dcsimg

Behavior

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Communication and perception are underrepresented in literature. High-pitch vocalization may be produced in high stress situations, such as hostile contacts with potential predators. As in most mammals, it is likely that these voles use some forms of tactile communication during reproduction. Visual cues may also be used.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; infrared/heat ; tactile ; acoustic ; vibrations ; chemical

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Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Conservation Status

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Northern red-backed voles are usually common and not protected throughout their range.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Benefits

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Northern red-backed voles readily invade human structures and dwellings. In high densities they can cause damage to farm crops. Interstitial pneumonia and interstitial nephritis were documented in northern red-backed voles, but involvement of viral agents was only suggested. No published information is available on viral or bacterial health threats.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings); crop pest; household pest

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Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Benefits

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Northern red-backed voles have been used as laboratory animals, but require more care and skill in handling than mice.

Positive Impacts: research and education

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Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
author
Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Associations

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Northern red-backed voles act as plant and fungi dispersers (by caching seeds, breaking and relocating parts of vegetation, and ingestion and excretion of spores). They also play an important role as prey to many carnivorous predators, because they are active all winter long when other prey becomes less abundant.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

Species Used as Host:

  • None known.
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bibliographic citation
Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Trophic Strategy

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Diet varies and includes berries, leaves, shoots, buds, and seeds of various plants, epigeous and hypogeous fungi, and lichens. Their diet includes a large variety of plant materials in the summer when plants are abundant. Voles gather and store food in their nests and the stored food comprises most of their diet during the winter months. Small invertebrates may occasionally be included in the diet and animal foods (e.g. eggs, cat/dog food) are sometimes fed in captivity.

Animal Foods: eggs; carrion ; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks; terrestrial worms

Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; nectar; pollen; flowers; sap or other plant fluids; bryophytes; lichens

Other Foods: fungus

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )

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Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
author
Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Distribution

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Myodes rutilus is a Holarctic species first described from Siberia. It occurs in northern Europe, Asia, Alaska, and Canada.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic ; palearctic

Other Geographic Terms: holarctic

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Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Habitat

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Northern red-backed voles are found in a wide range of terrestrial habitats. They are commonly found in tundra, taiga, and shrub forests. Greatest population densities were recorded in overgrown talus slopes and in stands of dwarf willow, alder, and dwarf birch.

Range elevation: 1800 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; polar ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: tundra ; taiga ; forest ; scrub forest

Wetlands: marsh ; swamp ; bog

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

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bibliographic citation
Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
author
Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Life Expectancy

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Northern red-backed voles normally survive less than 2 years in the wild; however, average lifespan information varies among publications and is probably affected by locally and temporally varying factors, such as food availability, predation, population density, seasonal weather patterns, etc. Adult mortality is highest in winter and is directly proportional to weather severity. Based on published information, it is unclear whether mortality results mostly from predation, starvation, aging, or other causes.

Range lifespan
Status: wild:
2 (high) years.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
728 (high) days.

Typical lifespan
Status: wild:
12 (high) months.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
6 months.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
203 days.

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bibliographic citation
Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
author
Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Morphology

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Northern red-backed voles are medium mouse-sized, reaching an average total length of 130 to 158 mm and usually weighing about 30 g. The tail is 30 to 40 mm long, hind foot is 18.5 to 21.0 mm long and ears are 10 to 14 mm long. Pelage is light gray with the dorsal surface exhibiting rusty-to-reddish color. Color intensity varies with season (darkest in winter), geographic distribution, and subspecies. The tail is dark gray dorsally, yellow ventrally, and densely covered with hair. Terminal hairs on the tail are often long and dark.

At least 10 subspecies have been described, but researchers differ on the species composition and subspecies validity. Juvenile pelage is similar to adults. There are 8 mammae. The dental formula is I1/1 C0/0 P0/0 M3/3 = 16. Basal metabolic rate is not reported, but average respiratory frequency in normoxic atmosphere is 120 breaths per minute.

