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Living OrganismsAnimalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Lagomorpha / Ochotonidae / Ochotona / Species

Ochotona dauurica - Daurian pika (Click photographs/illustrations for full picture & further details)

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INDEX - INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

APPEARANCE / MORPHOLOGY

LIFE STAGES / NATURAL DIET / PHYSIOLOGY

BEHAVIOUR

HABITAT & RANGE

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Specific Ochotona dauurica information
  • Ochotona daurica (B605.3.w3)
    • "The spelling of dauurica conforms to that of the original description". (B607.w20)
  • This pika has also been given the specific names of 
    • Ochotona altaina (B605.3.w3; B607.w20)
    • Ochotona minor (B607.w20)
    • Ochotona ogotona (B607.w20)
    • Ochotona annectens (B605.3.w3; B607.w20)
    • Ochotona bedfordi (B605.3.w3; B607.w20)
    • Ochotona shaanxiensis (B607.w20)
    • Ochotona mursaevi (B605.3.w3)
    • Ochotona mursavi (B607.w20; B607.w20)
General pika information
  • The name pika originated from the Tungus of Siberia who attempted to mimic the call "peeka" of the local pika species. (B285.w5g)
  • The generic name of Ochotona is derived from the Mongolian name for pikas: "ogdoi". (B285.w5g)
  • Mouse hares or conies are alternative names for pikas. (B147)
  • "Pishchukha" is the Russian common name for all species of pika and some gerbils (Rhombomys opimus, Meriones tamareiscinus (Muridae - (Family)). (B605.3.w3)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

--

Names for males

--

Names for females

--

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General Appearance

General pika information
  • Adult: Pikas are small, egg shaped, rodent-like lagomorphs. They have rounded, relatively large ears, short legs, and a very short tail which is hardly visible. (B285.w5g)
  • Newborn: Hairless, eyes closed. (J511.47.w1)

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Coat is grey, varying from a pale, yellowish straw-grey to a duller, deeper straw-grey in summer, and is longer and paler in winter. The nose and the area around the mouth is a whitish to buffy white colour, and the underside is white. (B605.3.w3)

Similar Species

Ochotona dauurica can be distinguished from other similar species by its diploid chromosome number of 50 and the following morphological characteristics:
  • Ochotona curzoniae - Plateau pika
    • This pika has a diploid chromosome number of 46.
    • In contrast to this pika, Ochotona dauurica does not have a rust coloured patch behind each ear. 
  • Ochotona pallasi - Pallas's pika
    • This pika has a diploid chromosome number of 38.
    • The toe pads of Ochotona dauurica are heavily furred whereas those of the sympatric of Ochotona pallasi are bare and black. 

(B605.3.w3)

Sexual Dimorphism

  • Male and female pikas are similar in size and can be difficult to tell apart from one another. (B147)

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References

Species Authors & Referees

Editor: Nikki Fox BVSc MRCVS (V.w103)

ORGANISATIONS

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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Husbandry Information

Notes

  • --

Management Techniques

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Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

Notes

LENGTH

General pika information
Adult: 

  • Pikas measure 120-300 mm. 
    • 120-285 mm. (B285.w5g)
    • 125-300 mm, with most species averaging around 200 mm or less. (B147)
  • Males and females are similar in size. (B147)

Newborns: --

HEIGHT
Adults and sub-adults: --
Juveniles: --

WEIGHT

Adult:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • About 140-170 g for both males and females. (J511.47.w1)

Newborns:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • 8.4 g. (J511.47.w1)

GROWTH RATE:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • From 8.4 g at birth, increasing to average 52.3 g by three weeks old and 75.8g at four weeks, then linear weight gain, reaching 117.5 +/- 14.2 g at eight weeks, 136.7 +/- 11.4 g at 10 weeks and 156.5 g (plateau) by 13 weeks. (J511.47.w1)

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Head and Neck

Notes

Note: This species is a burrowing pika rather than a rock dwelling pika. (B605.3.w3)

GENERAL HEAD STRUCTURE:
Adult:

Skull:

General pika information:

  • In general, the head of pikas is blunt and short, and the skull is quite flattened rather than arched. There is also a constriction between the orbits. (B147)
Specific Ochotona dauurica information:
  • The Daurian pika has a medium size skull and only has a slight elevation in the frontal area. There are no frontal fenestrae present and the tympanic bullae are large. (B605.3.w3)
Ears:
  • General pika information: Pikas have small, rounded ears which are 12-36 mm in length. (B147; B285.w5g)
Nostrils:
  • General pika information: Pikas can completely close their nostrils. (B147)
Vibrissae:
  • General pika information: These are shorter in burrowing pikas, such as this species, compared to rock dwelling pikas. (B605.3.w3)

