Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Chinese (Simplified) (6) (learn more)

Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Ochotona curzoniae can be found throughout the Tibetan Plateau (Smith and Xie 2008). The geographic distribution extends through northern Nepal and Sikkim, India, north into Xizang, and the western regions of Sichuan, Qinghai and the southern regions of Xinjiang (Smith et al. 1990), and Gansu (CSIS 2008). It occurs at elevations of 3,000-5,000 m (Smith and Xie 2008).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Geographic Range

Black-lipped pikas are found in the Alpine meadows and steppes of the Tibetan plateau in the Chang Taung region of the People’s Republic of China.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )

  • Schaller, G. 1998. Wildlife of the Tibetan Steppe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Black-lipped pikas are small, chunky, and lack a conspicuous tail. They have characteristic black lips and thick fur which is brown to reddish tan on the dorsal side and light gray on the ventral side. There is no sexual dimorphism in size or coloration and it is difficult to determine males from females by the external genitalia.

Range mass: 0.1 to 0.2 kg.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

  • Dobson, F., A. Smith, W. Gao. 2000. The mating system and gene dynamics of plateau pikas. Behavioural Processes, 51: 101-110.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Ochotona curzoniae is a burrow-dwelling species of pika (Smith and Xie 2008). This species occurs in "high alpine desert, steppe and meadows" (Smith et al. 1990). In India and Nepal in occupies tropical and subtropical montane forests (Chakraborty et al. 2005). Competition of habitat results in the exclusion of O. cansus in areas where it and O. curzoniae are sympatric (Su 2001). Social behavior for O. curzoniae and O. dauurica differs when they exist sympatrically, than when they do not (Zhang et al. 2001). Under sympatric circumstances, O. curzoniae exhibits "mowing" behavior, while O. dauurica exhibits "hoarding" behavior (Zhang et al. 2001). O. curzoniae is exclusively an herbivore (Smith and Xie 2008). This species of pika is considered a highly social animal (Smith and Xie 2008). It is predominantly a diurnal species (Feng et al. 1986). Average home range for O. curzoniae is 1,375 ± 206 square meters (Smith and Gao 1991). Densities drop during winter to yearly lows in the spring, but increase during the summer to approximately 380/ha (Smith et al. 1990). The breeding season for this species extends from April, possibly into late August (Smith et al. 1990). O. curzoniae has three to five litters per year with two to eight young per litter (Smith and Xie 2008). Young become reproductively active the summer of their birth (Smith and Gao 1991). Generation length is estimated to be 1.2 years for O. curzoniae (Wang and Dai 1989). Total length is 14.0-19.2 cm (Smith and Xie 2008).

O. curzoniae is a keystone species of the Tibetan plateau. It is speculated that O. curzoniae contributes to the overall health of alpine meadows by aerating the soil via their burrowing activities (Smith and Foggin 1999). A recent study demonstrated that greater plant species diversity is associated with small-burrowing mammals (O. curzoniae and Alticola stoliczkanus) of the Trans-Himalayan plateau (Bagchi et al. 2006). It is also an important component of the prey base for many carnivores within their geographic range (Lai and Smith 2003). Burrows constructed by O. curzoniae serve as homes for lizards and small birds on the Tibetan plateau (Smith and Foggin 1999).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ochotona curzoniae prefers to make burrows in flat to gently sloping terrain and silty to sandy-soiled meadow lands with few rocks and good drainage at elevations up to 5300 meters.

Range elevation: 5300 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: tundra ; desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; mountains

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Black-lipped pikas spend the majority of their time foraging for food. Those that live in meadows can store large amounts of forage in hay piles, for later consumption. Desert dwelling O. curzoniae cannot easily create hay stores because high winds blow it away, and less cohesive social structures make it more difficult to protect caches.

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; flowers

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Granivore )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Black-lipped pikas feed on seeds, and they disperse those seeds to some extent. However, since they have a limited home range, the seeds are not dispersed far from where they were collected. They are reservoirs for parasitic species such as fleas. Poisoning of Ochotona curzoniae by local people to reduce the destruction created by burrows has lead to the death of several bird species, for example Montifringilla and Pyrgilauda as well as Pseudopodoces humilis>. These birds are known to nest in black-lipped pika burrows and are harmed by the poison used to cull the pika population.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; parasite

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Predation

Ochotona curzoniae are preyed upon by birds of prey, including common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), black kites (Milvus lineatus), upland buzzards (Buteo hemilasius), and weasels and polecats (Mustela). They avoid predation primarily through their vigilance, cryptic coloration, and tendency to remain under cover of foliage or rocks when active.

