Calabrian black squirrel

The Calabrian black squirrel (Sciurus meridionalis) is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus, endemic to the forests of the regions of Calabria and Basilicata, in the south of the Italian Peninsula. It has long been considered a subspecies of the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), but studies published in 2009–2017 revealed that it is unique in both genetics and appearance, leading to its recognition as a distinct species.[1][2]

The Calabrian black squirrel is an arboreal animal that generally resembles the red squirrel in its behavior. Unlike the highly variable red squirrel, the Calabrian black squirrel is monomorphic (not variable in appearance), being very dark brown to blackish with contrasting white underparts. Compared to red squirrels of northern Italy, the Calabrian black squirrel is also significantly larger, weighing 280–530 g (10–18.5 oz) or on average about 35% more.[2]

The Calabrian black squirrel lives in mixed forests in highlands, and its nests are often placed in pine or oak trees. It mostly occurs near black pine, as the seeds are an important food source.[3] The northern limit of its range has been northern Pollino, but it is slowly spreading north to the Lucan Apennines (Basilicata region). Its northernmost range limit and the southernmost Italian red squirrel are separated by a gap of more than 100 km (60 mi). The Calabrian black squirrel has a stable population, but its small range means that it likely qualifies for near threatened or perhaps vulnerable. The most serious threat is possibly the Finlayson's squirrel, which has been introduced near its range.[2]

Calabrian black squirrel
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Sciurus
S. meridionalis
Binomial name
Sciurus meridionalis
Lucifero, 1907
Sciurus meridionalis range Map.jpeg
Approximate distribution in red
  • Sciurus vulgaris meridionalis (Lucifero, 1907)
  • Sciurus vulgaris silanus Heinrich, 1934


  1. ^ Grill, A.; Amori, G.; Aloise, G.; Lisi, I.; Tosi, G.; Wauters, L.A.; Randi, E. (2009). "Molecular phylogeography of European Sciurus vulgaris: refuge within refugia". Mol. Ecol. 18 (12): 2687–2699. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04215.x.
  2. ^ a b c Wauters, Lucas A.; Giovanni Amori; Gaetano Aloise; Spartaco Gippoliti; Paolo Agnelli; Andrea Galimberti; Maurizio Casiraghi; Damiano Preatoni; Adriano Martinoli (2017). "New endemic mammal species for Europe: Sciurus meridionalis (Rodentia, Sciuridae)". Hystrix. 28 (1): 1–28. doi:10.4404/hystrix-28.1-12015.
  3. ^ Cagnin, Mara; Gaetano Aloise; Fabiola Fiore; Vincenzo Oriolo; Luc A. Wauters; Wauters, L.A.; Randi, E. (2000). "Habitat use and population density of the red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris meridionalis, in the Sila Grande mountain range (Calabria, South Italy)". Italian Journal of Zoology. 67 (1): 81–87.
Allen's squirrel

Allen's squirrel (Sciurus alleni) is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus endemic to northern Mexico. It has no subspecies.

Amazon dwarf squirrel

The Amazon dwarf squirrel (Microsciurus flaviventer) is a chipmunk-sized tree squirrel native to South America.

Andean squirrel

The Andean squirrel (Sciurus pucheranii) is a tree squirrel endemic to Colombia where it inhabits montane rain forest and cloud forests of the Cordillera Occidental and Cordillera Central ranges of the Colombian Andes, at elevations between 2,000 and 3,300 metres (6,600 and 10,800 ft). It is a small species with a body length of about 14 cm (6 in) and a similar length tail. It has soft, silky, reddish-brown fur, a darker tail and yellowish-grey underparts. It is thought to be diurnal but has been little studied, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being data deficient.

Bangs's mountain squirrel

Bangs's mountain squirrel (Syntheosciurus brochus) is a poorly known species of tree squirrel, that only lives in Costa Rica and Panama. It can be found in mountain rain forests at an altitude between 1,900 and 2,600 metres (6,200 and 8,500 ft), and lives mainly in the tree tops, but sometimes on the forest floor as well. One of its habitats is at the summit of the Poás Volcano in Costa Rica, in a Clusia forest that is almost inaccessible to humans.

Black squirrel (disambiguation)

Black squirrel may refer to:

The black squirrel, a melanistic population of squirrels in North America (affected species are Sciurus carolinensis and Sciurus niger);

The Calabrian black squirrel, a distinct species found in the south of Italy, endemic to the regions of Calabria and Basilicata;

Black Squirrel Radio, an American radio station;

The black squirrel monkey, a primate endemic to the central Amazon in Brazil;

The Black Squirrel Creek Bridge, a dismantled bridge in El Paso County, Colorado, USA;

Black Squirrel (song), alternate title for Broken, Beat & Scarred, a single from the American rock band Metallica.

Bolivian squirrel

The Bolivian squirrel (Sciurus ignitus) is a tree squirrel that is endemic to South America. Little is known of the species, which may represent a species complex.

Brazilian squirrel

The Brazilian squirrel (or Guianan squirrel) (Sciurus aestuans) is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus endemic to South America. It is found in South-eastern Colombia, Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname and Venezuela.

It is a dark brown squirrel that feeds mainly on fruits and nuts, but can also prey on eggs and the young of birds.

Collie's squirrel

Collie's squirrel (Sciurus colliaei) is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus endemic to Mexico.

Japanese squirrel

The Japanese squirrel (Sciurus lis) is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus endemic to Japan. The Japanese squirrel's range includes the islands of Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū. Recently, populations on south-western Honshū and Shikoku decreased, and those on Kyūshū disappeared. One of the factors affecting the local extinction of this species seems to be forest fragmentation by humans.

Junín red squirrel

The Junín red squirrel (Sciurus pyrrhinus) is a species of squirrel from Peru and Ecuador.

Northern Amazon red squirrel

The northern Amazon red squirrel, Sciurus igniventris, is a squirrel species from South America. It occurs in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Peters's squirrel

Peters's squirrel (Sciurus oculatus) is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus endemic to Mexico. It was first described by the German naturalist and explorer Wilhelm Peters in 1863. Three subspecies are recognised. It is a common species, and the IUCN has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Pine squirrel

Pine squirrels are squirrels of the genus Tamiasciurus, in the Sciurini tribe, of the large family Sciuridae.

Santander dwarf squirrel

The Santander dwarf squirrel Microsciurus santanderensis is a small tree squirrel endemic to Colombia.


Sciurinae is a subfamily of squirrels in the (family Sciuridae), uniting the flying squirrels with certain related tree squirrels. Older sources place the flying squirrels in a separate subfamily (Pteromyinae) and unite all remaining sciurids into the subfamily Sciurinae, but this has been strongly refuted by genetic studies.


The genus Sciurus contains most of the common, bushy-tailed squirrels in North America, Europe, temperate Asia, Central America and South America.

Yellow-throated squirrel

The yellow-throated squirrel (Sciurus gilvigularis) is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus endemic to South America. It is found in Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela.

Extant species of family Sciuridae (subfamily Sciurinae, Sciurini tribe)
(Dwarf squirrels)
(Pine squirrels)

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