Swinhoe's striped squirrels (Tamiops swinhoei) are widely distributed in southeast Asia and most common throughout China, occurring in central and southern China and on Hainan Island. They are also common in northern Myanmar, northern Vietnam, and may also occur in Laos. (Abramov, et al., 2009; Duckworth and Lunde, 2008; Ren, et al., 2004)
Tamiops swinhoei is found primarily in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, but also occurs in temperate forests and residential gardens. It typically inhabits mountainous areas, ranging in elevation from 1,000 to 3,900 m above sea level. (Abramov, et al., 2009; Chen, 2009; Duckworth and Lunde, 2008; Li, et al., 2006; Osgood, 1941; Ren, et al., 2004)
Tamiops swinhoei is small bodied, with characteristic light yellow stripes extending from nose to neck on both sides of the body. It also has characterisic white tufts of hair at the posterior tips of the ears. Cinnamon and yellow stripes run the length of the dorsum, extending from the caudal portion of the torso to the base of the tail. No data exists on the average size and weight of this species, though it appears to be larger than other members of Tamiops. In addition to having denser fur, which may help insulate it at higher elevations, dorsal stripes appear to be less brilliant than those seen in closely related species and stop at the shoulders rather than connecting with the cheek stripes. Females have longer tails than males by about 1.8%, which is typical of arboreal species. (Hayssen, 2008a; Hayssen, 2008b; Li, et al., 2006; Ren, et al., 2004)
There is no information available concerning the mating systems of Tamiops swinhoei have not been studied; however, most species in the family Sciuridae are polygynous, and characterized by intense competition among males for access to the estrous female. (Tamura, 1993)
There is no information on the average lifespan of Tamiops swinhoei.
Tamiops swinhoei is diurnal and arboreal. It nests, forages and mates in the canopy and possesses strong adaptations for arboreal locomotion. It is typically social, but there is no evidence of organized social hierarchies. It primarily forages during the day, and like many seed eating mammal and bird species, creates food caches. Although little is know of the general behavior of T. swinhoei specifically, four primary behaviors have been observed during conspecific encounters of sciurids: chase, avoid, ignore, and follow. Chasing occurs primarily between adult males, whereas avoid and ignore are common between both genders and all age classes. Follow most often occurs between females and young or between males and females. (Hayssen, 2008a; Hayssen, 2008b; Tamura, 1993; Van der Meer, et al., 2008)
Tamiops swinhoei is herbivorous, and its diet consists primarily of seeds and plant parts. It is also considered a "ginger robber" and has been found foraging in blooming patches of tropical ginger, feeding only on the nectar. Like other sciurids, T. swinhoei creates food caches throughout its home range. (Ren, et al., 2004)
Predators and predation avoidance behavior have not been characterized for Tamiops swinhoei. It likely faces predation risk from the same predators faced by similar arboreal tree species occurring in Southeast Asia (e.g., canids, felids, snakes and raptors). (Tamura and Yong, 1993)
As seed predators, Tamiops swinhoei likely plays an important role in the distribution, abundance, and diversity of plant communities throughout its geographic range. As a "ginger robber", it may influence the reproductive success of wild tropical ginger. Ginger robbing can result in decreased seed and fruit production via damage to plant reproductive organs. However, these detrimental effects have not been described for tropical ginger plants as a result of the foraging behavior of T. swinhoei. (Ren, et al., 2004; Van der Meer, et al., 2008; Wells, et al., 2004; Wells, et al., 2007)
There are no known positive effects of Tamiops swinhoei> on humans. However, hunting of small mammals is common in Southeast Asia, and this species may function as a food source for humans throughout their geographic range. (Wells, et al., 2007)
There are no known adverse effects of Tamiops swinhoei on humans.
Tamiops swinhoei is classified as a species of least concern on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. The species is common throughout Southeast Asia; however, logging and rain forest destruction is common throughout this species geographic range, particularly on Hainan Island. (Wells, et al., 2007)
Janet Minton (author), Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Mark Jordan (editor), Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, John Berini (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
uses sound to communicate
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
an animal that mainly eats seeds
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
having more than one female as a mate at one time
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
places a food item in a special place to be eaten later. Also called "hoarding"
uses touch to communicate
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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