Myodes rutilus may sometimes be confused with Myodes gapperi along the southern boundary of the species range. The two species can be distinguished, however, because M. rutilus has brighter reddish coloration than does M. gapperi. Also, the tail of M. rutilus is shorter and thicker than that of M. gapperi.

Range mass: 20 to 40 g.

Range length: 130 to 158 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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bibliographic citation
Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Associations

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Northern red-backed voles are common prey to many carnivores and raptors. Cryptic coloration and crepuscular behavior are both antipredatory adaptations.

Known Predators:

  • Predatory birds
  • American marten
  • Arctic fox
  • red fox
  • short-tail weasel
  • coyote

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
author
Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Reproduction

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Species-specific information on the mating system is not available for wild populations. However, captive colonies in laboratory settings were reported to be promiscuous.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Northern red-backed voles breed from May until September, usually beginning breeding when the snow melts. They can be prolific, producing as many as 5 litters during this time. Postpartum estrus in females helps to increase the rate of reproduction. Winter breeding has been reported to be infrequent.

Pregnancy lasts from 17 to 19 days. Litters of M. rutilus range from 1 to 9, although litters are commonly of 6 to 8 young. The young develop rapidly, and are weaned by about 18 days of age. The young voles become independent at the time of weaning. Reproductive maturity is reached at a minimum age of 2 months. The percentage of sexually mature juveniles varies inversely with population density.

Breeding interval: Northern red-backed voles can breed up to 5 times in a year. Breeding mostly occurs in the warmer months. One study reported it takes a minimum of 20.5 days between litters.

Breeding season: Breeding season generally occurs May to September, but may be longer or shorter depending on climate and weather conditions. One study suggests that the onset of breeding season is related to timing of snow ablation.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 9.

Average number of offspring: 5.4.

Range gestation period: 17 to 19 days.

Average weaning age: 18 days.

Average time to independence: 18 days.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 (low) months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 (low) months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous ; post-partum estrous

Males participate in copulation only and do not take any part in parental care. Captive females are reported to enlarge and improve nests prior to giving birth by collecting and modifying soft materials. Both males and females occasionally cannibalize young. It is difficult to estimate average litter sizes and numbers of weaned offspring in the wild, because weaning periods are short and weaned offspring tend to migrate as soon as they leave the nest. As a result, population recruitment rates include immigration, which makes it difficult to estimate reproduction. Captive females that produced average litters of 4.9 offspring weaned only 3.6 young per litter.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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bibliographic citation
Belik, T. 2005. "Myodes rutilus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Myodes_rutilus.html
editor
Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
author
Tom Belik, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Link Olson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Associated Plant Communities

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the terms: fern, forbs, forest, lichens, shrubland

Northern red-backed voles live in a variety of northern forest and
shrubland habitats [1,6].  They occur in every major forest type in
central Alaska [21].  Plant species commonly found in areas occupied by
northern red-backed voles include black spruce (Picea mariana), white
spruce (P. glauca), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), paper birch
(Betula papyrifera), alder (Alnus spp.), willow (Salix spp.), mountain
cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), blueberry and bilberry (Vaccinium
spp.), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), and a variety of grasses and
forbs.  Important fungi, mosses and lichens include truffle (Endogone
fascilulata), Schreber's moss (Pleurozium schreberi), mountain fern moss
(Hylocomium splendens), sphagnum (Sphagnum spp.), and lichens (Cladonia
and Peltigera spp.) [2,21].


