Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Spanish (2) (learn more)

Overview

Brief Summary

Description

Creeping Voles are found in moist coniferous forests at all stages of forest succession, from old growth to recent clear-cuts. In fact, population density is probably higher in recently cut areas where more sunlight reaches the ground and more grasses and herbs grow. They are good burrowers, and they spend more time below the leaf litter than above it. Their nests are built underground or under rotting logs or root clumps. About a third of their diet may be fungi, and the rest grasses and forbs. They are quite small and have tinier eyes than most other voles. They have sooty-gray to dark brown or almost black fur mixed with yellowish hairs, and a gray or white belly.

Links:
Mammal Species of the World
Click here for The American Society of Mammalogists species account
  • Original description: Bachman, J., 1839.  Description of several new species of American quadrupeds, p. 60.  Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Part 1, 8:57-74.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution

Source: Smithsonian's North American Mammals

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range Description

This species is found in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, south through western Washington and western Oregon to northwestern California in the United States.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Range: Southwestern British Columbia south through western Washington and western Oregon to northwestern California.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Size

Length: 16 cm

Weight: 31 grams

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Size in North America

Sexual Dimorphism: Males are larger than females.

Length:
Average: 140 mm
Range: 130-153 mm

Weight:
Range: 17-20 g
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution

Source: Smithsonian's North American Mammals

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is found in the moist forests of the Pacific coast, brushy, grassy areas. It is most abundant in more xeric sites, especially those supporting stands of short grass, but may favour riparian areas in some localities. More abundant in clearcuts than in virgin forest. It occupies shallow burrows and low cover.

Young are born in nests, dry grasses are placed in cavities under logs or in similar protected sites. Breeding occurs mainly from March to September in Oregon and British Columbia. Gestation is approximately 23 days. Females are estimated to produce a maximum of four or five litters per year, with approximately three to four young per litter.

Diet consists primarily of green vegetation (presumably both forbs and grasses); they also eat fungi. Although active at any time, this species is most active at night.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Moist forests of Pacific coast, brushy, grassy areas. Most abundant in more xeric sites, especially those supporting stands of short grass, but may favor riparian areas in some localities. More abundant in clearcuts than in virgin forest. Occupies shallow burrows and low cover. Young are born in nests dry grasses placed in cavities under logs or in similar protected sites.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats primarily green vegetation (presumably both forbs and grasses); also eats fungi.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: Although active at any time, this species is most active at night.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Breeds mainly Mar.-Sept. in OR and British Columbia. Gestation ca. 23 days. Females estimated to produce maximum of 4 or 5 litters/yr., with approximately 3-4 young/litter.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G.)

Reviewer/s
Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Chanson, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern, although it has a patchy distribution and sometimes is uncommon, its population is thought to be stable, it is adaptable and there are no major threats.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
This species is considered secure within its range (NatureServe). Densities vary with habitat and over time due to changes in habitat quality. They can be fewer than 15 per hectare in mature forests, and up to 138 per hectare in clear cuts and old fields.

Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to this species. In coastal British Columbia, creeping voles were apparently unaffected by herbicide treatment of Douglas-fir plantation (Sullivan 1990).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: In coastal British Columbia, apparently was unaffected by herbicide treatment of Douglas-fir plantation (Sullivan 1990).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is not of conservation concern and its range includes several protected areas.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Creeping vole

The Creeping Vole (Microtus oregoni), sometimes known as the Oregon meadow mouse, is a small rodent in the family Cricetidae. Ranging across northwestern North America, it is found in forests, grasslands, woodlands, and chaparral environments. The small tailed, furry, brownish-gray mammal was first described in the scientific literature in 1839, from a specimen collected near the mouth of the Columbia River. The smallest vole in its range, it weighs around 19 g (0.67 oz). At birth, they weigh 1.6 g (0.056 oz), are naked, pink, unable to open their eyes, and the ear flaps completely cover the ear openings. Although not always common throughout their range, there are no major concerns for their survival as a species.

