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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Observations: Little is known about the longevity of these animals, but one specimen lived 5.1 years in captivity and was about 6-7 years old when it was sent out (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Behavior

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Northern palm squirrels use sight, touch, smell, and acoustics to perceive their environment. They use sight, touch, and smell for finding food. Sounds and visual displays are used in intraspecific communication. Northern palm squirrels are known for their repetitive, shrill, bird-like calls. Use of scent marking or pheromones is not reported in the literature.

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Conservation Status

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Northern palm squirrels are listed by the IUCN Red List as Least Concern. This is likely due to their wide distribution and ability to easily adapt to disturbed habitats. There also seem to be large populations of northern palm squirrels in protected areas. Therefore, there currently seems to be little threat to this species.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Benefits

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Northern palm squirrels have a tendency to live on plantations and around farm lands, so they can be a pest when it comes to eating buds and seeds of food producing plants. They are also known to eat cocoa pods and can damage twigs of important plants.

Negative Impacts: crop pest

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Benefits

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Northern palm squirrels have a special liking for the nectar of silky oaks (Grevillea robusta) and while acquiring it become covered in the powdery pollen of these plants. They may play a role in the pollination of these trees, which are non-native in the range of northern palm squirrels. Also, they may play a role in the pollination and seed dispersal of plantation trees, where they are common. Northern palm squirrels could be hunted and used as a food source for humans if needed.

Positive Impacts: food ; pollinates crops

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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Nothing is known about the role that northern palm squirrels play in the ecosystem. However, they probably play an important role in the spread of seeds, they provide food for birds of prey, and they may pollinate some plants.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; pollinates

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Trophic Strategy

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Northern palm squirrels are herbivorous and omnivorous. They typically feed on a wide variety of foods including seeds, nuts, buds, young bark, leaves, insects, flowers, and grubs. They have also been known to eat baby birds. They feed both in trees and on the ground. They store food for later use.

Animal Foods: birds; insects

Plant Foods: leaves; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Distribution

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Northern palm squirrels are native to India, Iran, Nepal, and Pakistan, but are now also found in Afghanistan. They are widespread throughout these areas.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Introduced , Native ); oriental (Native )

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Habitat

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Northern palm squirrels are widespread and flexible in their habitat preferences. Typically living in elevations below 4,000 m, these animals have been found in grasslands, scrublands, plantations, and tropical to subtropical dry deciduous forests.

Range elevation: 0 to 4000 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest

Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban ; agricultural

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Life Expectancy

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Little is known about the maximum or expected lifespan of northern palm squirrels. However, one individual lived for nearly 5 years in captivity and was then released into the wild at the age of 6 to 7 years old.

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Morphology

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Adult weight is about 147 g. Body length ranges from 230 to 356 mm, including the tail. The tail alone makes up about half of the total body length. There is little known about the metabolic rate of northern palm squirrels. Some key physical features include the stripes on the back. There are typically 3 lightly colored stripes on the back. The top coat color ranges from grayish brown to almost black, while the head is usually grayish to reddish brown.

Average mass: 147.7 g.

Range length: 230 to 356 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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Nothing is known about predation on northern palm squirrels, but golden eagles and other raptors are found in the same region and are likely predators of these squirrels. Large snakes and other terrestrial predators may also prey on northern palm squirrels.

Known Predators:

  • golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos)
  • raptors (Falconiformes)

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Reproduction

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Northern palm squirrels are gregarious. Up to 10 animals have been seen in one tree at a time. Typically, multiple males fight over one female. The dominant male then mates with the female and leaves her within a couple of days. Breeding occurs several times a year, usually with different partners each time.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Northern palm squirrels are able to reproduce throughout most, if not all, of the year. Females have 2 to 3 litters yearly. Litter sizes range from 1 to 5, with 3 being the norm. Females have a gestation period of 40 to 45 days. Birth mass of northern palm squirrels is typically about 7 g. The mother will nurse her young for about 2 months. Males and females reach sexual maturity between 6 and 11 months of age. Males mature closer to about 10 months, while females tend to reach sexual maturity at around 7 to 8 months of age.

Breeding interval: Northern palm squirrels breed 2 to 3 times per year. Usually, matings are separated by 4 to 5 months.

Breeding season: Mating can occur throughout the entire year. However, March to April and July to September are the times when most breeding occurs.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 5.

Range gestation period: 40 to 45 days.

Average weaning age: 2 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 10 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous

Males do not help with the care of young and tend to leave the female 1 to 2 days after mating with her. Female invest heavily in young by building a large nest for them and nursing and protecting them for about 2 months.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Stalder, J. 2009. "Funambulus pennantii" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Funambulus_pennantii.html
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Janeen Stalder, Michigan State University
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Barbara Lundrigan, Michigan State University
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Tanya Dewey, Animal Diversity Web
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Northern palm squirrel

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 src=
A Five-striped palm squirrel refuses to leave her dead baby. She carried it in her mouth near Deva village in Anand, Gujarat.