Newborn: --

DENTITION

Pika general information
  • There are 26 teeth in total - two less than other lagomorphs who have one more upper molar on each side. (B285.w5a, B605.1.w1)
  • The dental formula of pikas is 2/1 incisors, 0/0 canines, 3/2 premolars, and 2/3 molars. (B147, B605.1.w1)

Incisors

  • Lagomorphs, including pikas, differ from rodents by having two pairs of upper incisors rather than just the one pair. The additional set of incisors are called peg teeth and are found directly behind the long pair in the upper jaw. (B147, B285.w5a, B605.1.w1)
  • At birth, lagomorphs actually have three pairs of upper incisors, but they quickly lose the outer incisor on each side. (B147)
  • The incisors are covered completely by enamel. (B147)
  • The upper incisors' roots are found in the skull's premaxillary bones. However, the length of the lower incisors' roots varies. (B147)
    • [Note: lagomorphs have teeth which grow throughout their lives. For this reason the portion of the teeth which is not exposed (not above the gum line) is strictly speaking not a "root"; however, it is sometimes convenient to describe it as a root.]
  • The first upper incisors have a cutting edge which is V-shaped. (B147)
  • The peg teeth lack a cutting edge. (B147)

Molars

  • Pikas have high crowned cheek teeth with no roots [the teeth grow continuously throughout life]. (B147)
  • The lower tooth rows are closer together than the upper tooth rows. (B147)

EYES:

Adult:

General pika information:

  • Pikas have eyes positioned to give a broad field of vision (B285.w5a)
Newborn:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Ochotona dauurica have their eyes closed at birth. (J511.47.w1)

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Legs, Spine and Tracks

Notes

  • Pikas have short legs. (B285.w5g)
  • The hindlimbs are just slightly longer than the forelimbs. (B147, B430.w2, B605.2.w2)
  • They have five digits on each foot. (B147)
  • The feet are heavily furred on the underside. (B147)
  • In burrowing pikas, such as this species, the claws are more straight and powerful than those of the rock dwelling pikas. (B605.3.w3)

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Tail

Notes

General pika information:
  • The tail of pikas is virtually absent at a length of 5 mm (B285.w5g); it is not visible. (B147; B430.w2)

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Skin / Coat / Pelage

Notes

Adult: 

General pika information:
  • Fine, long, soft and dense coat with fur that covers the feet including the under surface. (B147, B285.w5g)
  • Most pikas are lighter ventrally than dorsally. (B285.w5g)
  • Most species have two moults per year with a brighter summer coat - often a yellowish red - and a greyer winter coat. (B147)
Specific Ochotona dauurica information:
  • Summer coat: This can vary from a pale, yellowish straw-grey to a duller, deeper straw-grey. The flanks are light with a tinge of yellow while the ventrum is pure white. (B605.3.w3)
  • Winter coat: This is significantly lighter and longer than the summer coat. (B605.3.w3)
  • Markings: The nose and the area around the mouth is a whitish to buffy white colour. (B605.3.w3)

Adult Colour variations:--

Newborn/Juvenile:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Newborns are naked. (J511.47.w1)
  • By seven days the skin becomes black, and by ten days it is covered with brown hair. (J511.47.w1)

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Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

Notes

Ochotona spp. general information:
  • Mammary glands:
    • Females have four or six mammary glands. (B147)
  • Female reproductive tract:
    • The uterus is duplex. The placenta is discoid, deciduate and hemochorial,with a mesometrial, superficial implantation. (B287)
  • Male reproductive tract:
    • Testes:
      • The testes are intra-abdominal outside the breeding season. (B147, B287)
      • During the breeding season they are found in folds of skin at the base of the penis. (B147)
    • Penis:
  • Scent glands: Pikas have scent glands, as do all lagomorphs. (B285.w5a)

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Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Life Stages

Notes

Note: This species is a burrowing pika rather than a rock dwelling pika.

