995

Risk of Introduction

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T. sibiricus populations in Europe are mostly located in isolated forests embedded in urbanized areas, in small urban parks, in zoos, and even in artificial areas such as cemeteries (Germany). Thus, natural spread to other areas is limited to urban zones.

The main current risk for the extension of the species is related to introduction by humans to other forests, at the local or regional scales, by the release of animals by owners or their escape from captivity. Indeed, new observations concern isolated individuals or small populations, which are regularly noted in France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Most fail to establish because of the low number of founders, and predation by domestic cats.

Habitat

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In the native range:

 Although T. sibiricus occupies a vast range of habitats, it prefers some types of forest, mainly in the taiga zone. Habitats can be subdivided into several groups:
  1. Various types of coniferous forests. The abundance of fallen trees, glades or other clearings makes habitat noticeably more suitable. Often it prefers parts with tall herbaceous vegetation.
  2. Tali and different types of stony habitats in the forest or subalpine mountain belts, covered with Pinus pumila or other bush such as Spiraea, Rosa or Rubus species.
  3. Shrubby habitats along rivers and roads in forest, steppe or forest-tundra zones.
  4. Small patches of forest, mainly birch or aspen groves in the forest-steppe zone and agricultural landscapes.
In Europe:
 
Introduced populations are found in deciduous forest with oaks, hornbeams, chestnuts, beeches, hazels and other trees, in mixed deciduous and coniferous forests, and in urban parks.

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural landSecondary/tolerated habitatHarmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural landSecondary/tolerated habitatNatural
Disturbed areasSecondary/tolerated habitatNatural
Managed forests, plantations and orchardsSecondary/tolerated habitatNatural
Rail / roadsidesPrincipal habitatNatural
Urban / peri-urban areasSecondary/tolerated habitatNatural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forestsPrincipal habitatNatural
RiverbanksPrincipal habitatNatural
Rocky areas / lava flowsPrincipal habitatNatural
Scrub / shrublandsPrincipal habitatNatural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

2N=38 chromosomes, NF=52 (Nadler et al., 1969). The autosomes consist of 4 pairs of metacentrics, 3 pairs of submetacentrics, 4 pairs of subtelocentrics and 7 pairs of acrocentrics. The X-chromosome is the second largest in the submetacentric in Korea (Hahn, Lew, 1976) and the largest acrocentric in Russia (Liapounova and Jholnerovskaya, 1969). The Y-chromosome is the smallest submetacentric.
 
Reproductive biology
 
Breeding takes place once a year in the northern part of the range and twice in the southern (Vinokurov and Solomonova, 2002), depending on the duration of snow cover (Kawamichi and Kawamichi, 1993) and feeding conditions (Chapuis, 2005; Marmet, 2008). Reproduction begins soon after the end of hibernation, in early March in France, and late April in cold areas. When females are in oestrus, they emit "chips" to attract males (Blake, 1992). They are fertilized on one day, two at most for one third of them (Blake and Gillett, 1988). The time interval between two oestrous periods is 14 ± 2 days (Blake and Gillett, 1988). This species exhibits a polygamous and promiscuous mating system. Multipaternity, i.e. several males fertilizing a single female, occurs (Marmet, 2008; J. Marmet et al., Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished).
 
After a gestation period of about 30-31 days (Telegin, 1980; Kawamichi and Kawamichi, 1993; Blake and Gillett, 1988), females can produce 2-13 (on average 5.8) embryos (Vinokurov and Solomonova, 2002). Fecundity increases with age (Mezhenniy, 1968). In Japan, the average litter size at emergence is 4.8 ± 0.3 (Kawamichi and Kawamichi, 1993), and 4.4 ± 1.6 in captivity (Blake and Gillett, 1988). In Japan (Hokkaido), birth takes place in May-June (Kawamichi and Kawamichi, 1993). In France (Chapuis, 2005; Marmet, 2008) and in Great Britain (in captivity, Blake and Gillett, 1988), the first cohort is produced in April-May and the second in July-August. The number of young of the second litter is reduced compared to the first (Blake and Gillett, 1988). Litter size increases with age of females both in captivity (Blake and Gillett, 1988) and in the wild (Kawamichi and Kawamichi, 1993).
 