Taxonomy[edit]

The animal was described in 1839 by John Bachman.[3] The original scientific name was Arvicola oregoni with a common name of the Oregon meadow mouse.[3] The type specimen was an older male collected November 2, 1836 near the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon.[3] The specimen had been submitted to Bachman for review by John Kirk Townsend.[3] Subsequent authorities state that it was collected at Astoria, Oregon, which is at the mouth of the Columbia River.[4] In 1857, Baird placed Arvicola oregoni in a section Chilotus of the subgenus Arvicola of the genus Arvicola.[5] In 1874, PNAS paper, Coues reclassifies Chilotus as a subgenus and refers to the animal as Arvicola (Chilotus) oregonus.[6][7] Miller subsequently reclassified the animal in the genus Microtus and maintained the subgenus Chilotus.[8] This was the first reference to the animal under its current scientific name Microtus oregoni.[4] It was subsequently reclassified to the subgenus Mynomes.[2]

Description[edit]

On average, creeping voles weigh around 19 g (0.67 oz) with a reported range of 14.5 to 27.5 g (0.51 to 0.97 oz)[4] The average length is around 140 mm (5.5 in), with a range of around 129 to 154 mm (5.1 to 6.1 in)[4] Compared to other voles withing their geographic range, they are the smallest.[4] They have smaller eye opening (around 2 mm (0.079 in) in diameter) compared to other voles that share the same geographic range (sympatric) or have adjacent ranges (parapatric).[4] There are other distinguishing features of the roots and enamel of the molar teeth that help in differentiation.[4] Unlike other voles in the range, only the creeping vole and the (much larger) water vole have five plantar tubercles on the hindfeet.[4]

They are pentadactyl, although the pollex is reduced in size and lack a a claw.[4] They walk with their feet planted firmly on the ground (plantigrade locomotion).[4] The foot pads have a moderate amount of fur.[4]

The fur markings are plumbeous to a dark brown or black.[4] There are sometimes yellowish hair markings as well.[4] The underside fur markings tend to be lighter beige to whitish.[4] The tail may be gray to black and often lighter below.[4]

Creeping voles have a relatively short tail, measuring less than 30% their total body length.[4] They have short ears, which are nearly hairless, though a few black hairs present.[4] They protrude just slightly from the fur around the head.[4] They have eight mammae, with two pairs present in each of the pectoral and inguinal regions.[4]

The skull of the creeping vole has a low, flat profile, with a long and slender snout.[4] The zygomatic arches are somewhat delicate.[4] The incisive foramen is short and wide, but not so much as to be a distinguishing feature.[4] They have small molars.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Creeping voles are found in British Columbia in Canada and in California, Oregon and Washington in the United States.[1] They are found as far north as Port Moody, BC and as far south as Mendocino City, California.[4] The western range in Washington extends east to Mount Aix, Lake Chelan, and Signal Peak.[4] The range in in Oregon extends east to the north base of Three Sisters and to Crater Lake.[4] There are variable reports as to their occurrence in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.[4] In California, they are found as far east as Beswick and South Yolla Bolly Mountain.[4]

They are found in coniferous forests and woodlands, grasslands, and chaparral.[9] They are found at sea level through altitudes of nearly 2,400 m (7,900 ft).[4] They are more populous in areas of disturbance than virgin forests.[9] They are burrowing animals and will also use fallen logs, other debris, and patches of grass for cover.[9] The burrows are shallow.[9] They are found in moist forests along the coast, but may do well in drier areas.[9]

It is suspected that ancestral voles migrated from Eurasia 1.2 million years ago.[4] However, no Pleistocene era fossils of creeping voles have been identified.[4]

Behavior and ecology[edit]

Creeping voles establish nests of dry grass in protected areas, such as under logs.[1] The breeding season varies by latitude, but is mainly March to September in Oregon and British Columbia.[1] Gestation lasts around 23 days. Each litter bears three to four young and the females may produce four or five litters a year.[1] The naked, pink newborn young weigh around 1.6 g (0.056 oz).[10] Their eyes are closed and skin flaps cover the ear openings.[10]

They are primarily nocturnal, though can be active sometimes during the day.[1] They are herbivorous, probably eating forbs and grasses, as well as fungi.[1]

Conservation status[edit]

Although it is not widely distributed and not always common, the creeping vole is listed as "Least Concern" by the IUCN Red List.[1] The justifications for the listing are the lack of major threats, the stability of populations, and the adaptability of the animal to environmental changes.[1] Treatment of Douglas-fir plantations with herbicides in British Columbia did not affect creeping vole populations.[1] No conservation concerns are raised, since there are thought to be sufficient areas of protected habitat within its range.[1] NatureServe lists the species as secure within its range.[9]

References[edit]

Footnotes:

Sources:

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: See Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) for discussion of relationships.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!