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The normal gray-red color phase of Sciurus aureogaster (from which the common name Mexican red-bellied squirrel is derived), typically consists of a salt-and-pepper dorsal pelage combined with a bright rufous belly and flank, although the appearance of this squirrel is highly variable. The rufous color of the flank spreads dorsally over the area of the forelimbs and shoulder to form a striking hour-glass shaped marking over the back. A second color phase, as seen in the introduced Florida population, is totally black with no other markings. Most of these melanistic squirrels have a reddish tint to the underfur on the back and rump (Brown and McGuire 1975).