The young are born blind and naked. The weight of newborns is 3-5 g. Ten-day-old chipmunks weigh 7-10 g; at 24 days they weigh 21-22 g. The lower incisors appear on the 12th day and the upper ones on the 21st. The complete replacement of deciduous teeth finishes at the age of 2.5 months (Mezhenniy, 1964). The eyes become completely open on the 28th day (Mezhenniy, 1964). The nursing period lasts for about 40–45 days according to Telegin (1980), 5 weeks according to Blake and Gillett (1988) and 6 to 8 weeks according to Kawamichi and Kawamichi (1993). The young leave their burrow when they reach a body mass of about 50 g (Marmet, 2008). In captivity, the sex ratio of young is not significantly different from 1:1 (Blake and Gillett, 1988). During the first days after weaning, the young disperse (Kawamichi et al. 1987; Kawamichi 1989; J. Marmet, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished). Adult body mass is reached at 3–3.5 months of age. Females first reproduce at 8 to 14 months of age (Blake and Gillett, 1988; Marmet, 2008).
 
In France (Forest of Sénart) when food resources (acorns, nuts hornbeams) were scarce in the spring, females did not breed and gave birth to only one litter, in July-August (Marmet, 2008; J.-L. Chapuis, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished). In Japan, breeding success was also a function of available food resources (Kawamichi, 1980).
 
Physiology and phenology
 
Shelters:
 
T. sibiricus most often shelters in a burrow that consists of a single entry 5 cm in diameter emerging on the ground, followed by a gallery of 1 to 2 m in length, up to 1.5 m deep, ending by a single chamber (Kawamichi, 1989). However, according to Ognev (1940) in Russia, the burrow may have two chambers. The species may also use other types of refuge, such as cavities in trees, old stumps, or holes in old walls or buildings (Marmet, 2008). Males and females live separately in their burrows (although they may co-habit for a short time during the mating period (A. Dozières, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished)), and use several burrows during the year. After hibernation, they choose a new burrow (Kawamichi, 1989).
 
Hibernation:
 
T. sibiricus hibernates alone in a burrow for up to 6-7 months in the colder regions of its range, beginning in early October and lasting up to early April (Russia: Anufriev and Arkhipov, 2004; Anufriev et al., 2005; Vinokurov and Solomonova, 2002; Japan: Kawamichi & Kawamichi 1993). In temperate conditions in Europe, the hibernation period is shorter, ranging between 4 and 5 months (Jaeger, 1969, 1974; J.-L. Chapuis, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished). In France, adults and young of the first cohort enter hibernation in October, and young of the second cohort in November (Marmet, 2008). According to Kawamichi (1996; 1999), in Japan, adult females enter hibernation first, followed by adult males, then young females and lastly young males. Availability of burrowing sites, food resources, and densities influence the process of entering hibernation. Neither air temperature nor body weight seem to explain the annual variability in dates of entry into hibernation. However, hibernation begins before the air temperature falls below 0 °C or snow cover commences (Kawamichi, 1996; Kawamichi & Kawamichi, 1993). When beginning the hibernation process, chipmunks obstruct the entrance of their burrows with soil. During hibernation, they alternately enter torpor and awake to feed on the reserves stored in autumn. According to Anufriev (2002), Anufriev and Arkhipov (2004), and Anufriev et al. (2005), who reared wild Siberian chipmunks from Yakutia, the main environmental cue that drives the regular dynamics of the torpor/activity phases is the nest temperature, with optimal physiological conditions ranging between 2° and 3°C. Awakening phases are rapid, body temperature rising 32°-36°C within a few hours. Chipmunks may remain active for periods ranging from half a day up to 3-5 days, before dropping again into a hypothermic state in roughly half a day. Torpor duration never exceeds 9 consecutive days, and is a function of nest temperature. In extreme conditions, body mass continuously decreases until the end of the hibernation period, with 20-25% of initial weight being lost. In France, there are almost no differences between body mass at the beginning and the end of the hibernation period, except in years when food storage cannot be fully completed (J.-L. Chapuis, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished). At the end of winter (February-March in France; April in Yakutia and Hokkaido), chipmunks dig a new gallery and emerge. In Japan, the duration of hibernation for adults is shorter in males (180 ± 5 days, n = 20) than females (211 ± 4 days, n = 33). Males may emerge earlier from hibernation than females in order to increase their chance of mating (Kawamichi & Kawamichi, 1993). In France and in Japan, mortality during hibernation is usually low, with exceptions in some years.
 