REFERENCES :
NO-ENTRY
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Common Names

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the term: tundra

northern red-backed vole
tundra vole
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cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Cover Requirements

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the terms: cover, forest, presence

Northern red-backed voles inhabit areas that contain dense ground cover
for protection from weather and predation [19,21].  On the Kenai
National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Alaska, the presence of
northern red-backed voles was positively correlated with protective
cover [2].  During the winter, northern red-backed voles use layers of
thick moss or matted vegetation as thermal cover [20,21].  During the
mid-winter months in a spruce forest of central Alaska, all northern
red-backed voles on a control area aggregated in a small area of thick
moss cover, despite abundant food resources elsewhere on the trapping
grid [21].
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Distribution

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
The northern red-backed vole is a holarctic species distributed from
northern Scandinavia across the Russian Republics and, in North America,
from Alaska to the Hudson Bay [1].  The specific ranges of the
subspecies are not described in the literature.
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Food Habits

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the terms: bog, forbs, lichens, shrubs

Northern red-backed voles eat the leaves, buds, twigs and berries of
numerous shrubs; they also eat forbs, fungi, mosses, lichens, and
occasionally insects [1,2,21].  Berries are generally the major food
item in the diet of northern red-backed voles and are eaten whenever
available.  In central Alaska, West [21] found that northern red-backed
voles relied heavily upon the fruits of several berry-producing plants
during all seasons.  These included bog blueberry (Vaccinium
uliginosum), mountain cranberry, black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum),
comandra (Comandra livida), and bunchberry.  Northern red-backed voles
primarily ate berries during the fall and winter.  Lichens were consumed
only during the winter and spring.  In early summer, when berries are
not available, mosses (unspecified spp.) were eaten.  The mid- to late
summer diet of northern red-backed voles also included a large
proportion of mosses, although berries were still the primary food [21].

Northern red-backed voles on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge fed
during the summer on berries of species such as mountain cranberry and
bunchberry.  They also ate fungi, succulent green plants, and insects.
As fungi became plentiful late in the summer, they made up a large
percentage of the diet.  Mountain cranberry consumption declined as the
summer progressed even though berry abundance increased.  This suggests
that fungi were preferred over mountain cranberries.  The amount of
truffle in the diet remained constant throughout the summer [2].
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat-related Fire Effects

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the terms: cover, forest, severity, shrubs, succession

Fire may result in a temporary loss of cover and food for northern
red-backed voles and increased exposure to predation [19,21].  However,
after cover and food resources recover, northern red-backed voles are
able to colonize burned areas.  Fires in black spruce communities of
Alaska and northern Canada are commonly lightning caused and tend to be
large [11,17].  Fire return intervals average 80 to 200 years [14,17].

Northern red-backed voles are eventually able to inhabit most burned
areas in central Alaska [21].  Some berry-producing shrubs, important to
northern red-backed voles, often increase in cover and vigor after low
severity fire [4]; mountain cranberry may regain prefire densities
within 2 to 6 years [16,21].  However, other species recover slowly;
black crowberry may not reach prefire densities for 20 to 30 years [10].
Severe, stand-destroying fires that consume the organic layer can kill
the roots of many berry-producing shrubs, reducing the potential for
sprouting and delaying revegetation [13,17].

In July 1971, a lightning caused fire burned 16,061 acres (6,500 ha) of
black spruce forest in the hills between Wickersham Dome and Washington
Creek 25 miles (40 km) north of Fairbanks, Alaska.  Establishment of a
permanent population of northern red-backed voles on the burned area did
not occur until 4 years after the fire.  Northern red-backed voles began
to use the burn area starting in July of 1972.  However, prior to the
summer of 1975 the use of the burned area by northern red-backed voles
was intermittent due to insufficient food and cover for overwintering.
No berries were produced in the burn until the summer of 1975, and then
berry production was considerably lower than that in the unburned
control area.  In the burned area, during winter 1975-1976, the 4-year
accumulation of calamagrostis (Calamagrostis spp.) debris may have
provided patches of matted vegetation suitable for winter cover.
Despite establishment of a resident population in 1975, recruitment was
mostly dependent upon immigrant voles, most importantly pregnant females
[21].

One year after a fire in south-central Alaska, numbers of northern
red-backed voles seemed to be nearly equal inside and outside the burn.
The fire left many islands of unburned habitat throughout the burn; much
cover was left on the burn area [25].

