Until recently, genus Spermophilus included most of the ground squirrels in Marmotini, but this grouping was found to be paraphyletic. A 2007 revision on phylogenetic lines split the old genus into a number of clades, substantially increasing the number of genera in Marmotini. Where distinction is necessary, the genus as presently configured may be referred to as Spermophilus sensu stricto. For details see Spermophilus on Wikipedia.
New Latin, from Ancient Greek σπέρμα (sperma, “seed, semen”) + φίλος (philos, “fond of”).