Survival:
 
Little information on the survival of T. sibiricus in native populations is available. In Japan, Kawamichi and Kawamichi (1993) found a low winter mortality (4 to 6% according to age and sex), and during the summer, males have a mortality rate of 51% and females 49%.
 
In the Forest of Sénart, France, (Marmet, 2008), winter and summer survival of adults and young were estimated between 2003 and 2007 by capture-mark-recapture. Generally, survival differed from year to year, and was higher for adults (between 52 ± 5 % and 86 ± 3 %) than for young of the spring cohort (40 ± 7 – 77 ± 4 %) and higher for females than for males. In winter, survival rates of adults are high and relatively stable between years and sexes (91 ± 4 and 97 ± 1 %), close to those found in Japan. For young of the summer cohort, the survival rates differed according to sex, but not to year (males: 69±4 %; females: 84±2 %). Collectively, these results highlighted a higher survival of adults compared to young, and a better survival of females compared to males, especially in young born in summer. However, during the winter of 2008-2009, a high mortality was observed, with 60-70% of chipmunks dying, which could be mainly related to a lack of food resources in the preceding autumn (J.-L. Chapuis, B. Pisanu -- both Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France -- unpublished). A similar crash seems to have also been observed in the Forest of Soignes (Belgium) during the winter of 1991/1992 (C.R. Joiris, Free University of Brussels, Belgium, personal communication, 2009).
 
The longevity of T. sibiricus is not known in nature. However, in the Forest of Sénart, life-span is on average 2-3 years, but some individuals more than six years old have been captured. The maximum recorded longevity in capticity in Japan was 8.5 years for a male and 12.5 years for a female (M. Kawamichi, Kansai Wildlife Research Association, Japan, personal communication, 2010).
 
Nutrition
 
In Russia (Ognev, 1940; Telegin, 1980; Vinokurov and Solomonova, 2002), the diet includes both plant and animal matter. In spring T. sibiricus prefers green parts of plants, buds and sporangia, and in summer berries, pine nuts, seeds and mushrooms. Animal food includes insects, snails, and eggs and nestlings of passerines. The species is known as a pest of cereal crops.
 
In Japan (Kawamichi, 1980), T. sibiricus ate a wide variety of plants (36 species) and consumed seeds (26 species), buds and leaves (24 species), reproductive organs (13 species), sap (6 species) and fleshy fruits (3 species). Kawamichi emphasized the role of nuts, including acorns in the autumn and spring, cherries, and seeds of various herbs in summer. Concerning the animal part of the diet, insects were dominant (94% of items consumed) including Lepidoptera (caterpillars), beetles and some species of Hymenoptera and Hemiptera. Secondarily, the chipmunks ate molluscs (snails), and exceptionally eggs or chicks.
 
In France (Bouiges, 2008), acorns of oaks (Quercus spp.) and seeds of hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) played an important role in the diet in autumn and spring (acorns from the previous autumn, and germination of hornbeam). Hazelnuts and fruits of lime (Tilia platyphyllos) were locally used. In summer, the diet was mainly made up of cherries and especially almonds, along with herb seeds and insects, including Lepidoptera (caterpillars), beetles and various species of other insect orders. Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) were also frequently consumed in August-September. Chipmunks rarely ingested snails (Cepaea nemoralis) and very occasionally mushrooms and eggs of passerines.
 
Environmental requirements
 
T. sibiricus lives in a wide range of environmental conditions. Its natural range is between 29°N and 69°N, rising together with forest vegetation from sea level to the subalpine zone of high mountain ranges (about 3000 metres in the Altai Mountains). Temperatures experienced range from -65°C to more than 30°C. T. sibiricus escapes the rigours of winter by hibernating. In summer, when temperatures are high, it can also slow down its activity and remain in its burrow (Chapuis, 2005). The main factor in development of its populations is food resources, and especially the availability of fruits or seeds that can be stored.

