Belding's ground squirrel

Bel·​ding's ground squirrel | \ ˈbel-diŋz- How to pronounce Belding's ground squirrel (audio) \

Definition of Belding's ground squirrel

: a ground squirrel (Spermophilus beldingi synonym Urocitellus beldingi) of the northwestern U.S. that typically lives in large colonies in alpine meadows and that is grayish with a broad, brown band extending along the center of its back Classic studies beginning in 1977 showed that female Belding's ground squirrels sound alarms or defend burrows to help their mothers, sister, or daughters.— Susan Milius, Science News, 30 Mar. 2002

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of Belding's ground squirrel

1918, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Belding's ground squirrel

after Lyman Belding †1917 American naturalist and ornithologist

Note: The vernacular name is based on the taxon, originally Spermophilus beldingi, assigned to the animal by the zoologist and ethnographer Clinton Hart Merriam (1855-1942) in “Description of a New Spermophile from California, Spermophilus beldingi, sp. nov.” (“Read December 17th, 1888”), Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 4 (1887-89), pp. 317-21. Merriam’s description was based on a specimen sent to him by Lyman Belding “from the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in Placer Co., California”; he goes on to say “I take pleasure in naming it in honor of its discoverer, Mr. L. Belding, of Stockton, California, whose contributions to the knowledge of the zoology of the region, particularly its ornithology, entitle him to lasting remembrance” (p. 317).

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About Belding's ground squirrel

Time Traveler for Belding's ground squirrel

Time Traveler

The first known use of Belding's ground squirrel was in 1918

See more words from the same year

Statistics for Belding's ground squirrel

Cite this Entry

“Belding's ground squirrel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!