Marmota monax UL 04.jpg
Groundhog at Laval University campus, Quebec, Canada
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Marmota
M. monax
Binomial name
Marmota monax
  • M. m. monax Linnaeus, 1758
  • M. m. canadensis Erxleben, 1777
  • M. m. ignava Bangs, 1899
  • M. m. rufescens A. H. Howell, 1914
Marmota monax range.png
Groundhog range

Mus monax Linnaeus, 1758
Arctomys monax (Linnaeus, 1758)

The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots.[2] The groundhog is a lowland creature of North America; it is found through much of the eastern United States, across Canada and into Alaska.[3] It was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758.[4]

The groundhog is also referred to as a chuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistlepig,[5][6] whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, red monk,[6] land beaver,[7] and, among French Canadians in eastern Canada, siffleux.[8]

The name "thickwood badger" was given in the Northwest to distinguish the animal from the prairie badger. Monax (Móonack) is an Algonquian name of the woodchuck, which means "digger" (cf. Lenape monachgeu).[9][10] Young groundhogs may be called chucklings.[11]:66

The groundhog, being a lowland animal, is exceptional among marmots. Other marmots, such as the yellow-bellied and hoary marmots, live in rocky and mountainous areas. Groundhogs play an important role maintaining healthy soil in woodland and plain areas. The groundhog is considered a crucial habitat engineer.[12][13][14] Groundhogs are considered the most solitary of the marmot species. They live in aggregations, and their social organization also varies across populations. Groundhogs don't form stable, long-term pair-bonds, and during mating season male-female interactions are limited to copulation. In Ohio, adult males and females associate with each other throughout the year and often from year to year.[15][16] Groundhogs are an extremely intelligent animal forming complex social networks, able to understand social behavior, form kinship with their young, understand and communicate threats through whistling, and work cooperatively to solve tasks such as burrowing.[17][18]

  1. ^ Linzey, A. V.; Hammerson, G. (NatureServe) & Cannings, S. (NatureServe) (2008). "Marmota monax". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  2. ^ Thorington, R.W., Jr.; Hoffman, R.S. (2005). "Family Sciuridae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 802. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ "Marmota monax, Woodchuck". North American Mammals. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
  4. ^ Linné, Carl von (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae. 1 (10 ed.). Impensis Direct. Laurentii Salvii. p. 60 – via Biodiversity Heritage Library.
  5. ^ "Marmota monax". North American Mammals. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b Seton, Ernest Thompson. Lives of Game Animals. Volume IV. p. 300. |volume= has extra text (help)
  7. ^ Keck, Nina. "Where Do The Terms 'Woodchuck' And 'Flatlander' Come From?". Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  8. ^ Canadian Wildlife Federation - Faune et flore du pays - La marmotte commune
  9. ^ Chamberlain, Alexander F. (22 November 2018). "Algonkian Words in American English: A Study in the Contact of the White Man and the Indian". The Journal of American Folklore. 15 (59): 240–267. doi:10.2307/533199. JSTOR 533199.
  10. ^ Seton, Ernest Thompson, Lives of Game Animals. pp. 300–301
  11. ^ Schoonmaker, W.J. (1966). The World of the Woodchuck. J.B. Lippincott. ISBN 978-1135544836.
  12. ^ Meier, Paul T. (December 1, 1992). "Social organization of woodchucks (Marmota monax)". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 31 (6): 393–400. doi:10.1007/BF00170606. S2CID 44244749 – via Springer Link.
  13. ^ Pustilnik, Jeremy D.; Searle, Jeremy B.; Curtis, Paul D. (2021). "The effects of red fox scent on winter activity patterns of suburban wildlife: evaluating predator-prey interactions and the importance of groundhog burrows in promoting biodiversity". Urban Ecosystems. 24 (3): 529–547. doi:10.1007/s11252-020-01056-5 – via Springer Link.
  14. ^ Moore, Alexis Lee; Butcher, Michael (May 18, 2011). "Functional specialization in the forelimbs of two digging mammals: the American badger (Taxidea taxus) and groundhog (Marmota monax)". The FASEB Journal. 25 (S1): 867.12. doi:10.1096/fasebj.25.1_supplement.867.12 – via Wiley Online Library.
  15. ^ Christine R. Maher, Melissa Duron, Mating system and paternity in woodchucks (Marmota monax) Journal of Mammalogy, Volume 91, Issue 3, 16 June 2010, Pages 628-635,
  16. ^ Gary G. Kwiencinski, Marmota monax, Mammalian Species, Issue 591, 4 December 1998, Pages 1-8,
  17. ^ Maher, Christine R. (2009). "Genetic Relatedness and Space Use in a Behaviorally Flexible Species of Marmot, the Woodchuck (Marmota monax)" (PDF). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 63 (6): 857–868. doi:10.1007/s00265-009-0726-5. JSTOR 40295409. S2CID 20892108.
  18. ^ A test of the acoustic adaptation hypothesis in four speciesof marmots, by JANICE C. DANIEL & DANIEL T. BLUMSTEIN, Department of Systematics and Ecology, University of Kansas. Published by The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

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