Temporal range: Early Miocene to Recent
Least chipmunk
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Sciuromorpha
Family: Sciuridae
Tribe: Marmotini
Subtribe: Tamiina
Genus: Tamias
Illiger, 1811

3, see text

Chipmunks are small striped squirrels native to North America and Asia. They are usually classed either as a single genus with three subgenera, or as three genera.


Etymology and taxonomy

Chipmunks are usually classified either as a single genus, Tamias, or as three genera: Tamias, containing the eastern chipmunk; Eutamias, containing the Siberian chipmunk; and Neotamias, containing the 23 remaining, mostly western, species. These classifications are arbitrary, and most taxonomies[citation needed] over the twentieth century have placed the chipmunks in a single genus. However, studies of mitochondrial DNA show that each of the three chipmunk groups is about as distinct genetically as genera such as Marmota and Spermophilus.[1][2][3][4]

Tamias is Greek for "storer," a reference to the animals' habit of collecting and storing food for winter use.[5]

The common name originally may have been spelled "chitmunk" (from the Odawa word jidmoonh, meaning "red squirrel"; cf. Ojibwe, ajidamoo). The earliest form cited in the Oxford English Dictionary (from 1842) is "chipmonk", but "chipmunk" appears in several books from the 1820s and 1830s.[6] Other early forms include "chipmuck" and "chipminck", and in the 1830s they were also referred to as "chip squirrels," possibly in reference to the sound they make. They are also called "striped squirrels", "chippers", "munks", "timber tigers", or "ground squirrels", though the name "ground squirrel" usually refers to other squirrels, such as those of the genus Spermophilus.


Chipmunks have an omnivorous diet consisting of grain, nuts, fruit, berries, birds' eggs, small frogs, fungi, worms, insects and on occasions small mammals like young mice.[7][8] At the beginning of autumn, many species of chipmunk begin to stockpile these goods in their burrows, for winter. Other species make multiple small caches of food. These two kinds of behavior are called larder hoarding and scatter hoarding. Larder hoarders usually live in their nests until spring. Cheek pouches allow chipmunks to carry multiple food items to their burrows for either storage or consumption.[9]

Ecology and life history

Eastern chipmunks mate in early spring and again in early summer, producing litters of four or five young twice each year.[7] Western chipmunks only breed once a year. The young emerge from the burrow after about six weeks and strike out on their own within the next two weeks.[10]

These small mammals fulfill several important functions in forest ecosystems. Their activities harvesting and hoarding tree seeds play a crucial role in seedling establishment. They consume many different kinds of fungi, including those involved in symbiotic mycorrhizal associations with trees, and are an important vector for dispersal of the spores of subterranean sporocarps (truffles) which have co-evolved with these and other mycophagous mammals and thus lost the ability to disperse their spores through the air.[11]

Chipmunks construct expansive burrows which can be more than 3.5 m in length with several well-concealed entrances. The sleeping quarters are kept extremely clean as shells and feces are stored in refuse tunnels.

Chipmunks play an important role as prey for various predatory mammals and birds, but are also opportunistic predators themselves, particularly with regard to bird eggs and nestlings. In Oregon, mountain bluebirds (Siala currucoides) have been observed energetically mobbing chipmunks that they see near their nest trees.[citation needed]

Chipmunks typically live about three years, although have been observed living to nine years in captivity. [12]

Chipmunks in captivity are said to sleep for an average of about 15 hours a day. It is thought that mammals which can sleep in hiding, such as rodents and bats, tend to sleep longer than those that must remain on alert.[13]


Subgenus Tamias[14]