The Daurian pika has a high reproductive rate. (B605.3.w3)

BREEDING SEASON:

General pika information:

  • In general, pikas breed twice a year in the spring and summer, and many species will have 2 or more litters per year. (B147)

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • In this species pregnant females are seen in May - July in Mongolia. (B287)
  • In captivity in Japan, when males and females were placed in outdoor cages in October, the first litter was born in June. This, as well as atrophy of the testes in August, indicated seasonal breeding. Coitus occured, but no litters were born, while the pikas were maintained in indoor cages. (J511.47.w1)
  • In China, April to September. (J511.47.w1)

OESTRUS/OVULATION:

General pika information:

GESTATION/PREGNANCY:

General pika information:

  • Pikas have a short gestation period. (B285.w5a)
    • Burrowing pikas, such as this species, have a gestation period of approximately three weeks. (B147)
  • Embryo resorption may occur if the pika encounters adverse conditions. (B285.w5a)

PARTURITION/BIRTH: --

NEONATAL / DEVELOPMENT: 

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Eyes open by 13 days. (J511.47.w1)
  • First seen out of nest box at 13 days. (J511.47.w1)
  • First eating solid food such as grass at 21 days. (J511.47.w1)

LITTER SIZE:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • The Daurian pika has a litter size of one to eleven (B605.3.w3); one to twelve. (B147)
  • There have been several reports of litter size in this species:
    • Three to five young in a litter. (B287)
    • Mean of 5.6 embryos / fetuses per litter with a range of two to seven and with five females sampled. (B287)
    • Mean of 6.1 - 7.7 young in a litter with a range of one to eleven. (B287)
  • In China, 5 - 6 pups per litter. (J511.47.w1)

General pika information:

  • In general, burrowing pikas, such as this species, have litters which are twice as large as those of rock dwelling pikas. (B285.w5g, B605.3.w3)

TIME BETWEEN LITTERS / LITTERS PER YEAR: 

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Each female Daurian pika is capable of having several litters per year. (B605.3.w3)
  • This species has been reported to have between one and three litters per year. (B287)
  • In China, two litters per year. (J511.47.w1)

General pika information:

  • Some species of burrowing pikas are known to have five litters a year. (B285.w5g)

LACTATION / MILK PRODUCTION: --

SEXUAL MATURITY:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Juvenile Daurian pikas may breed in the summer of their birth. (B287; B605.3.w3)
  • Female Ochotona dauurica may reach sexual maturity as early as 21 days. (B147)
  • Three months (B285.w5a)

MALE SEASONAL VARIATION:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Testes atrophy in August and return to an intra-abdominal position in September. (J511.47.w1)

LONGEVITY / MORTALITY:

General pika information:

  • High mortality due to the fact that pikas are prey for many mammals and birds. (B285.w5a)
  • Burrowing pikas, such as this species, may live up to three years of age, but usually only one year.(B285.w5g)
  • Burrowing pikas have a high annual mortality with few animals living more than two years. (B605.3.w3)

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Natural Diet

Notes

NATURAL DIET:

General pika information:

  • Pikas are herbivorous - they eat grasses, flowering stalks, and leaves. Pikas have a preference for those plants highest in protein or other chemicals important to them. (B285.w5g)

  • Pikas eat a range of vegetable matter: "in the summer and early autumn the animals gather grasses, sedges, weeds, and many of the large flowering and woody plants, sometimes climbing a few meters up in trees and out on limbs to cut twigs. The material is sometimes place in exposed locations for curing by the sun"; many populations create haystacks to store food for winter. (B147)

QUANTITY EATEN: --

STUDY METHODS: --

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Hibernation / Aestivation

Notes

General pika information:

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Haematology / Biochemistry

Notes

HAEMATOLOGY: --

BIOCHEMISTRY: --

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Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in WILDPro)

Notes

METABOLISM (TEMPERATURE): Pikas have a high body temperature. (B285.w5g)

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (RESPIRATION):

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM (PULSE/HEART RATE):

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM (FAECES AND GUT MOTILITY):

General pika information:

  • Jaw motion: Pikas have a vertical or transverse jaw motion. (B147); pikas use a side-to-side jaw motion. (B285.w5g)
  • Coprophagy: Pikas produce two types of faeces, hard faeces like pepper seeds - small green spherical pellets - which are passed during the day; and soft faeces, sticky and dark green/black, passed at night. Faeces of the latter type have high a energy value and B vitamin levels, and are re-ingested. This behaviour, known as coprophagy, may have a similar function to the ruminant behaviour of chewing the cud. (B147, B285.w5a)

URINARY SYSTEM (URINE): --

CHROMOSOMES: --

MUSCULO-SKELETAL SYSTEM:

SPECIAL SENSES AND VOCALISATIONS:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

The adult Daurian pika has three basic vocalisations:

  • The alarm call: a short high whistle. 
  • The long call: a song-like trill that will slow in frequency toward the end. This vocalisation is usually used by males but females may utter it occasionally. 
  • Short trill: this is similar to the long call but is of a different frequency and shorter. Short trills commonly follow a long call.