Following fire in the Mackenzie Delta area of the Northwest Territories,
grass-dominated communities usually predominate early succession.  These
grass communities are generally unsuitable habitat for northern
red-backed voles [19], probably due to lack of food and cover.
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Cover Types

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

    12  Black spruce
    16  Aspen
    18  Paper birch
   107  White spruce
   201  White spruce
   202  White spruce - paper birch
   204  Black spruce
   251  White spruce - aspen
   253  Black spruce - white spruce
   254  Black spruce -  paper birch
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Ecosystem

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES11 Spruce-fir
FRES19 Aspen-birch
FRES23 Fir-spruce
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cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Plant Associations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: forest

   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K094  Conifer bog
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Management Considerations

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the term: forest

Small mammals are the primary means by which hypogeous fungal spores are
dispersed.  The extensive use of hypogeous fungi, such as truffle, by
northern red-backed voles promotes the establishment of symbiosis
between mycorrhizal fungi and higher plants in disturbed forest areas on
the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska [2].


REFERENCES :
NO-ENTRY
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Occurrence in North America

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals

AK



BC
MB
NT
YT

license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Predators

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
Some predators of northern red-backed voles include American marten
(Martes americana), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), red fox (Vulpes
vulpes), short-tail weasel (Mustela erminea), coyote (Canis latrans)
[15,19,24], and probably most other predators of small mammals that
occur within the range of northern red-backed voles.  In Alaska,
northern red-backed voles and voles (Microtus spp.) comprised 74 percent
of the diet of American martens in the summer and 68 percent of the diet
during the winter [24].
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Preferred Habitat

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the terms: shrub, taiga, tundra

Northern red-backed voles are commonly found in northern shrub
vegetation or open taiga forests.  They also inhabit tundra [1,12,21].
Northern red-backed voles are abundant on early successional sites as
well as in mature forests [21].  They occasionally inhabit rock fields
and talus slopes [1].

Northern red-backed voles use surface runways through the vegetation as
travel corridors.  Nests are built in short underground burrows or under
some protective object such as a rock or root [1].  Northern red-backed
voles are active all winter and construct long tunnels under the snow.
Winter nests typically are placed on the ground among thick moss [1,21].
Northern red-backed voles frequently invade houses during the winter
[1].
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Taxonomy

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
The currently accepted scientific name for the northern red-backed vole
is Myodes rutilus (Pallas). It is in the family Cricetidae [26].
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Timing of Major Life History Events

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the terms: crepuscular, litter, polyestrous

Breeding season - The breeding season of northern red-backed voles
generally extends from May to August.  Females are polyestrous and
produce two or three litters during the breeding season.  The first
litter is produced in late May or early June [1].

Litter size - Information regarding the gestation period of northern
red-backed voles was not available.  Litter size ranges from four to
nine.  The average litter size is 5.93 [1].

Growth of young and sexual maturity - Young northern red-backed voles
are unable to regulate their temperature successfully until about 18
days.  At this time they are weaned and leave the nest.  Young grow
little during the winter because of low food supplies.  Age of sexual
maturity depends to some extent on time of birth.  About 20 percent of
females from the first litter breed during the summer of birth.  The
remaining 80 percent, and later litters, breed the following May [1].
Martell and Fuller [12] found that the onset of summer breeding was
related to the time of snowmelt.  A late spring was followed by a low
rate of maturation of young-of-the-year females [12].

In dense populations of northern red-backed voles, sexual maturation of
young females may be delayed, or they may migrate to a vacant breeding
space [8].  Information was not available regarding sexual maturation of
male northern red-backed voles.

