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Brief Summary

    Meadow vole: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    The meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), sometimes called the field mouse or meadow mouse, is a North American vole found across Canada, Alaska and the northern United States. Its range extends farther south along the Atlantic coast. One subspecies, the Florida salt marsh vole (M. p. dukecampbelli), is found in Florida, and is classified as endangered. Previously it was also found in Chihuahua, Mexico, but has not been recorded since 1998.

    The meadow vole is active year-round, usually at night. It also digs underground burrows, where it stores food for the winter and females give birth to their young. Although these animals tend to live close together, they are aggressive towards one another. This is particularly evident in males during the breeding season. They can cause damage to fruit trees, garden plants, and commercial grain crops.

    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors
    The meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) makes its burrows along surface runways in grasses or other herbaceous vegetation. It is the most widely distributed small grazing herbivore in North America and is found over most of the northern half of the United States. Meadow voles have been used in bioassays to indicate the presence of toxins in their foods (Kendall and Sherwood, 1975, cited in Reich, 1981; Schillinger and Elliot, 1966). Although primarily terrestrial, the meadow vole also is a strong swimmer (Johnson and Johnson, 1982). The meadow vole measures 8.9 to 13 cm in length (head and body) and has a 3.6- to 6.6-cm tail. They weigh between 20 and 40 g depending on age, sex, and location (see table). Mature males are approximately 20 percent heavier than females (Boonstra and Rodd, 1983). Meadow voles lose weight during the winter, reaching a low around February, then regain weight during spring and summer, reaching a high around August in many populations (see table; Iverson and Turner, 1974). The meadow vole inhabits grassy fields, marshes, and bogs (Getz, 1961a). Compared with the prairie vole, the meadow vole prefers fields with more grass, more cover, and fewer woody plants (Getz, 1985; Zimmerman, 1965). The meadow vole also tends to inhabit moist to wet habitats, whereas the prairie vole is relatively uncommon in sites with standing water (Getz, 1985). Meadow voles consume green succulent vegetation, sedges, seeds, roots, bark, fungi, insects, and animal matter (see table). They are agricultural pests in some areas, feeding on pasture, hay, and grain (Johnson and Johnson, 1982; Burt and Grossenheider, 1980). At high population densities, the meadow vole has been known to girdle trees, which can damage orchards (Byers, 1979, cited in Reich, 1981). In seasonal habitats, meadow voles favor green vegetation when it is available and consume other foods more when green vegetation is less available (Johnson and Johnson, 1982; Riewe, 1973; Getz, 1985). Although Zimmerman (1965) found some evidence of food selection, he found that meadow voles generally ate the most common plants in their habitat. Meadow voles living on prairies consume more seeds and fewer dicots and monocots than voles in a bluegrass habitat (Lindroth and Batzli, 1984). The meadow vole's large cecum allows it to have a high digestive efficiency of 86 to 90 percent (Golley, 1960). Coprophagy (eating of feces) has been observed in this species (Ouellete and Heisinger, 1980).

Comprehensive Description

    Meadow vole
    provided by wikipedia

    The meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), sometimes called the field mouse or meadow mouse, is a North American vole found across Canada, Alaska and the northern United States. Its range extends farther south along the Atlantic coast. One subspecies, the Florida salt marsh vole (M. p. dukecampbelli), is found in Florida, and is classified as endangered. Previously it was also found in Chihuahua, Mexico, but has not been recorded since 1998.

    The meadow vole is active year-round, usually at night. It also digs underground burrows, where it stores food for the winter and females give birth to their young. Although these animals tend to live close together, they are aggressive towards one another. This is particularly evident in males during the breeding season. They can cause damage to fruit trees, garden plants, and commercial grain crops.

    Distribution

    The meadow vole has the widest distribution of any North American species of Microtus. It ranges from Labrador west to Alaska and south from Labrador and New Brunswick to South Carolina and extreme northeastern Georgia; west through Tennessee, Missouri, north-central Nebraska, the northern half of Wyoming, and central Washington to Alaska; south through Idaho into north-central Utah. It is excluded only from the extreme polar regions. A disjunct subset of its range occurs from central Colorado to northwestern New Mexico.[2][3] The United States portion of the Souris River is alternately known as the Mouse River because of the large numbers of field mice that lived along its banks.

    Plant communities

    Meadow voles are most commonly found in grasslands, preferring moister areas, but are also found in wooded areas.[3] In eastern Washington and northern Idaho, meadow voles are found in relative abundance in sedge (Carex spp.) fens, but not in adjacent cedar (Thuja spp.)-hemlock (Tsuga spp.), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), or ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests. Meadow voles are also absent from fescue (Festuca spp.)-snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.) associations. Moisture may be a major factor in habitat use; possibly the presence of free water is a deciding factor. In southeastern Montana, meadow voles were the second-most abundant small mammal (after deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus) in riparian areas within big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)-buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) habitats.[4] Meadow voles are listed as riparian-dependent vertebrates in the Snake River drainage of Wyoming. In a compilation of 11 studies[5] on small mammals, meadow voles were reported in only three of 29 sites in subalpine forests of the central Rocky Mountains. Their range extensions were likely to be related to irrigation practices.[6] They are now common in hayfields, pastures, and along ditches in the Rocky Mountain states.[7]

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    Side view

    In Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota, meadow voles were present in riparian shrublands, tallgrass prairie, and other habitats.[8] In east-central Ohio, meadow voles were captured in reconstructed common cattail (Typha latifolia) wetlands.[9] In Virginia, meadow voles were least abundant in eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) glades and most abundant in fields with dense grass cover.[10]