 

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all yearToleratedWarm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winterPreferredWarm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Df - Continental climate, wet all yearPreferredContinental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winterPreferredContinental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30-69

Air Temperature

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ParameterLower limitUpper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)-65
Mean annual temperature (ºC)-1612
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)1530
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)-513

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration312number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall1501370mm; lower/upper limits

Rain Regime

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Summer
Uniform
Winter

Natural Enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Accipiter gentilisPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Aonchotheca annulosaParasiteAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Borrelia burgdorferiPathogenAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Brevistriata skrjabiniParasiteAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Bubo buboPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Buteo buteoPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Ceratophyllus sciurorumParasiteAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Ceratophyllus tamiasParasiteAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Circus macrourusPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Enderleinellus tamiasisParasiteAdults/Juvenilesto species
Falco tinnunculusPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Felis bengalensisPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Felis silvestrisPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Ixodes persulcatusParasiteAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Ixodes ricinusParasiteAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Lynx lynxPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Martes martesPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Martes zibellinaPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Milvus migransPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Mustela nivalisPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Mustela sibiricaPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Neovison visonPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Nyctereutes procyonoidesPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Strongyloides callosciureusParasiteAdults/Juvenilesnot specific
Syphabulea maseriParasiteAdults/Juvenilesto species
Ursus arctosPredatorAdults/Juvenilesnot specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Parasites:

Very little information exists on the macroparasite fauna of T. sibiricus in its native range. It is known to host only one sucking louse, Enderleinellus tamiasis (see Durden & Musser, 1994a, b), and may be a primary host for the flea Ceratophyllus tamias along with occasional or accidental infestation by about 20 taxa of fleas (Beaucournu et al., 2008; Pisanu et al., 2008). Very few gamasoid mites have been collected in Russia (Elshanskaya and Popov, 1972). T. sibiricus also hosts Ixodes persulcatus in China (Ai et al., 1991). Concerning intestinal worms, Zhaltsanova and Shalaeva (1990) analyzed 20 T. sibiricus from Western Zabaikalie, Russia, and found seven accidentally acquired taxa (3 cestodes and 4 nematodes), all mainly sourced from muroid rodents inhabiting the same area and needing an invertebrate as an obligatory intermediate host. There are only two known intestinal nematodes: Brevistriata skrjabini found in Japan and Korea, and Syphabulea maseri in Yakutia (Durette-Desset, 1970; Hugot, 1988; Asakawa, 2005). T. sibiricus is also known as a reservoir for the Lyme borreliosis agent, Borrelia burgdorferi s.l., in China (Ai et al., 1991; Huang et al., 2006).
 
In its introduced range, T. sibiricus has been found to host 4 imported macroparasite species from Korea: a sucking louse, E. tamiasis; two nematodes, B. skrjabini and Strongyloides callosciureus; and a Listrophorid mite. It has newly acquired three species: the hard tick Ixodes ricinus, the flea Ceratophyllus sciurorum, and the nematode Aonchotheca annulosa (Vourc’h et al., 2007; Beaucournu et al., 2008; Pisanu et al., 2007; 2008; 2009; Boyer et al. 2010). It has been found to be occasionally and accidentally infected by 11 taxa: three hard ticks (Ixodes acuminatus, I. trianguliceps and Dermacentor reticulatus), four fleas (Megabothris turbidus, Typhloceras poppei, Ctenophtalmus impavidus and C. congener), and 4 unidentified taxa of nematodes (Ascaroidea, Trichostrongyloidea, Oxyuroidea and Trichuroidea).
 
No protozoan parasites have been found in the blood, but at least 2 species of unidentified coccidia (Eimeriidae) have been found in the faeces (I. Landau, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, personal communication, 2009). T. sibiricus is a reservoir for the Lyme borreliosis agent Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. in France (Vourc’h et al., 2007; Marsot et al., Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Clermont-Ferrand, France, unpublished), including infection by B. burgdorferi s.s., B. afzellii and B. garinii. Ongoing studies pursue the search for microparasitic infections involving bacteria (Bartonella) and viruses (Hantaviruses). T. sibiricus imported as pets from China to Japan host several microparasites: tissue protozoa (Cryptosporidium spp., Matsui et al., 2000; Hurková et al., 2003) and bacteria (Bartonella spp., Inoue et al., 2009).
 