The northern palm squirrel (Funambulus pennantii) also called the five-striped palm squirrel is a species of rodent in the family Sciuridae.[5] Some authorities recognise two subspecies, F. p. pennantii and F. p. argentescens. It is a semi-arboreal species found in tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forest and many other rural and urban habitats. It is a common species with a wide range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Distribution

It is found in the Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands (where it is introduced), India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran. In India, it is fairly common in urban areas, even in large cities such as Delhi and Kolkata. Two subspecies, Funambulus pennantii argentescens and Funambulus pennantii lutescens, were suggested by Wroughton in addition to the nominate race; however, more recent workers do not make this distinction.

Thorington and Hoffman in Wilson and Reeder (2005) listed only two subspecies: F. p. pennantii and F. p. argentescens.[4] However, Ghose et al. (2004) described two additional subspecies: F. p. chhattisgarhi (distribution: eastern part of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar) and F. p. gangutrianus (distribution: West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal),[6] but Talmale (2007) treated the Maharashtra populations as F. p. pennantii only due to the overlapping in measurements and colour variations observed in the specimens.[7][8][9]

It has also been introduced to Australia where it is found in Perth, Western Australia, establishing from zoo escapees,[10] and a population recorded around Mosman, New South Wales and near Taronga Zoo that may have become extinct. The feral populace, known locally as the five-lined palm squirrel, ranges out to the suburbs surrounding the Perth Zoo and also inhabit the grounds. They give birth over a period from August to May and most intensively around the austral spring and autumn.[11]

In India, the southern boundary of the species' range is not clearly identified, and recent records suggest it may extend as far as Madanapalli. The southern boundary on the Western Ghats side clearly extends to localities including Dharwar and Mysore, in Karnataka.[12][13]

Habitat

The northern palm squirrel is a very adaptable species. It occurs in tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forest, montane forests to altitudes of 4,000 m (13,123 ft), scrublands, plantations, grasslands, arable land, rural gardens and urban areas.[1]

Status

The northern palm squirrel is a common species throughout most of its wide range. It is an adaptable species and no particular threats have been identified, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c Nameer, P. O. & S. Molur. (2008). Funambulus pennantii. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 03 June 2013.
  2. ^ Wroughton, R.C. (1905). "The common striped palm squirrel". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 16: 406–413.
  3. ^ Moore, J.C. and G.H.H. Tate (1965). "A study of the diurnal squirrels, Sciurinae, of the Indian and Indo-Chinese subregions". Fieldiana Zoology. 48: 1–351.
  4. ^ a b Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffmann, R.S. (2005). "Family Sciuridae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference (3rd ed.). The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 754–818. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4. OCLC 26158608.
  5. ^ Thorington, R. W. Jr. and R. S. Hoffman (2005). Family Sciuridae. Pp. 754-818 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  6. ^ Ghose, R. K., Mandal, A. K. and Ghose, P. S. (2004). A contribution to the taxonomy of Indian five striped squirrel Funambulus pennanti, Wroughton), with description of two new subspecies. Rec. zool. Surv. India, 102 (3–4): 89–103
  7. ^ Talmale, S.S. (2007). Studies on Small Mammal Diversity in Maharashtra State. PhD. Thesis submitted to University of Pune, Maharashtra State, India.
  8. ^ Ellerman, J.R. (1961). The fauna of India including Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon: Mammalia, Rodentia. Volume 3 (in 2 parts). Vol. 1: 1-482 & Vol. 2: 483-884. Second ed. Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta.
  9. ^ Srinivasulu C., S. Chakraborty and M.S. Pradhan (2004). "Checklist of the Sciurids (Mammalia: Rodentia: Sciuridae)" (PDF). Zoos' Print Journal. 19 (2): 1351–1360. doi:10.11609/jott.zpj.19.2.1351-60. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-06-03. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
  10. ^ Long, J. L. (2003). Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution and Influence. Csiro Publishing, Collingwood, Australia. ISBN 9780643099166
  11. ^ Menkhorst, P.W.; Knight, F. (2011). A field guide to the mammals of Australia (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. p. 210. ISBN 9780195573954.
  12. ^ Pradhan, M.S. and Kurup, G.U. (2001). Mammalia IN Fauna of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Fauna of conservation Area Series 11. Publ: Director, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata: 311-330.
  13. ^ Santharam, V. (2007). "Five-striped Palm Squirrel (Funambulus pennantii) in Rishi Valley, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 104 (2): 202.
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Northern palm squirrel: Brief Summary

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 src= A Five-striped palm squirrel refuses to leave her dead baby. She carried it in her mouth near Deva village in Anand, Gujarat.

The northern palm squirrel (Funambulus pennantii) also called the five-striped palm squirrel is a species of rodent in the family Sciuridae. Some authorities recognise two subspecies, F. p. pennantii and F. p. argentescens. It is a semi-arboreal species found in tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forest and many other rural and urban habitats. It is a common species with a wide range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

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