(B605.3.w3)

  • In captivity, males were noted to give long calls "long-lasting high-pitched cries, like the chirping of small birds" , sometimes two or three times a day, sometimes more often (5-6 times). The long call was generally heard at 0700 - 2300 hrs but was occasionally hears at 0400 hrs. These calls were heard only once the pikas were moved from indoor to outdoor cages, and were heard from October (when first placed outside) to July (testes showed seasonal atropy in August). (J511.47.w1)
General pika information
  • Pikas are known to be more vocal than other lagomorphs (Lagomorpha). (B285.w5a)
  • Burrowing pikas, such as this species, have a vast range of calls:

    • Rapidly repeated soft short predator alarm call;

    • Long calls used by adult males;

    • Whines and trills;

    • Muffle and transition calls used by young pikas, which are thought to promote cohesion among siblings.

(B285.w5g)

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Notes

General pika information
  • Pikas are unable to grasp plants with their forepaws; they eat with a side-to-side jaw motion and carry vegetation in their mouths. (B285.w5g)
Haying and foraging 

General pika information

  • In spring, summer and/or autumn (fall) (depending on species/location) many pika species spend much time "haying" - harvesting mouthfuls of vegetation which are carried back to the den for storage. They build up these stores, resembling piles of hay, and use them for consumption during periods of sparse vegetation, often over-harvesting so that it is a rare occurrence for them to run out of food. (B285.w5g, B605.3.w3) 
  • Pika species living in areas where winter snow is common may also make tunnels in the snow to reach and harvest any nearby vegetation. (B285.w5g)
  • Some species continue to forage throughout winter rather than haying, because snows are uncommon. (B285.w5g)
  • Even at a fairly low population density of ten to twelve pikas per hectare, vegetation storage by pikas may be up to 30 kg per hectare. (B605.3.w3)
Specific Ochotona dauurica information:
  • Ochotona dauurica is a selective herbivore and may store sizeable quantities of vegetation in hay piles at its burrow entrance. 
  • One report found that certain steppe shrubs only grow where there are pika burrows, indicating how important the Daurian pika are in determining the local floral diversity. Digging activity loosens and improves the soil. The systems of burrows concentrate many organic materials. The soil in the burrow system has been found to contain more humus, calcium, phosphorus, nitrogen, and is also of higher humidity than in nearby burrow-free areas. As a result of all these factors, the root biomass is greater, there are taller plants and greater plant cover, around the burrows of this pika compared to non-burrow areas. In spring, the growth phenology of plants is ten to fifteen days earlier on burrow systems than on surrounding areas. (B605.3.w3)
  • The forage preferred and eaten by this species is reportedly not found in the diet of the grazing domestic ungulates. One study showed that "Daurian pikas are more likely to contribute to the deterioration of rangeland if it was already overgrazed. They concluded that the most effective manner in which to control the "pest" pikas is to improve all aspects of range management, including the prevention of overgrazing". (B605.3.w3)

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Parental Behaviour

Notes

General pika information
  • In the burrowing pikas, the young may form a line behind an adult, usually their father, and follow. (B285.w5g)

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Social Behaviour / Territoriality / Predation / Learning

Notes

Populations

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Populations of the Daurian pika fluctuate widely in size. The population density can vary between 0.1 to over 300 per hectare. These fluctations are thought to be influenced by flooding and competition with other grazing herbivores for example, Microtus brandti and domestic ungulates. Other factors that affect the population density include snowless winters, summer droughts and autumn rain (this will rot stored vegetation), which may cause high mortality in this species of pika. (B605.3.w3)
  • In some populations, 93 % of the summer population is made up of young pikas. The potential for reaching high population densities is why the Daurian pika is considered as a pest in China. However in the central Khanghai, yearlings make up only 35 % of the population. In this region, one report stated that 23 % of the population were one year old pikas; 20 % were two year olds; 17 % were three year olds; and 4 % were four year olds. Females make up 59 % of the young pikas, but the sex ratio actually changes with age and is reported to favour male pikas in the older age classes. (B605.3.w3)