Predators:
 
In Russia, many predatory birds and mammals are natural enemies of T. sibiricus (Ognev, 1940; Telegin, 1980; Ohdachi et al., 2009). The birds of prey concerned are Buteo buteo, Milvus migrans, Accipiter gentilis, Circus macrourus, Falco tinnunculus and Bubo bubo. The main mammalian predators are mustelids, mainly the sable (Martes zibellina) and the Siberian weasel (Mustela sibirica), and to a lesser extent the pine marten (Martes martes) and the introduced American mink (Neovison vison). Other occasional predators are the raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), the leopard cat (Felis bengalensis, also known as Prionailurus bengalensis), the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and the Amur ratsnake (Elaphe schrenckii). The domestic cat (Felis silvestris) can noticeably decrease the number of T. sibiricus in urban areas. The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is an important natural enemy, as it digs out chipmunks’ shelters and eats their contents, which may include the chipmunk itself.
 
In Japan (Hokkaido; see Murakami, 2003), the Japanese sable (Martes zibellina) was found to be an important predator of T. sibiricus. Snakes may be natural predators of the species (Kobayashi, 2000 and references therein) and one has been observed to eat young from the nest cavity (M. Kawamichi, Kansai Wildlife Research Association, Japan, personal communication, 2010).
 
In France and more generally in Europe, the main predators are diurnal raptors such as the common buzzard (B. buteo), but also some carnivores such as the least weasel (Mustela nivalis), and the red fox (V. vulpes). Occasionally near habitations, the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) may prey on chipmunks (G. Spagnol, Office National des Forêts, Etiolles, France, personal communication, 2009). The domestic cat (F. silvestris) is also an important predator in urban parks and suburban forests, limiting the establishment of new populations.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural dispersal

T. sibiricus is characterized by a low ability to disperse by itself. Adults are highly philopatric, and juvenile dispersal seems to consist mainly of short distance movements. Moreover, most introduced populations are located in isolated woody areas or in urban parks without any potential for natural dispersal. The species also has difficulty passing natural or artificial barriers, such as meadows or roads (Chapuis, 2005; Verbeylen and Van den Broeke, 2003).
 
In Japan (Kawamichi, 1996), the home range of T. sibiricus evaluated from direct observation was less than 1 ha in forests or dense bushy areas, with high overlap between sexes. In the Forest of Sénart, France (Marmet et al., 2009), home ranges were calculated by capture-mark-recapture. Adult males had an average annual home range of 1.9 ± 0.3 ha (n=13), and adult females 0.7 ± 0.1 ha (n=26). Ranges showed high overlap -- overlap between annual home ranges of resident chipmunks was 84 ± 5 % (n=11).
 
In the Forest of Sénart, adult T. sibiricus exhibited strong multiyear site fidelity; the mean distance between annual trapping centres of individuals caught over 2 consecutive years was small (26 ± 2 m, n = 82; Marmet et al., 2009).
 
The distance of dispersal of the young differed by sex, young females more frequently settling near their birth burrow than young males. About 70% of individuals (n = 132) moved to a distance less than 100m from their breeding site, and males dispersed significantly further than females, but never more than 500 m (Marmet, 2008; J. Marmet et al., Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished). These observations are in accordance with the low speed of colonization evaluated in different forest localities in France, about 250m/yr (Chapuis, 2005).
 
Accidental Introduction
 
Although intentional introduction (see below) is more significant, the second main cause of the presence of the species in the wild is accidental escape of individuals from pet shop stocks, breeding farms, or zoos.
 
Intentional introduction
 
At the international level, the main flow of introduction is the trade between Asia (more specifically South Korea) and Europe (see History of Introduction section). The main risk of introduction of the species in European countries lies in intentional release by owners or as ornamental animals.

 

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens/ zoosOne population escaped from a zoo in The NetherandsYesDijkstra & Dekker, 2008
Breeding/ propagationOne population escaped from breeding farm in FranceYesJaouen & Léger, 2005
Intentional releaseCause of the majority of introduced populations in EuropeYesChapuis, 2005
Ornamental purposesCause of at least one population in BelgiumYesVerbeylen, 2002; Verbeylen, 2003
Pet/aquarium tradeMost introduced populations in Europe are due to introductions by private ownersYesArmori & Gippoliti, 1995; Bertolino & Genovesi, 2005; de Keyser, 1983; Fernandez, 1995; Geinitz, 1980; Marmet & Chapuis, 2007; Münch, 2005; Verbeylen & Broeke, 2003

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Human healthNegative

Economic Impact

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Although T. sibiricus can feed on crops, causing non-negligible losses (Ognev, 1940), there is no recorded economic impact, except concerning human health – the species may play a role in increasing risk of infection with Lyme borreliosis, the most prevalent vector-borne disease in the Northern hemisphere (Smith et al., 2006; CDC, 2007).