Subgenus Eutamias

Subgenus Neotamias


  • Tamias aristus

See also


  1. ^ Wilson, D. E.; D. M. Reeder (2005). "Mammal Species of the World (MSW)". Archived from the original on 2007-06-23. Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  2. ^ Piaggio, A. J. and Spicer, G. S. 2001. Molecular phylogeny of the chipmunks inferred from mitochondrial cytochrome b and cytochrome oxidase II gene sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 20: 335–350.
  3. ^ Piaggio, Antoinette J.; Spicer, Greg S. (2000). "Molecular Phylogeny of the Chipmunk Genus Tamias Based on the Mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit II Gene". Journal of Mammalian Evolution 7 (3). 
  4. ^ Musser, G. G.; Durden, L. A.; Holden, M. E.; and Light, J. E. (2010) "Systematic review of endemic Sulawesi squirrels (Rodentia, Sciuridae), with descriptions of new species of associated sucking lice (Insecta, Anoplura), and phylogenetic and zoogeographic assessments of sciurid lice." Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 339.
  5. ^ John O. Whitaker, Jr.; Robert Elman (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals (2nd edition ed.). New York: Knopf. p. 370. ISBN 0-394-50762-2. 
  6. ^ Google Books
  7. ^ a b Hazard, Evan B. (1982). The Mammals of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 52–54. ISBN 0-8166-0952-7.,M1. 
  8. ^ Eastern Chipmunk - Tamias striatus - NatureWorks
  9. ^ West Virginia Wildlife Magazine: Wildlife Diversity Notebook. Eastern chipmunk
  10. ^ Schwartz, Charles Walsh; Elizabeth Reeder Schwartz, Jerry J. Conley (2001). The Wild Mammals of Missouri. University of Missouri Press. pp. 135–140. ISBN 0-8262-1359-6.,M1. 
  11. ^ Apostol, Dean; Marcia Sinclair (2006). Restoring the Pacific Northwest: The Art and Science of Ecological Restoration in Cascadia. Island Press. p. 112. ISBN 1-55963-078-7. 
  12. ^ Information on Chipmunks
  13. ^ "40 Winks?" Jennifer S. Holland, National Geographic Vol. 220, No. 1. July 2011.
  14. ^ Tamias, Mammal Species of the World, 3rd ed.

Further reading

  • Baack, Jessica K. and Paul V. Switzer. "Alarm Calls Affect Foraging Behavior in Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias Striatus, Rodentia: Sciuridae)." Ethology. Vol. 106. Dec. 2003. 1057–1066.
  • Gordon, Kenneth Llewellyn. The Natural History and Behavior of the Western Chipmunk and the Mantled Ground Squirrel. Oregon: 1943
  • Nichols, John D. and Earl Nyholm (1995). A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chipmunk — Chartplatzierungen (vorläufig) Vorlage:Infobox Chartplatzierungen/Wartung/vorläufige Chartplatzierung Erklärung der Daten Alben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chipmunk — Chip munk , n. [Indian name.] (Zo[ o]l.) A squirrel like animal of the genus {Tamias}, sometimes called the {striped squirrel}, {chipping squirrel}, {ground squirrel}, {hackee}. The common species of the United States is the {Tamias striatus}.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chipmunk — ● chipmunk nom masculin Écureuil terrestre d Amérique du Nord, au pelage rayé dorsalement en longueur …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • chipmunk — 1829 (also chitmunk, 1832), from Algonquian, probably Ojibwa ajidamoo (in the Ottawa dialect ajidamoonh) red squirrel, lit. one who descends trees headlong (containing ajid upside down ), probably influenced by English CHIP (Cf. chip) and MINK… …   Etymology dictionary

  • chipmunk — ► NOUN ▪ a burrowing ground squirrel with light and dark stripes running down the body. ORIGIN Ojibwa (an American Indian language) …   English terms dictionary

  • chipmunk — [chip′muŋk΄] n. [of Algonquian orig.] any of two genera (Eutamias and Tamias) of small North American squirrels having striped markings on the head and back and living mainly on the ground …   English World dictionary

  • chipmunk — /chip mungk/, n. any of several small, striped, terrestrial squirrels of the genera Tamias, of North America, and Eutamia, of Asia and North America, esp. T. striatus, of eastern North America. [1825 35, Amer.; assimilated var. of earlier… …   Universalium

  • Chipmunk —  Pour l article sur le rongeur Chipmunk, voir Tamia.  Chipmunk est un moteur physique 2D libre. Son nom est la traduction anglaise du Tamia. Cette bibliothèque est adaptée aux langages C, C++, Ruby. Des tierces personnes l ont également …   Wikipédia en Français

  • chipmunk — UK [ˈtʃɪpˌmʌŋk] / US noun [countable] Word forms chipmunk : singular chipmunk plural chipmunks a small furry Asian and North American animal with a long tail and bands of darker colour on its back …   English dictionary

  • chipmunk — noun Chipmunk is used before these nouns: ↑cheek …   Collocations dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”