Behavior - Northern red-backed voles are mainly nocturnal and
crepuscular but are of necessity about during the prolonged arctic
daylight season [1].
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bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Use of Fire in Population Management

provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
More info for the term: fire regime

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FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find FIRE REGIMES".
license
cc-publicdomain
bibliographic citation
Tesky, Julie L. 1994. Myodes rutilus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Northern red-backed vole

provided by wikipedia EN

The northern red-backed vole (Myodes rutilus) is a small slender vole found in Alaska, northern Canada, Scandinavia and northern Russia.[2]

Description

They have short slender bodies with a rust-colored back, light brown sides and underparts and a short thick tail. Their short ears are visible through their fur. They are 14 cm long with a 3.5 cm tail and weigh about 30 to 40 g. Their dental formula is 1/1, 0/0, 0/0, 3/3.[3] They are active year-round, usually at night. They can cause damage to fruit trees and stored grains.

Plant communities

Northern red-backed voles live in a variety of northern forest and shrubland habitats.[2][4] They occur in every major forest type in central Alaska.[5] Plant species commonly found in areas occupied by northern red-backed voles include black spruce (Picea mariana), white spruce (Picea glauca), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), paper birch (Betula papyrifera), alder (Alnus spp.), willow (Salix spp.), mountain cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), blueberry and bilberry (Vaccinium spp.), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), and a variety of grasses and forbs. Important fungi, mosses and lichens include truffle (Endogone fascilulata), Schreber's moss (Pleurozium schreberi), mountain fern moss (Hylocomium splendens), sphagnum (Sphagnum spp.), and lichens (Cladonia and Peltigera spp.).[5][6]

Timing of major life events

The breeding season of northern red-backed voles generally extends from May to August. Females are polyestrous and produce two or three litters during the breeding season. The first litter is produced in late May or early June.[2]

Litter size ranges from four to nine. The average litter size is 5.93.[2] Young northern red-backed voles are unable to regulate their temperature successfully until about 18 days. At this time they are weaned and leave the nest. Young grow little during the winter because of low food supplies. Age of sexual maturity depends to some extent on time of birth. About 20% of females from the first litter breed during the summer of birth. The remaining 80%, and later litters, breed the following May.[2] Martell and Fuller [7] found that the onset of summer breeding was related to the time of snowmelt. A late spring was followed by a low rate of maturation of young-of-the-year females.[7]

In dense populations of northern red-backed voles, sexual maturation of young females may be delayed, or they may migrate to a vacant breeding space.[8]

Northern red-backed voles are mainly nocturnal and crepuscular, but remain active whenever necessary during the prolonged arctic daylight season.[2]

Preferred habitat

Northern red-backed voles are commonly found in northern shrub vegetation or open taiga forests. They also inhabit tundra.[2][5][7] Northern red-backed voles are abundant on early successional sites as well as in mature forests.[5] They occasionally inhabit rock fields and talus slopes.[2]

Northern red-backed voles use surface runways through the vegetation as travel corridors. Nests are built in short burrows or under some protective object such as a rock or root.[2] Northern red-backed voles are active all winter and construct long tunnels under the snow. Winter nests typically are placed on the ground among thick moss.[2][5] Northern red-backed voles frequently invade houses during the winter.[2]

Cover requirements

Northern red-backed voles inhabit areas that contain dense ground cover for protection from weather and predation.[5][9] On the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Alaska, the presence of northern red-backed voles was positively correlated with protective cover.[6] During the winter, northern red-backed voles use layers of thick moss or matted vegetation as thermal cover.[5][10] During the mid-winter months in a spruce forest of central Alaska, all northern red-backed voles on a control area aggregated in a small area of thick moss cover, despite abundant food resources elsewhere on the trapping grid.[5]

Food habits

Northern red-backed voles eat the leaves, buds, twigs and berries of numerous shrubs; they also eat forbs, fungi, mosses, lichens, and occasionally insects.[2][5][6] Berries are generally the major food item in the diet of northern red-backed voles and are eaten whenever available. In central Alaska, West [5] found that northern red-backed voles relied heavily upon the fruits of several berry-producing plants during all seasons. These included bog blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), mountain cranberry, black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), comandra (Comandra livida), and bunchberry. Northern red-backed voles primarily ate berries during the fall and winter. Lichens were consumed only during the winter and spring. In early summer, when berries are not available, mosses were eaten. The mid- to late summer diet of northern red-backed voles also included a large proportion of mosses, although berries were still the primary food.[5]