Known Predators:

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

  • Lai, C., A. Smith. 2003. Keystone status of plateau pikas (Ochotona curzoniae): effect of control on biodiversity of native birds. Biodiversity and Conservation, 12(9): 1901-1912.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Black-lipped pikas communicate with family members by grooming, boxing and other contact to maintain social bonds. There is also frequent vocal communication informing the family of potential threats.

Communication Channels: tactile ; acoustic

Perception Channels: acoustic

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

The life expectancy of O. curzoniae is short because this species faces harsh winters and high parasitosis. Few members of each family group survive to the next spring. About 15.7% survive to breed during first year after birth, and only 1.5% survive to breed during their second year.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
957 (high) days.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
119.9 days.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
119.9 days.

  • Wang, G., K. Dai. 1989. Natural Longevity of Plateau Pika. Acta Theriologica Sinica, 9: 56-62.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Black-lipped pikas employ several mating systems. Most commonly, black-lipped pikas live in monogamous family groups made up of and adult male and female, juveniles, and younger animals. Both polygamy and polyandry have been recorded among O. curzoniae; this most commonly happens when an adult black-lipped pika dies and its mate joins another family group. Promiscuity has also been observed, though it is not common.

Mating System: monogamous ; polyandrous ; polygynous

Female black-lipped pikas breed and produce litters every three weeks during summer months. As the summer continues, more food becomes available and each successive litter becomes larger throughout the summer. During the mating season, there is intense male-male competition for females. Once family groups are formed, intergroup aggression keeps families together. Also, social interaction via grooming, boxing, communication and other contact helps to maintain social relationships. Communication reaches its peak during the weaning period of a new litter so that juveniles maintain strong social bonds with each other and their parents. Female O. curzoniae can, and often do, breed within the same summer of their own birth.

It was once thought that black-lipped pikas practiced a great deal of inbreeding to maintain family ties. However, it has since been discovered that roughly 97% of males leave their family range during the spring just before mating season. These males usually move to neighboring family groups. Some females also disperse from their natal family groups to join neighboring ones. This behavior helps to reduce the negative effects of inbreeding; however, the most successful matings usually occur between family members.

Breeding interval: Breeding can occur every three weeks during the summer months.

Breeding season: The female is in estrous for one day during the week that copulation occurs.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 8.

Average number of offspring: 4.8.

Range gestation period: 21 to 24 days.

Average weaning age: 21 days.

Average time to independence: 3 weeks.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous

One unusual feature about O. curzoniae is that males invest heavily in offspring. Their behaviors consist of vigilance and awareness of the surroundings. They look out for potential predators as well as help maintain home range boundaries. The majority of juvenile-adult interactions occur with adult males rather than the females.

Females have limited interactions with offspring outside of nursing. A mother spends the majority of her time foraging so that she can provide enough energy to feed her young and prepare for the next litter, which quickly follows.

After three weeks, the offspring are weaned and go through a period of learning, generally with an adult male. The litters usually remain with their family for the first winter and disperse in spring before the reproductive season.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male); pre-independence (Protecting: Male); post-independence association with parents; extended period of juvenile learning

  • Schaller, G. 1998. Wildlife of the Tibetan Steppe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Smith, A., W. Gao. 1991. Social Relationships of Adult Black-Lipped pikas (Ochotona curzoniae). Journal of Mammalogy, 72: 231-247.
  • Dobson, F., A. Smith, W. Gao. 1998. Social and ecological influences on dispersal and philopatry in the plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae). Behavioral Ecology, 9: 622-635.
  • Dobson, F., A. Smith, W. Gao. 2000. The mating system and gene dynamics of plateau pikas. Behavioural Processes, 51: 101-110.
  • Smith, A. 1988. Patterns of Pika (Genus Ochotona) Life History Variation. Pp. 233-256 in M Boyce, ed. Evolution of Life Histories of Mammals Theory and Pattern. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Ochotona curzoniae