Environmental Impact

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In Europe, T. sibiricus does not seem to modify its habitats, and it must have a limited impact.

Impact: Biodiversity

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The single study that aimed to evaluate the impact of T. sibiricus on its environment is presented in Riegel et al. (2000), which deals with its potential role in the alteration of bird communities in the Forest of Soignes (Belgium). According to these authors, it does not seem to threaten birds.

Studies in the Forest of Sénart (France) aim to analyze the relationships between T. sibiricus and the only native sciurid that inhabits boreal forests in Europe, the red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris, by comparing the abundance of S. vulgaris in two parts of the forest, one inhabited by chipmunks for almost 40 years, and the other where chipmunks have recently become established (2007). Preliminary results (Dozières, 2008) suggest that S. vulgaris is more abundant in the absence of chipmunks, but the densities estimated for red squirrels in this forest are naturally very low.
 
In its native range, Forstmeier and Weiss (2004) considered T. sibiricus to be an important predator of the dusky warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus) and suspected it to be responsible for half the breeding failures of this species in their study.

Social Impact

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Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is a group of bacteria (part of the Spirochaetae) including 6 pathogenic strains responsible for Lyme borreliosis (LB). This disease is transmitted to humans in Asia by the hard tick Ixodes persulcatus (Ai et al., 1991) and in Europe by I. ricinus (Piesman and Gern, 2004). Numerous vertebrate species have been described as reservoir hosts for this disease, including small rodents (and birds), such as T. sibiricus in its native range (China: Huang et al., 2006).

In France (Forest of Sénart), Vourc’h et al. (2007) suggested that T. sibiricus was an important reservoir host for LB, and hosted significantly higher I. ricinus burdens compared to native rodents (approximately 60 times more larvae than bank voles, Clethrionomys glareolus: Pisanu et al., 2010).
 
Based on these statements, several studies have been conducted that aimed to (1) demonstrate the reservoir competence of T. sibiricus, (2) identify the associated strains of B. burgdorferi, and (3) analyze the consequences of the introduction of T. sibiricus for the dynamics of the circulation of LB in sylvatic vertebrate host communities. Preliminary results (Dozières, 2008; Marsot, 2008; Sigaud, 2009; Unpublished data: J.-L. Chapuis (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France), M. Cornet (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France), E. Ferquel (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France), P.-Y. Henry (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France), G. Vourc’h (Institut national de la recherche agronomique, Clermont-Ferrand, France)):
  1. confirmed that T. sibiricus is an important host for the pathogenic agents of LB (prevalence of infection in 2007: 61%; n = 98) compared to the known native reservoir hosts inhabiting the same areas (prevalence 21% in bank voles, C. glareolus, n = 355; 11 % in wood mice, Apodemus sylvaticus, n = 75);
  2. showed that T. sibiricus mainly hosted B. afzelii, the commonest strain encountered in small rodents, and the generalist strain B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, which cause severe cutaneous symptoms (B. afzelii) and arthritis (B. burgdorferi sensu stricto);
  3. showed a significant increase in prevalence of B. burgdorferi sensu lato in sympatric native rodents at sites where T. sibiricus was present compared to sites where it was not.

Collectively, these studies will allow evaluation of the potential increased risk of LB in humans associated with the presence of T. sibiricus

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms

  • Pest and disease transmission

Impact outcomes

  • Negatively impacts human health

Invasiveness

  • Abundant in its native range
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Fast growing
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high genetic variability
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Long lived
  • Proved invasive outside its native range

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Difficult/costly to control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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A large number of T. sibiricus were imported from South Korea to Europe between the 1960s and the early 1980s for the pet trade (S.H. Han, Institute of Biological Resources, Ministry of Environment, South Korea, personal communication, 2009; see History of introduction section), and breeding farms then developed in Europe (Loiselay, 2005). There is no available information on the number and the distribution of these farms.

