Tamaulipas, Mexico through most of the Yucatan Peninsula and to northwest Costa Rica. It is usually found at elevations between 300 and 3000 meters.
Reid (1997), Leopold (1959), Best (1995)
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
Head and body length: 181-225 mm
Tail length: 155-197 mm
Hind footh length: 46-55 mm
Ear length: 21-30 mm
Sciurus deppei (Deppe's squirrel) is a small squirrel. Its upperparts are brown, ranging from dark olive brown to reddish brown. Its underparts are paler, usually white or a pale shade of grey. The ears are medium-sized and without long tufts. The tail is short, narrow, and usually dark brown with a border of pale-tipped hairs. According to some reports, the forelegs and feet can be a shade of dark grey rather than brown.
Deppe's squirrel can be told from most other squirrels of this region by its small size, short tail, and medium-sized ears. It can be told apart from Sciurus richmondi and Sciurus granatensis by its pale, not orange, underparts.
Best (1995), Reid (1997)
Range mass: 191 to 219 g.
Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean Mangroves Habitat
This taxon is found in the Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves ecoregion, but not necessarily exclusive to this region.The Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves occupy a long expanse of disjunctive coastal zone along the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico for portions of Central America and Mexico. The ecoregion has a very high biodiversity and species richness of mammals, amphibians and reptiles. As with most mangrove systmems, the Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean ecoregion plays an important role in shoreline erosion prevention from Atlantic hurricanes and storms; in addition these mangroves are significant in their function as a nursery for coastal fishes, turtles and other marine organisms.
This disjunctive Neotropical ecoregion is comprised of elements lying along the Gulf of Mexico coastline of Mexico south of the Tampico area, and along the Caribbean Sea exposures of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.There are 507 distinct vertebrate species that have been recorded in the Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves ecoregion.
Chief mangrove tree species found in the central portion of the ecoregion (e.g. Belize) are White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), and Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans); Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) is a related tree associate. Red mangrove tends to occupy the more seaward niches, while Black mangrove tends to dominate the more upland niches. Other plant associates occurring in this central part of the ecoregion are Swamp Caway (Pterocarpus officinalis), Provision Tree (Pachira auatica) and Marsh Fern (Acrostichum aureum).
The Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves ecoregion has a number of mammalian species, including: Mexican Agouti (Dasyprocta mexicana, CR); Mexican Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra, EN); Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii, EN); Central American Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi, EN); Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla); Deppe's Squirrel (Sciurus deppei), who ranges from Tamaulipas, Mexico to the Atlantic versant of Costa Rica; Jaguar (Panthera onca, NT), which requires a large home range and hence would typically move between the mangroves and more upland moist forests; Margay (Leopardus wiedii, NT); Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata); Mexican Big-eared Bat (Plecotus mexicanus, NT), a species found in the mangroves, but who mostly roosts in higher elevation caves; Central American Cacomistle (Bassariscus sumichrasti).
A number of reptiles have been recorded within the ecoregion including the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas, EN); Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, CR); Central American River Turtle (Dermatemys mawii, CR), distributed along the Atlantic drainages of southern Mexico to Guatemala; Morelets Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii, LR/CD), a crocodile found along the mangroves of Yucatan, Belize and the Atlantic versant of Guatemala.
Some of the other reptiles found in this ecoregion are the Adorned Graceful Brown Snake (Rhadinaea decorata); Allen's Coral Snake (Micrurus alleni); Eyelash Palm Pitviper (Bothriechis schlegelii); False Fer-de-lance (Xenodon rabdocephalus); Blood Snake (Stenorrhina freminvillei); Bridled Anole (Anolis frenatus); Chocolate Anole (Anolis chocorum), found in Panamanian and Colombian lowland and mangrove subcoastal forests; Furrowed Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys areolata. NT); Brown Wood Turtle (LR/NT); Belize Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus insularis), which occurs only in this ecoregion along with the Peten-Veracruz moist forests.
