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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Pika - Ochotona princeps


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

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Copyright Jeff Rice, all rights reserved. Audio file courtesy of the Acoustic Atlas at Montana State University (www.acousticatlas.org)
 
General Description
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Species Range
Montana Range

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Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 850

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Talus slides, boulder fields, rock rubble (with interstitial spaces adequate for habitation) near meadows. Usually at high elevation but mid-elevation possible if suitable rock cover and food plants present (Hoffmann and Pattie 1968).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2012.  Mammals of Montana.  Second edition.  Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana.  429 pp.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Animals feed on hay individually. In Glacier National Park hay piles stored under rocks (Barash 1973). Uses haystack during winter. Will reingest feces (Chapman 1979).

Ecology
Socially intolerant and territorial. Intraspecific intolerance increases steadily following mating in late spring, is highest in late summer (Barash 1973). Makes alarm and territorial vocalizations.

Reproductive Characteristics
Peak of breeding season is May and June. All yearling and adult females have reproductive potential for 1 to 2 litter/season. Young begin to be weaned at 12 days (Banfield 1974).

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Barash, D.P. 1973. Territorial and foraging behavior of pika (Ochotona princeps) in Montana. American Midland Naturalist 89:202-207.
    • Chapman, J.A. 1979. Rabbits, hares, and pikas. Pp. 81-97 in: Grosvenor, G. M. (ed). Wild animals of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington. 406 pp.
    • Hoffmann, R.S. and D.L. Pattie. 1968. A guide to Montana mammals: identification, habitat, distribution, and abundance. University of Montana, Missoula. 133 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Adelman, E.B. 1979. A survey of the nongame mammals in the Upper Rattlesnake Creek drainage of western Montana. M.S. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula. 129 pp.
    • Barash, D.P. 1973. Habitat utilization in three species of subalpine mammals. Journal of Mammalogy. 54(1): 247-250.
    • Beak Consultants, Inc. 1983. Wildlife. January 1983. In Stillwater Project Environmental Studies. Addendum A, Wildlife. Vol. I. Tech. Report No. 7. 1982.
    • Broadbooks, H.E. 1965. Ecology and Distribution of the Pikas of Washington and Alaska. Amer. Mid. Nat. 73(2)-299-335.
    • Chapman, J.A. and Flux, J.E.C. 1990. Rabbits, hares and pikas, status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/SSC Lagomorph Specialist Group.
    • Dice, L.R. 1923. Mammal associations and habitats of the Flathead Lake Region, Montana. Ecology 4(3): 247-260.
    • Eng, R.L. 1976. Wildlife Baseline Study [for West Fork of the Stillwater and Picket Pin drainages]
    • Fikkan, P., J. Fikkan, J. Collier, and R. Kresek. 1973. Some observations of a Fisher at close range. The Murrelet 54(2):22
    • Foresman, K.R. 2001. The wild mammals of Montana. American Society of Mammalogists, Special Publication Number 12. Lawrence, KS. 278 pp.
    • Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
    • Hoffmann, R.S., P.L. Wright, and F.E. Newby. 1969. The distribution of some mammals in Montana. I. Mammals other than bats. Journal of Mammalogy 50(3): 579-604.
    • Jellison, W. L. 1947. An undetermined parasite in the lungs of a rock rabbit, Ochotona princeps richardson (Lagomorphia: ochotonidae). Proc. Helminthological Soc. of Washington. 14:75-77.
    • Martin, K. 1943 The Colorado Pika. J. Mammal. 24:394-396.
    • Moore, R. L. K. 1987. Daily and seasonal activity patterns of the pika in Southwestern Montana. M. S. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. pp 61.
    • OEA Research, Helena, MT., 1982, Beal Mine Wildlife Report. June 17, 1982.
    • Pattie, D.L. and N.A. M. Verbeek. 1967. Alpine mammals of the Beartooth Plateau. Northwest Science 41(3): 110-117.
    • Pruitt, W.O. Jr. 1954. Notes on Colorado Phenacomys and pika. J. Mammal. 35:450-452.
    • Ray, Chris. 2006. 2006 Project Report: Testing hypothesized links between climate change and the decline of the American Pika. University of Colorado, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCB 334, Boulder, CO 80309-0334, cray@colorado.edu , 303-735-1495.
    • Reichel, J.D. 1986. Habitat use by alpine mammals in the Pacific Northwest. Arctic and Alpine Research. 18(1): 111-119.
    • Reid, F. 2006. Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America, 4th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston and New York, 608 pp.
    • Rust, H. J. 1946. Mammals of northern Idaho. J. Mammal. 27(4): 308-327.
    • Smith, A.T. 1974. The distribution and dispersal of pikas - influences of behavior and climate. Ecology 55(6): 1368-1376.
    • Smith, A.T., and M.L. Weston. 1990. Ochotona princeps. Mamm. Species 352:1-8.
    • Southwick, C.H., S.C. Golian, M.R. Whitworth, J.C. Halfpenny, and R. Brown. 1986. Population density and fluctuations of pikas (Ochotona princeps) in Colorado. Journal of Mammalogy 67:149-153.
    • Thompson, Richard W., Western Resource Dev. Corp., Boulder, CO., 1996, Wildlife baseline report for the Montana [Montanore] Project, Lincoln and Sanders counties, Montana. In Application for a Hard Rock Operating Permit and Proposed Plan of Operation, Montanore Project, Lincoln and Sanders Counties, Montana. Vol. 5. Stroiazzo, John. Noranda Minerals Corp., Libby, MT. Revised September 1996.
    • Tyser, R.W. 1980. Use of substrate for surveillance behaviors in a community of talus slope mammals. The American Midland Naturalist 104(1): 32-38.
    • Tyser, Robin W. 1978. Foraging and substrate use patterns in talus slope mammals. PhD Dissertation. University of Wisconsin-Madison. 142pp.
    • Wiseley, A.N. 1973. Patterns of variation in populations of the pika (Ochotona princeps). M.S. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula 107 pp.
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Pika — Ochotona princeps.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from