Uses List

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General

  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Pet/aquarium trade

Materials

  • Skins/leather/fur

Detection and Inspection

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T. sibiricus is not shy and is easily approached, and thus detected. Characteristic vocalizations can also be identified in the field, especially when females are in oestrus to attract males, and during the emergence of young as an alert for the presence of a predator. The species is easily recognizable, specifically by its dorsal dark-white stripes. Until recently it was thought that there were no other morphologically similar rodent species in Europe, but the population at Wuppertal in Germany has recently been identified as the Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), native to North America. Pet sellers, and even some veterinarians, often confuse the two species; however, a specialist or a trained observer can easily distinguish them by the arrangement of the dorsal stripes of the coat.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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There are no similar species in the natural range. In Europe, T. sibiricus can hardly be confused with any native rodent. However, it closely resembles the eastern chipmunk, Tamias striatus, a species native to North America, in size, general appearance, biology and ecology. In pet shops in France, the Siberian chipmunk is often called Tamias striatus, which is an important source of confusion, even in some publications. However, we can not exclude the real introduction of T. striatus in Europe (see the mention of the population at Wuppertal in Germany in the History of Introduction section). It is possible to differentiate the species by the arrangement of the dorsal black and white stripes. In cases of joint introduction, they could easily be confused in the field.

Prevention and Control

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Since the 1960s, T. sibiricus has been sold in pet shops in Europe. Several countries, including France (M. Perret, Ministère en charge de l’Ecologie, Paris, France, personal communication, 2009) and Belgium (J. Stuyck, Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Brussels, Belgium, personal communication, 2009), have recently begun to consider measures to prohibit its sale in pet shops.

So far, no control operations have been conducted on T. sibiricus populations in Europe. Such control is, however, planned in Geneva (Switzerland) if an extension of the current distribution of the species is detected (G. Dändliker, Direction Générale de la Nature et du Paysage, Geneva, Switzerland, personal communication, 2009). In France, control operations could be considered if it is confirmed that the species locally plays an important role in the dynamics of Lyme disease with associated increased risks for human health (see Social Impact section).
 
Prevention
 
SPS measures
In order to limit establishment of new T. sibiricus populations, several European countries where the species is well established (Belgium, France) recently considered prohibiting the sale of the species in pet shops. However, it is not envisaged that keeping it will be prohibited. As trade through the World Wide Web is becoming increasingly dominant, such measures will not suffice to impede new establishments of the species, but might only reduce their frequency. In France, T. sibiricus has no legal mention, and is thus devoid of SPS measures, except sanitary rules that must be legally applied in the trade of pet animals.
 
Early warning systems
To the authors’ knowledge, there is no early warning system in Europe to prevent or detect potential introduction or establishment of T. sibiricus. In countries where a large number of the public are aware of the potential negative consequences of its introduction, associations of naturalists, and governmental agencies (Belgium: INBO; France: ONF, ONCFS…) have been helpful in detecting the presence of newly released individuals or establishing populations.
 
Public awareness
In the European countries where T. sibiricus is present, and specifically in France, various media (television, radio, and papers) are used by scientists to alert the public about the potential negative consequences of the introduction of this species.
 
Eradication
To date, no T. sibiricus population has been intentionally eradicated in Europe, although it could easily done in urban parks or small wooded areas. In Germany (Munster), a population was unintentionally eliminated following a control operation targeting the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) (P. Boye, Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn, Germany, personal communication, 2009).
 
Control
 
As far as the authors are aware, no control practices for T. sibiricus have been developed in Europe. In Siberia, it was hunted for its fur.
 
Physical/mechanical control
This would be possible by trapping or shooting
 
Chemical control
This would be possible using anticoagulant poison.
 
Monitoring and surveillance (incl. remote sensing)
This is possible by estimating abundance from line-transect counts (A. Dozières et al., Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, unpublished).
 

 

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Research needs include the following:

  • Determining taxonomic relationships between Korean, Chinese and northern groups of T. sibiricus in the native range, checking the validity of species identification of chipmunks in Europe, and looking for the origin of introduced animals.
  • Analyzing the role of T. sibiricus as a reservoir of vector-borne diseases, and searching for parasites introduced with it.
  • Developing research on the biology of the species in both its native and introduced ranges.
  • Studying its impact on biodiversity (relationships with Sciurus vulgaris, bird communities).

