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Tamias minimus (*)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Cladus: Synapsida
Cladus: Eupelycosauria
Cladus: Sphenacodontia
Cladus: Sphenacodontoidea
Cladus: Therapsida
Cladus: Theriodontia
Subordo: Cynodontia
Infraordo: Eucynodontia
Cladus: Probainognathia
Cladus: Prozostrodontia
Cladus: Mammaliaformes
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Trechnotheria
Infraclassis: Zatheria
Supercohors: Theria
Cohors: Eutheria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Cladus: Boreoeutheria
Superordo: Euarchontoglires
Ordo: Rodentia
Subordo: Sciuromorpha

Familia: Sciuridae
Subfamilia: Xerinae
Tribus: Marmotini
Genus: Tamias
Species: Tamias minimus
Subspecies: T. m. atristriatus – T. m. borealis – T. m. cacodemus – T. m. caniceps – T. m. caryi – T. m. confinis – T. m. consobrinus – T. m. grisescens – T. m. hudsonius – T. m. minimus – T. m. neglectus – T. m. operarius – T. m. oreocetes – T. m. pallidus – T. m. pictus – T. m. scrutator – T. m. selkirki – T. m. silvaticus

Tamias striatus Bachman, 1839

Tamias minimus in Mammal Species of the World.
Wilson, Don E. & Reeder, DeeAnn M. (Editors) 2005. Mammal Species of the World – A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third edition. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4.


North American Mammals: Tamias minimus [1]

Vernacular names
English: Least Chipmunk
polski: Pręgowiec malutki

The least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus) is the smallest species of chipmunk[2] and the most widespread in North America.


It is the smallest species of chipmunk, measuring about 15.7–25 cm (6.2–9.8 in) in total length with a weight of 25–66 g (0.88–2.33 oz).[3] The body is gray to reddish-brown on the sides, and grayish white on the underparts. The back is marked with five dark brown to black stripes separated by four white or cream-colored stripes, all of which run from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail. Two light and two dark stripes mark the face, running from the tip of the nose to the ears. The bushy tail is orange-brown in color, and measures 10–11 cm (3.9–4.3 in) long.[4] In some areas, where range overlap with the yellow-pine chipmunk occurs, it may be difficult or impossible to distinguish the two species in the field; laboratory examination of skeletal structures may be required.[5]

As in other chipmunks, there are four toes on each of the forefeet and five on the hindfeet. Females have eight teats. The brain to body mass ratio for least chipmunks is lower than that for other species of chipmunk living in the same area, suggesting that they prefer less complex environments.[6]
Distribution and habitat

Least chipmunks are found through most of the western United States from northern New Mexico and western North and South Dakota to eastern California, Oregon and Washington, and throughout much of southern and western Canada from Yukon and southeastern British Columbia[7] to central Ontario, and into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and neighboring parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Throughout this range, as many as 21 subspecies have been identified.[4] Less arboreal than other chipmunks,[4] least chipmunks are commonly found in sagebrush habitats and coniferous woodland, and along rivers, but they also occur in alpine meadows, and on the edges of the northern tundra.[1]

Least chipmunks are diurnal and eat seeds, berries, nuts, fruits and insects. They mark areas depleted of suitable food with urine, and do not return to such patches afterwards.[8] Home ranges vary widely, and have been reported to vary from 0.1 ha (0.25 acres) in northern Michigan[4] to as much as 5.5 ha (14 acres) in Colorado.[9] Because of their small size, least chipmunks are generally subordinate to yellow-pine chipmunks, which are able to drive them away from food resources where food is plentiful. However, because they need to eat less food in order to survive, least chipmunks are more numerous where resources are scarce.[10] They are agile animals, and have been recorded running at speeds of up to 7.7 km/h (4.8 mph) in natural conditions.[11]

Predators include hawks, owls, and mustelids.

Least chipmunks spend the winter in burrows and also scatter-hoard food in numerous concealed pits beneath logs and similar cover. Burrows consist of a single chamber about 15 cm (5.9 in) across and tunnels 7.5 cm (3.0 in) in diameter, averaging 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in) in length. They have two to four entrances, often concealed by nearby rocks, and are typically about 18 cm (7.1 in) below the surface.[4] During the summer they may construct temporary nests in trees from leaves and grass,[12] or appropriate hollows made by woodpeckers.[4]

Least chipmunks do not hibernate, or put on excess fat in the fall. Instead, they survive the winter by entering torpor for long stretches of time, waking to eat food cached in the burrow. How much of each winter they spend below ground in this manner depends on the latitude, varying from late November to mid March in Michigan to mid October to late April in northern Manitoba.[4]

Females enter estrus within a week of emerging from their burrow in the spring, and mating typically takes place between March and May. Gestation lasts 28 to 30 days, with a single litter of three to seven young being born each year; females who lose their first litter soon after birth may, however, sometimes be able to breed again in the same year. The young are born hairless and blind, measuring about 5 cm (2.0 in) in length, and weighing 6 g (0.21 oz). They are able to stand and open their eyes at 27 days, and are weaned at 36 days. They are sexually mature at one year, but do not always breed until their second year. They can live for up to six years in captivity.[4]


Cassola, F. (2017) [errata version of 2016 assessment]. "Neotamias minimus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T42572A115190804. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T42572A22267269.en. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
William Henry Burt (1980). A Field Guide to the Mammals: North America North of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 110–. ISBN 0-395-91098-6.
Least chipmunk (Tamias minimus) Archived 2013-10-15 at the Wayback Machine, Arkive
Verts, B.J.; Carraway, L.N. (2001). "Tamias minimus" (PDF). Mammalian Species. 653: 1–10. doi:10.1644/1545-1410(2001)653<0001:tm>;2. S2CID 36836203. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-06.
Naughton, Donna (2012). The Natural History of Canadian Mammals. Canadian Museum of Nature and University of Toronto Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-4426-4483-0.
Budeau, D.A.; Verts, B.J. (1986). "Relative brain size and structural complexity of habitats of chipmunks". Journal of Mammalogy. 67 (3): 579–581. doi:10.2307/1381291. JSTOR 1381291.
Nagorsen, D.W. (2005). "Rodents and Lagomorphs of British Columbia". Royal BC Museum, Victoria, BC
Devenport L, et al. (1999). "The role of urine marking in the foraging behaviour of least chipmunks". Animal Behaviour. 57 (3): 557–563. doi:10.1006/anbe.1998.1026. PMID 10196045. S2CID 33186159.
Bergstrom, B.J. (1988). "Home ranges of three species of chipmunks (Tamias) as assessed by radiotelemetry and grid trapping". Journal of Mammalogy. 69 (1): 190–193. doi:10.2307/1381774. JSTOR 1381774.
Sheppard, D.H. (1971). "Competition between two chipmunk species (Eutamias)". Ecology. 52 (2): 320–329. doi:10.2307/1934591. JSTOR 1934591.
Smith, R.J. (1995). "Harvest rates and escape speeds in two coexisting species of montane ground squirrels". Journal of Mammalogy. 76 (1): 189–195. doi:10.2307/1382327. JSTOR 1382327.
Broadbrooks, H.E. (1974). "Tree nests of chipmunks with comments on associated behavior and ecology". Journal of Mammalogy. 55 (3): 630–639. doi:10.2307/1379551. JSTOR 1379551.

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