Sergey N. Gashev, head of the department of zoology and evolutionary ecology of animals, Tyumen State University (625043 Tyumen, Pirogov St., 3, room 407); e-mail:
Svetlana G. Babina, deputy director for science, «Zapovednoe Pribaikalye» (664050, Irkutsk region, Irkutsk, Baykalskaya St., 291b); e-mail:
Svetlana N. Bondarchuk, research associate, Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve (692150 Terney, Terneyskiy region, Primorskiy area, Partizanskaya St. 44); e-mail:
Vera K. Vasilyeva, research engineer of laboratory of ecosystem researches of cold regions, Institute of biological problems of Cryolithozone SB RAS (Yakutsk, Lenin Avenue, 41); e-mail:
Evgenia P. Vyguzova, keeper of a zoological collection, Perm museum of local lore (614000 Perm, Monastyrskaya St., 11); e-mail:
Igor V. Zenjko, deputy director for protection of the territory of the reserve and subordinated wildlife areas, State Nature Reserve Malaya Sosva (628242, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Sovetsky district. Soviet, Lenina St., 46); e-mail:
Alexey V. Krutikov, deputy director for ecological education, Upper Taz Nature Reserve (629380, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Krasnoselkupsky area, village of Krasnoselkup, Stroiteley St., 18); e-mail:
Elena V. Kulebyakina, senior research associate, National park «Vodlozersky» (185002, Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, Parkovaya St., 44); e-mail:
Juri P. Kurhinen, research associate of Helsinki University, leading researcher of Forestry Research Institute of Karelian Research Centre RAS (185035 Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, Pushkinskaya St., 11); e-mail:
Dmitry S. Nizovtsev, graduate student of the Tyumen State University (625043 Tyumen, Pirogov St., 3, room 407); e-mail:
Innokentiy M. Okhlopkov, acting director, Institute of biological problems of Cryolithozone SB RAS (Yakutsk, Lenin Avenue, 41); e-mail:
Aleksander P. Savelyev, chief researcher of Department of ecology of animals, Russian Research Institute of Game Management and Fur Farming of B.M. Zhitkov (610000 Kirov region, Kirov, st. of Engels, 79); e-mail:
Natalya V. Sorokina, associate professor of zoology and evolutionary ecology of animals of the Tyumen State University (625043 Tyumen, Pirogov St., 3, room 407); e-mail:

Reference to article

Gashev S.N., Babina S.G., Bondarchuk S.N., Vasilyeva V.K., Vyguzova E.P., Zenjko I.V., Krutikov A.V., Kulebyakina E.V., Kurhinen Ju.P., Nizovtsev D.S., Okhlopkov I.M., Savelyev A.P., Sorokina N.V. 2019. Intraspecies differentiation of winter fur colouring of Pteromys volans (Sciuridae, Mammalia) within its range. Nature Conservation Research 4(4): 65–72.

Section Research articles

Pteromys volans (Siberian flying squirrel) inhabits major part of temperate forests in Eurasia. The species is represented by 10 subspecies within its range. To distinguish the subspecies, such a morphological indicator as the skin colouring is used. This article represents the peculiarities of the Siberian flying squirrel's fur colouring in different areas of the species range taking into account the intraspecific fur differentiation.The latter is determined using the original author's methodics. We propose to use objective colourimetric parameters («whiteness» and «shade of red colour») as diagnostic indicators for describing the fur cover. It can be quantified using RGB values (values of red, green and blue filtres) in almost any graphic editor. Whiteness is the arithmetic mean of the R, G and B values, while the shade of red colour is the ratio of R to whiteness. The fur of subspecies individuals inhabiting coastal regions with a warmer and more humid climate is characterised by the lowest whiteness. Subspecies individuals from the continental regions characterising by a more continental climate have generally greater whiteness and the highest values of whiteness are recorded in areas located at more northern latitudes. The value of the shade of red colour was higher in the colouration among the P. volans subspecies living near the Pacific Ocean coast. The dispersion analysis of the climatic factor effects (humidity and temperature) showed that the degree of humidity influence was maximal in both colour indicators, and it amounts 29.1% for whiteness and 20.5% for a shade of red colour. The temperature effect was less than humidity effect; it accounted for 18.7% for whiteness and 1.3% for a shade of red colour. The combined effect of these climatic factors on the whiteness and shade of red colour was 14.5% and 12.0%, respectively. Besides of environmental factors, the intraspecific differentiation of the P. volans fur colour could also be explained by the peculiarities of its subspecies phylogeography. In general, we have demonstrated that the used colourimetric fur indicators, being determined by the proposed method, were estimated to be statistically adequate and representative to distinguish the subspecies of P. volans.


graphic editor, Red Data Book, shade of red colour, subspecies, whiteness

Artice information

Received: 10.06.2019. Revised: 10.09.2019. Accepted: 12.09.2019.

The full text of the article

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