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
DAISIE Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europehttp://www.europe-aliens.org/index.jsp
Inventaire national du patrimoine naturel (INPN)http://inpn.mnhn.fr/Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France

Organisations

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France: Muséum National d'histoire Naturelle (MNHN), 57 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, http://mnhn.fr/

Russian Federation: Zoological Museum of Moscow State University - (ZMMU), UI. Bol'shaya Nikitskaya 6, Moscow, http://zmmu.msu.ru/

Contributors

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26/11/09 Original text by:

Jean-Louis Chapuis, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7204 MNHN-CNRS-P6, Conservation des espèces, 61 rue Buffon, CP n°53, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France

Ekaterina Obolenskaya, Div. Evol. Morphology, Zool. Museum of Moscow University, Ul. Bol'shaya Nikitskaya 6, Moscow 125009, Russia

Benoit Pisanu, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7204 MNHN-CNRS-P6, Conservation des espèces, 61 rue Buffon, CP n°53, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France

Andrey Lissovsky, Div. Evol. Morphology, Zool. Museum of Moscow University, Ul. Bol'shaya Nikitskaya 6, Moscow 125009, Russia

Distribution Maps

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Distribution map Belgium: Localised, introduced
de Keyser, 1983; Verbeylen & Broeke, 2003; Verbeylen, 2002Switzerland: Localised, introduced
Fernandez, 1995China
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryChina
See regional map for distribution within the countryGermany: Localised, introduced
Geinitz, 1980France: Localised, introduced, invasive
Chapuis, 2005; Krapp, 1978; Marmet & Chapuis, 2007Italy: Localised, introduced
Armori & Gippoliti, 1995; Bertolino & Genovesi, 2005Japan
See regional map for distribution within the countryJapan
See regional map for distribution within the countryKorea, DPR: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008Korea, Republic of: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008Kazakhstan: Localised, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Sludskii, 1977Kazakhstan: Localised, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Sludskii, 1977Mongolia: Localised, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Bannikov, 1954Netherlands: Localised, introduced
Dijkstra & Dekker, 2008Russian Federation
See regional map for distribution within the countryRussian Federation
See regional map for distribution within the countryRussian Federation
See regional map for distribution within the countryRussian Federation
See regional map for distribution within the countryRussian Federation
See regional map for distribution within the country
  • = Present, no further details
  • = Evidence of pathogen
  • = Widespread
  • = Last reported
  • = Localised
  • = Presence unconfirmed
  • = Confined and subject to quarantine
  • = See regional map for distribution within the country
  • = Occasional or few reports
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Distribution map (asia) Beijing: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Gansu: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Hebei: Widespread, native, not invasive
Zhang, 1997Heilongjiang: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Henan: Widespread, native, not invasive
Zhang, 1997Jilin: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Liaoning: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Nei Menggu: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Ningxia: Widespread, native, not invasive
Zhang, 1997Qinghai: Widespread, native, not invasive
Zhang, 1997Sichuan: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Shanxi: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Shaanxi: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Tianjin: Localised, native, not invasive
Zhang, 1997Xinjiang: Localised, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Zhang, 1997Hokkaido: Present, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Ohdachi et al., 2009Honshu: Present, introduced
Oshida & Yanagawa, 2002Korea, DPR: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008Korea, Republic of: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008Kazakhstan: Localised, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Sludskii, 1977Mongolia: Localised, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Bannikov, 1954
Distribution map (europe) Belgium: Localised, introduced
de Keyser, 1983; Verbeylen & Broeke, 2003; Verbeylen, 2002Switzerland: Localised, introduced
Fernandez, 1995Germany: Localised, introduced
Geinitz, 1980France: Localised, introduced, invasive
Chapuis, 2005; Krapp, 1978; Marmet & Chapuis, 2007Italy: Localised, introduced
Armori & Gippoliti, 1995; Bertolino & Genovesi, 2005Kazakhstan: Localised, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Sludskii, 1977Netherlands: Localised, introduced
Dijkstra & Dekker, 2008Central Russia: Present, few occurrences, introduced, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008Eastern Siberia: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Ognev, 1940Russian Far East: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Chernyavskiy, 1984; Ognev, 1940; Yudin et al., 1976Northern Russia: Localised, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Formozov, 1928; Ognev, 1940Western Siberia: Widespread, native, not invasive
Obolenskaya, 2008; Ognev, 1940; Telegin, 1980
Distribution map (africa)
Distribution map (north america)
Distribution map (central america)
Distribution map (south america)
Distribution map (pacific)