Salamanders found in this ecoregion are: Cukra Climbing Salamander (Bolitoglossa striatula); Rufescent Salamander (Bolitoglossa rufescens); Alta Verapaz Salamander (Bolitoglossa dofleini, NT), the largest tropical lungless salamander, whose coastal range spans Honduras, Guatemala and the Cayo District of Belize; Colombian Worm Salamander (Oedipina parvipes), which occurs from central Panama to Colombia; La Loma Salamander (Bolitoglossa colonnea), a limited range taxon occurring only in portions of Costa Rica and Panama;.Central American Worm Salamander (Oedipina elongata), who inhabits very moist habitats; Cienega Colorado Worm Salamander (Oedipina uniformis, NT), a limited range taxon found only in parts of Costa Rica and Panama, including higher elevation forests than the mangroves; Limon Worm Salamander (Oedipina alfaroi, VU), a restricted range caecilian found only on the Atlantic versant of Costa Rica and extreme northwest Panama. Caecilians found in the ecoregion are represented by: La Loma Caecilian (Dermophis parviceps), an organism found in the Atlantic versant of Panama and Costa Rica up to elevation 1200 metres
- C.Michael Hogan & World Wildlife Fund. 2013. "Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves".. Encyclopedia of Earth, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington DC ed.Peter Saundry
- William G. D'Arcy, D. Mireya and A. Correa. 1985. The Botany and Natural History of Panama, Universidad de Panamá. , 455 pages
Habitat and Ecology
This squirrel is diurnal. It may be seen resting quietly on a low branch with its tail over its back or moving with great speed and agility through epiphyte-laden tress or vines in middle and upper canopy levels. It sometimes descends to the ground to feed or to cross clearings but is mainly arboreal. This species dens in tree cavities or makes leaf nests on branches 6 to 20 m above ground (Coates-Estrata and Estrada 1986; Leopold 1959). Its diet includes seeds and fruit, including figs, Manilkara zapora, Brosimum alicastrum, and Poulsenia armata. Fungi, shoots, and leaves are also eaten. It is usually solitary, silent, and inconspicuous, but sometimes calls with high-pitched trills and twitters. Groups are occasionally seen feeding together. Young are born near the end of the dry season (Reid 1997).
Deppe's squirrel is locally common in areas of dense forest vegetation and high humidity. It is found in all kinds of tropical forest, including oak forest, pine-oak forest, cloud forest, ebony forest, and lowland forest. It disappears from areas that are highly disturbed by agriculture.
Reid (1997), Best (1995), Leopold (1959)
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
Deppe's squirrel feeds on seeds, fruit, and foliage. Analysis of Deppe's squirrel diets have shown it eats figs, fungi, acorns, berries, and the fruits of trees such as Brosimum alicastrum, Cymbopetalum baillonii, Pinus caribea, Poulsenia armata, and Manilkara zapota. Most of the time it is an arboreal feeder, but it has been seen on the forest floor eating fungi, berries, and acorns.
Deppe's squirrel can do great damage to corn crops, especially when corn crops are situated in clearings of dense tropical forest. Deppe's squirrel eats the corn in a characteristic way, by cutting away a portion of the husk and eating only part of the corn ear beneath. Since Deppe's squirrels are too small to be a good food source, they are mainly killed to prevent crop damage.
Best (1995), Leopold (1950), Reid (1997), Estrada and Coates-Estrada (1985)
Life History and Behavior
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Deppe's squirrel can breed year-round, but the average number of litters born each year is not known. Typically young are born at the end of the dry season, and the litter size varies between two and eight but is usually four. Males show enlarged testes when they are sexually active.
There is one report that Deppe's squirrel is able to breed with Sciurus yucatanensis, but it is not known whether or not the offspring were fertile.
Best (1995), Reid (1997), Leopold (1959), Gaumer (1917) in Leopold (1959)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sciurus deppei
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
CITES Appendix III (Costa Rica). This species is only locally common to areas of undisturbed forest. Conservation of Deppe's squirrel will depend on conservation of its habitat.
CITES: appendix iii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Deppe's squirrel is known for the damage it can do to corn crops, but the squirrel is rarely found in highly agricultural areas. The damage it does to corn crops is usually confined to farms or milpas surrounded by undisturbed forest.
Leopold (1959), Best (1995)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There are no specific account of positive benefits for humans, but Deppe's squirrel may assist in the dispersal of tropical plant seeds and spores.
- Koprowski, J., Roth, L., Woodman, N., Matson, J., Emmons, L. & Reid, F. (2008). Sciurus deppei. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
- Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffmann, R.S. (2005). "Sciurus (Sciurus) deppei". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. 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.
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