Social behaviour

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Daurian pikas are reported to live in pairs on widely overlapping territories. (B605.3.w3)
  • Aggressive interactions are rare within family groups but affiliative behaviour is often expressed including grooming, soliciting grooming, crawling on top of one another, following each other, and huddling together. Boxing episodes are brief (often only around one second -just a short push) and rare. (B605.3.w3)

Predation

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • In one study, this species was found to comprise the following percentages of avian predators' diets:
    • 62 % - Aquila nipalensis, Steppe eagle
    • 17 % - Buteo hemilasius, upland buzzard
    • 73 % - Bubo bubo, eagle owl
    • 22 % - Falco cherrug, saker falcon
    • (B605.3.w3)
  • This pika is also a very important winter food for Vulpes corsac - the corsac fox and Mustela eversmanni - the steppe polecat, because it does not hibernate which is in contrast to most steppe mammals. (B605.3.w3)

General pika information

  • Population densities of burrowing steppe dwellers are often much higher than that of the rock dwellers but they are also prone to fluctuate more widely. (B147)
  • The burrowing pikas are very friendly, sociable mammals that live within family groups where they may play-box, sit in contact, nose rub and spend time socially grooming. Communal dens house family groups which includes siblings of different ages. The young may follow behind an adult, usually their father, in a line. However, there may be aggression between members of different family groups, in particular, long chases of adult males occur. (B285.w5g)
  • The population density of burrowing pikas may be greater than 750 per acre towards the end of the breeding season but this may fluctuate greatly both annually and seasonally. (B285.w5g, B605.3.w3)
  • Pikas have scent glands, as do all lagomorphs. (B285.w5a)

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Sexual Behaviour

Notes

General pika information
  • In general, it appears that pikas are monogamous. (B285.w5g, B605.3.w3)
  • Burrowing pikas: The mating system may be flexible: polygynous, polygynous, complex (several male and female), and polyandrous adult associations have been observed side by side. This last relationship is rare in mammals, but in the pika two males from the same burrow may be seen alternately mating with the resident female and then sitting side by side or grooming one another, even while the female is in estrus - apparently an adaptation to maximize reproductive rates in face of harsh environmental conditions. (B285.w5g)

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Coitus observed in captive Daurian pikas involved the male mounting the back of the female, while she raised her hind quarters. (J511.47.w1)

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Activity Patterns, Self-grooming and Navigation

Notes

Note: There is little reported data on this topic specific to this species so the details below are from general pika information. This species is a burrowing pika rather than a rock dweller.

ACTIVITY PATTERNS:

General pika information:
  • Pikas are agile and lively (B285.w5g)

SELF-GROOMING: --

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM: 

General pika information

  • Mainly active by day. Pikas are well-adapted to the cold and sensitive to even moderately warm conditions, therefore they tend to be active only during the cooler parts of the day. (B285.w5g)
  • Pikas may be active at all hours, in particular, early morning and evenings. It seems that they are less active on sunny days compared with cloudy days. (B147)
  • Pikas which live at high altitudes may be active all day, whereas pikas at warmer, lower altitudes emerge only in the morning and evening. (B285.w5g)

SPEED OF MOVEMENT: --

NAVIGATION: --

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Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

Notes

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:
  • The Daurian pika is a characteristic steppe-dwelling or semi desert pika. (B605.3.w3)
  • It has been noted that this species "often settle in damp or low-lying places which may be subject to flooding and that their habitat includes fertile parts of the Gobi Desert". (B605.3.w3)
  • This species has been reported to live inhabit deserts, open plains, and steppes. (B147)

General pika information

  • Most pikas live in remote high mountains and wild country and are well adapted to the cold.
    Pikas have become well adapted to living in rocky steppe and alpine habitats. (B285.w5g, B605.3.w3)
  • Some species inhabit moist forest areas, living under stumps of trees or fallen logs. (B147)

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Nests / Burrows / Shelters

Notes

General pika information
  • In general, burrowing pikas dig burrows in open alpine meadow, semi desert or steppe environments. (B285.w5g)
  • This species is a burrowing pika. (B147, B605.3.w3)
  • It is common for burrows to be shared with birds or small mammals. (B605.3.w3)

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Large continuous colonies of Daurian pikas are made up of individual burrow systems. Each burrow system may have between 15 and 20 exits and occupy about 25 - 35 m. Individual burrows can differ greatly in the number of entrances, construction and complexity depending on the age of the pikas and the habitat. (B605.3.w3)

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Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Notes