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

AACCGCTGACTATTCTCTACAAATCACAAAGACATCGGCACCTTATATATGCTATTCGGTGCCTGAGCCGGAATGGTAGGCACTGCACTC---AGCCTTCTTATTCGAGCTGAACTTGGTCAACCTGGAGCCCTCCTGGGGGAT---GATCAAATCTACAATGTAGTTGTCACAGCTCACGCTTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTCATAGTCATGCCAATTATAATTGGAGGCTTCGGAAACTGACTGGTCCCTTTAATA---ATTGGCGCCCCCGACATGGCTTTTCCCCGAATAAACAACATAAGCTTTTGACTTCTGCCTCCCTCTTTTCTGCTCCTACTAGCCTCCTCTATAGTTGAAGCAGGCGTAGGAACTGGTTGAACAGTCTACCCTCCCCTAGCAGGTAATTTAGCCCACGCAGGAGCATCCGTAGATCTA---GCAATCTTCTCACTCCACTTAGCCGGGGTCTCCTCAATCCTCGGCGCCATTAACTTTATCACAACCATCATCAACATAAAACCCCCAGCCATGTCCCAATACCAAACCCCCCTCTTCGTATGATCAGTCCTTATTACAGCTGTCCTACTCCTACTCTCACTGCCAGTTTTAGCAGCA---GGCATTACTATGCTCTTAACAGACCGAAATCTAAACACAACCTTCTTCGACCCTGCAGGAGGCGGAGACCCTATTCTTTACCAACACTTATTCTGATTCTTTGGTCACCCTGAAGTTTACATTCTAATTCTCCCAGGCTTCGGCGTAATCTCCCACATTGTAACTTATTATTCAGGCAAAAAA---GAACCCTTTGGTTATATAGGAATAGTATGAGCTATGATATCCATTGGCTTCCTAGGATTTATTGTTTGAGCTCACCATATATTTACTGTAGGAATAGATGTAGACACTCGCGCATATTTTACATCAGCTACAATAATTATTGCAATTCCCACAGGTGTTAAAGTCTTCAGCTGACTA---GCCACA
-- end --

Download FASTA File
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ochotona curzoniae

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H.

Reviewer/s
Boyer, A.F. & Johnston, C.H. (Lagomorph Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This is a widespread species that occurs in protected areas, but the current status of Chinese populations is declining due to aggressive poisoning campaigns designed to eradicate the species.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Pastoralists have used zinc phosphate to poison black-lipped pikas in hopes of reducing competition with livestock for vegetation. These pikas are not currently threatened, but further persecution and habitat changes may threaten populations in the future.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
There are no data regarding the current status of Ochotona curzoniae populations. It is inferred that declines have resulted during widespread poisoning of pikas throughout its range to control population sizes (Smith et al. 1990).

Population Trend
Decreasing
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
Ochotona curzoniae is the target of mass control in an effort to eliminate competition for vegetation with livestock (Smith et al. 1990). Habitat in India and Nepal has experienced a qualitative and quantitative decline estimated at a rate of less than 10% since 2000 (Chakraborty et al. 2005). This trend is expected to continue until 2010 (Chakraborty et al. 2005). Small-scale logging and fuel wood collection has been identified as a reason for habitat loss (Chakraborty et al. 2005).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is known to be present in Annapurna CP in western Nepal (Chakraborty et al. 2005), Zhumulangmafeng Nature Reserve in China (CSIS 2008), and is presumed to be present in the Qiangtang, Kekexili, Sanjiangyuan, and Aerjinshan Nature Reserves of China. This species is regionally Red Listed as Data Deficient in India and as Vulnerable in Nepal under criteria B2ab(iii) based on IUCN Red Listing Guidelines ver. 3.1 and 3.0 (Chakraborty et al. 2005). It is recommended that research be conducted to determine the status of the Indian and Nepalese populations (Chakraborty et al. 2005). O. curzoniae is a keystone species of the Tibetan plateau, one whose decline as a result of poisoning negatively impacts species richness and abundance (Lai and Smith 2003). Therefore, current efforts to exterminate this species in China should be curtailed. In China, this species has been regionally Red Listed as Least Concern (Wang and Xie 2004).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Black-lipped pikas have been blamed for soil erosion caused by burrowing and also for eating the vegetation normally fed upon by livestock. Generally, soil erosion is present before burrows have been created. At high densities, O. curzoniae populations do compete with livestock for vegetation.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Ochotona curzoniae in low densities eat the foods untouched by livestock, and their excrement fertilizes the plants that livestock do eat.

