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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Collection: Species Details Lewis and Clark as Naturalists
Mammal    Species Name:
Tamias townsendii

Common Name:
Townsend's Chipmunk


Fort Clatsop, Oregon   February 25, 1806

it differs not at all . . .

Well, in this case, Lewis missed describing a new species.  What he meant is that it differs not at all from the eastern chipmunk.  But had he given Townsend's chipmunk a little more attention he would have found the pattern of facial and dorsal stripes on its fur to be quite distinct.  And if he had looked even closer he may have noticed three upper cheek teeth compared to four in the eastern chipmunk.  John K. Townsend collected the first specimen in 1834 or 1835.  He made notes worth repeating.  "This pretty little fellow, so much resembling our common striatus, is quite common.  It lives in holes in the ground; running over your foot as you traverse the woods.  It frequently perches itself upon a log or stump, and keeps up a continual clucking, which is usually answered by another at some distance, for a considerable time."

For more information about this North American mammal, click here.

Journal Entries:

Capt. Lewis, February 25, 1806--the ground squirrel is found in every part of the country, as well as the praries and woodlands, and is one ...  more>>

References Bachman, John Woodhouse, Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 8, Pt. 1, , 1839

see following caption

See following caption
Townsend's chipmunk

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