Northern red-backed voles on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge fed during the summer on berries of species such as mountain cranberry and bunchberry. They also ate fungi, succulent green plants, and insects. As fungi became plentiful late in the summer, they made up a large percentage of the diet. Mountain cranberry consumption declined as the summer progressed even though berry abundance increased. This suggests that fungi were preferred over mountain cranberries. The amount of truffle in the diet remained constant throughout the summer.[6]

Predators

Some predators of northern red-backed voles include American marten (Martes americana), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), raccoon (Procyon lotor), stoat (Mustela erminea), snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus), coyote (Canis latrans),[9][11][12] and probably most other predators of small mammals that occur within the range of northern red-backed voles. In Alaska, northern red-backed voles and voles (Microtus spp.) comprised 74% of the diet of American martens in the summer and 68% of the diet during the winter.[12]

References

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Agriculture document: "Myodes rutilus".

  1. ^ Linzey, A.V., Henttonen, H., Sheftel, B. & Batsaikhan, N. (2020). Myodes rutilus (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T4975A164372228.en
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.
  3. ^ MacDonald, David; Priscilla Barret (1993). Mammals of Britain & Europe. Vol. 1. London: HarperCollins. p. 242. ISBN 0-00-219779-0.
  4. ^ Galindo, Carlos; Krebs, Charles J. (1985). "Habitat use and abundance of deer mice: interactions with meadow voles and red-backed voles". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 63 (8): 1870–1879. doi:10.1139/z85-278.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jones, Eric N. (1990). "Effects of forage availability on home range and population density of Microtus pennsylvanicus". Journal of Mammalogy. 71 (3): 382–389. doi:10.2307/1381950. JSTOR 1381950.
  6. ^ a b c d Bangs, Edward E. (1984). "Summer food habits of voles, Clethrionomys rutilus and Microtus pennsylvanicus, on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska". Canadian Field-Naturalist. 98: 489–492. PDF copy
  7. ^ a b c Martell, A. M.; Fuller, W. A. (1979). "Comparative demography of Clethrionomys rutilus in taiga and tundra in the low Arctic". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 57 (11): 2106–2120. doi:10.1139/z79-278.
  8. ^ Gilbert, B. S.; Krebs, C. J.; Talarico, D.; Cichowski, D. B. (1986). "Do Clethrionomys rutilus females suppress maturation of juvenile females?". Journal of Animal Ecology. 55 (2): 543–552. doi:10.2307/4737. JSTOR 4737.
  9. ^ a b Wein, R. W. 1975. Vegetation recovery in arctic tundra and forest-tundra after fire. ALUR Rep. 74-75-62. Ottawa, ON: Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Arctic Land Use Research Program
  10. ^ West, Stephen D. (1977). "Midwinter aggregation in the northern red-backed vole, Clethrionomys rutilus". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 55 (9): 1404–1409. doi:10.1139/z77-183.
  11. ^ Thurber, Joanne M.; Peterson, Rolf O.; Woolington, James D.; Vucetich, John A. (1992). "Coyote coexistence with wolves on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 70 (12): 2494–2498. doi:10.1139/z92-335.
  12. ^ a b Lensink, Calvin J.; Skoog, Ronald O.; Buckley, John L. (1955). "Food habits of marten in interior Alaska and their significance". Journal of Wildlife Management. 19 (3): 364–368. doi:10.2307/3797387. JSTOR 3797387.
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Northern red-backed vole: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The northern red-backed vole (Myodes rutilus) is a small slender vole found in Alaska, northern Canada, Scandinavia and northern Russia.

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cc-by-sa-3.0
copyright
Wikipedia authors and editors
original
visit source
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wikipedia EN