  • "Altai Mts and Tuva south through Mongolia and N China to Qinghai (China)". (B285.w5i)

  • "Desert steppes of the Gobi region throughout Mongolia and adjacent regions of the Soviet Union and China (eastern Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Shanxi, shaanxi, Nei Mongol, Liaoning, northern Hebei)". (B605.3.w3)

  • "Steppes from Altai, Tuva, and Transbaikalia (Russia) through N China and Mongolia, south to Quinghai Province, China. Zhang et al. (1997), listed it from Henan and Hebei provinces, but this may be a lapsus" (B607.w20)

Geographic sympatry with:

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Conservation

Species variation

Notes

Currently recognised subspecies include:
  • Ochotona dauurica annectens; synonyms Ochotona dauurica altaina, Ochotona dauurica minor, Ochotona dauurica  ogotona
  • Ochotona dauurica bedfordi synonym Ochotona dauurica shaanxiensis
  • Ochotona dauurica dauurica
  • Ochotona dauurica mursavi 

(B605.3.w3; B607.w20)

NB: names in non-bold font are reported as synonyms for that particular subspecies from the reference B607.w20.

Notes:

  • Ochotona dauurica annectens: In reference to Ochotona cansus - Gansu pika: "May also include annectens Miller, 1911, which is usually considered a subspecies of O. dauurica; but Yu et al. (2000) treat annectens as an independent sister species of O. cansus;... Until more data become available, we prefer to leave annectens as a subspecies of dauurica." (B607.w20)
  • Ochotona dauurica shaanxiensis: this is provisionally included as a synonym for Ochotona dauurica bedfordi. (B607.w20)

Formerly included subspecies and forms:

  • Ochotona curzoniae - Plateau pika but now considered a distinct species on the basis of morphological, chromosomal, electrophoretic and mitochondrial differences. (B605.3.w3; B607.w20)
    • Ochotona dauurica melanostoma was also included within the Daurian pika by one author but is now considered a synonym of the Plateau pika. (B607.w20)
  • Ochotona dauurica seiana has been previously included in the Daurian pika but was subsequently reassigned to Ochotona rufescens - Afghan pika. (B605.3.w3)

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Conservation Status

Notes

WILD POPULATION - IMPORTANCE:

General pika information

In general, pikas are important for the following reasons:

  • They act as prey for many birds and mammals. (B605.3.w3)
  • By recycling soil, burrowing pikas have a positive contribution to ecosystem-level dynamics. (B605.3.w3)
  • Haypiles created by pikas may provide winter food for domestic cows and horses and also native species such as ungulates or smaller herbivores. (B605.3.w3)
  • In winter, when there is snow covering the steppe, Mongolian herdsmen are reported to preferentially graze their livestock in places where there is a high density of this species of pika as the tops of the pikas' haypiles are above the snow surface and are a source of food. (B605.3.w3)

GENERAL LEGISLATION:

  • "Currently no species or forms of Ochotona are treated on any national list of endangered or threatened wildlife." [1990](B605.3.w3)

CITES LISTING:

  • There are currently no Ochotona species CITES-listed. (W354.April08.w1)

RED-DATA LIST STATUS: 

  • Lower risk (least concern). (B607.w20)

THREATS:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • "Isolated populations around the margins of the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia are very vulnerable". (B607.w20)
  • This species is intensively poisoned in parts of central Asia and China due to their potential competition with livestock on the open rangeland. (B147)

General pika information

  • In general, the status of many species of pika is hard to assess because they inhabit such remote areas. (B285.w5g)
  • Many species of pika inhabit very restricted ranges and so may be threatened by human environmental disruption. (B147)

PEST STATUS / PEST POPULATIONS:

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Along with Ochotona curzoniae - Plateau pika, the Daurian pika is considered a pest and therefore is intensively controlled in China; in Russia, the control has been much less intensive. (B605.3.w3; B607.w20)
  • Some burrowing pikas have high population densities which may lead to rangeland degradation. (B285.w5g)
  • However, it has been suggested that erosion in some places is more likely to be due to vegetation overgrazing by livestock rather than burrowing pikas. (B605.3.w3)
  • Due to their remote habitat, most pikas "rarely come into conflict with human economic activity." (B147)

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS: 

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • Daurian pikas have been kept as laboratory animals. (J511.47.w1)

TRADE AND USE: 

Specific Ochotona dauurica information:

  • The Daurian pika has been used as a secondary fur animal. (B605.3.w3)

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