Positive Impacts: produces fertilizer

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Plateau pika

The plateau pika(Ochotona curzoniae), also known as the black-lipped pika, is a small diurnal and non-hibernating mammal weighing about 140g when full grown. Their main habitat is at elevations of 3200 to 5300 meters above sea level in the meadows of the Tibetan Plateau, an area that contains harsh climates which are cold and dry with temperatures that go as low as -14 degrees Celsius. They are also found in Pakistan, India, and in Nepal in high alpine deserts, steppes and meadows. Plateau pikas are considered to be a keystone species as they play a role in recycling nutrients in soil, providing food to predators such as; foxes, weasels, falcons, Asia pole cat, upland buzzard, and owls. They also provide microhabitats by increasing plant richness and their burrows provides nests for small birds and reptiles.

Mating and Population[edit]

Plateau pikas have mating systems such as monogamous and polygynandrous groups, which contain about 3 males and 3 to 4 females per family along with their offspring. Females can produce 2 to 5 litters of about 2 to 7 offspring with a 3 week interval in between each litter which is why this group of lagomorphs are known to have the fastest growth rates of their order. Their breeding season lasts from April to August and the young do not disperse in the year of birth. Males form hierarchies and females are usually philopatric forming reproductive alliances, helping each other in the care of their offspring, males also contribute in parental care when deterring a predator by emitting an alarm call. Males and females both contribute in protecting their family groups from intruders displaying aggressive behaviors towards others who are not part of their family.

Adaptations[edit]

Since plateau pikas live in such extremely cold environments and are a non-hibernating species, they have acquired physiological adaptations to better assist with their survival. These adaptations include their high resting metabolic rate and non- shivering thermogenesis along with the production of leptin which is a thermogenesis regulatory hormone.

Conservation and Management[edit]

The plateau pika as well as being considered to be a keystone species is also considered to as a pest because of the degradation is causes to crops which causes a competition in foraging with the livestock of farmers such as yaks, sheep, horses, etc., which in turn affects their lively hood. The plateau pika is an herbivore that eats plants such as; bog sedge/krobesia, grasses, perennial, turf, etc. Farmers believed that a good method to manage pikas and stop them from foraging in their land was to start poisoning programs which began to cause secondary poisoning which was believed to lead to loss of biodiversity. However the attempts in poisoning the pikas did not have a long term affect as they would repopulate within the next breeding season and would return to the same population size. A second form of management is fencing, which also did not prove to be very successful in preventing foraging by the plateau pika. It is generally agreed that a solution will need to include improving livestock management and pest control, biologist believe that a way to accomplish this would be to gain a better understanding of how populations of pikas respond to control programs so that they can change the patterns of livestock grazing. Therefore because of their rapid growth pikas are considered to be considered an animal of least concern.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, A.T. & Johnston, C.H. (2008). Ochotona curzoniae. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 10 April 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.

Pech, Roger (2007). "."Population Dynamics And Responses To Management Of Plateau Pikas Ochotona Curzoniae."". Journal of Applied Ecology 44.3: 615–624. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2012.09.005. 

Jiapeng, Qu (2012). "Original Investigation: Life History Of The Plateau Pika (Ochotona Curzoniae) In Alpine Meadows Of The Tibetan Plateau.". Mammalian Biology 78: 68–72. 

Zhao, Xin Quan (2011). "Functional Evolution Of Leptin Of Ochotona Curzoniae In Adaptive Thermogenesis Driven By Cold Environmental Stress". Plos ONE 6.6: 1–11. 

Zhang, Yanming. Mammalian Biology 74. 

Zhang, Yanming. "Original Investigation: Male Reproductive Success In Plateau Pikas (Ochotona Curzoniae): A Microsatellite Analysis". Mammalian Biology 74: 344–350. 

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!