    Habits

    Meadow voles are active year-round[11][12] and day or night, with no clear 24-hour rhythm in many areas.[13] Most changes in activity are imposed by season, habitat, cover, temperature, and other factors. Meadow voles have to eat frequently, and their active periods (every two to three hours) are associated with food digestion.[11][12] In Canada, meadow voles are active the first few hours after dawn and during the two- to four-hour period before sunset. Most of the inactive period is spent in the nest.[12]

    Reproduction

    Gestation lasts 20 to 23 days.[12] Neonates are pink and hairless, with closed eyes and ears. Fur begins to appear by three days, and young are completely furred except for the belly by seven days. Eyes and ears open by eight days. Weaning occurs from 12 to 14 days. Young born in spring and early summer attain adult weight in 12 weeks, but undergo a fall weight loss. Young born in late summer continue growing through the fall and maintain their weight through the winter. Maximum size is reached between two and 10 months.[3][12]

    Typical meadow vole litters consist of four to six young, with extremes of one and 11 young. On average, 2.6 young are successfully weaned per litter. Litter size is not significantly correlated with latitude, elevation, or population density. Fall, winter, and spring litters tend to be smaller than summer litters. Litter size was positively correlated with body size, and is not significantly different in primaparous and multiparous females.[3] Primaparous females had fewer young per litter than multiparous females.[12] Litter size was constant in summer breeding periods at different population densities.[3] Female meadow voles reach reproductive maturity earlier than males; some ovulate and become pregnant as early as three weeks old. Males are usually six to eight weeks old before mature sperm are produced.[12] One captive female produced 17 litters in one year for a total of 83 young. One of her young produced 13 litters (totalling 78 young) before she was a year old.[14]

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    Juvenile in the open

    Patterns of mortality apparently vary among meadow vole populations. The average meadow vole lifespan is less than one month because of high nestling and juvenile mortality.[11] The average time adults are recapturable in a given habitat is about two months, suggesting the average extended lifespan (i.e. how much time adult meadow voles have left) is about two months, not figuring in emigration.[11] Mortality was 88% for the first 30 days after birth,.[15] and postnestling juveniles had the highest mortality rate (61%), followed by young adults (58%) and older age groups (53%).[16] Nestlings were estimated to have the lowest mortality rate (50%). Estimated mean longevity ranges from two to 16 months.[3] The maximum lifespan in the wild is 16 months,[11] and few voles live more than two years.[12]

    Meadow vole populations fluctuate annually and also tend to reach peak densities at two- to five-year intervals, with population declines in intervening years.[11][12][17] Breeding often ceases in January and starts again in March.[12] Over the course of a year, meadow vole populations tend to be lowest in early spring; the population increases rapidly through summer and fall.[12]

    In years of average population sizes, typical meadow vole population density is about 15 to 45 meadow voles per acre in old-field habitat. In peak years, their population densities may reach 150 per acre in marsh habitat (more favorable for meadow voles than old fields).[11] Peak meadow vole abundance can exceed 1,482 meadow voles per hectare (600/acre) in northern prairie wetlands.[18] Meadow voles in optimal habitats in Virginia (old fields with dense vegetation) reached densities of 983/ha (398/ac); populations declined to 67/ha (27/ac) at the lowest point in the cycle.[10] Different factors influencing population density have been assigned primary importance by different authors. Reich[3] listed the following factors as having been suggested by different authors: food quality, predation, climatic events, density-related physiological stress, and the presence of genetically determined behavioral variants among dispersing individuals.

    Normal population cycles do not occur when dispersal is prevented; under normal conditions, dispersers have been shown to be behaviorally, genetically, and demographically different from residents.[3] A threshold density of cover is thought to be needed for meadow vole populations to increase.[19] Above the threshold amount, the quantity of cover influences the amplitude and possibly the duration of the population peak. Local patches of dense cover could serve as source populations or reservoirs to colonize less favorable habitats with sparse cover.[19]

    Meadow voles form extensive colonies and develop communal latrine areas. They are socially aggressive and agonistic; females dominate males and males fight amongst themselves.[11]

    Habitat

    Optimal meadow vole habitat consists of moist, dense grassland with substantial amounts of plant litter. Habitat selection is largely influenced by relative ground cover of grasses and forbs; soil temperature, moisture, sodium, potassium, and pH levels; humidity; and interspecific competition.[19][20] Meadow voles are most commonly associated with sites having high soil moisture.[21] They are often restricted to the wetter microsites when they occur in sympatry with prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) or montane voles.[19] In an Iowa prairie restoration project, meadow voles experienced an initial population increase during the initial stage of vegetation succession (old field dominated by foxtail grass (Setaria spp.), red clover (Trifolium pratense), annual ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and thistles Cirsium spp.). However, populations reached their peak abundance during the perennial grass stage of succession from old field to tallgrass prairie.[22] Meadow vole habitat devoid of tree cover and grasses dominated the herb layer.[23] with low tolerance for habitat variation (i. e., a species that is intolerant of variations in habitat, is restricted to few habitats, and/or uses habitats less evenly than tolerant species).[23]

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    On the ground amid strands of grass in Virginia, US

    In most areas, meadow voles clearly prefer habitat with dense vegetation. In tallgrass prairie at Pipestone National Monument, they were positively associated with dense vegetation and litter.[8] The variables important to meadow vole habitat in Virginia include vegetative cover reaching a height of 8 to 16 inches (20–41 cm) and presence of litter.[24] Meadow voles appeared to be randomly distributed within a grassland habitat in southern Quebec.[25] Grant and Morris[25] were not able to establish any association of meadow vole abundance with particular plant species. They were also unable to distinguish between food and cover as the determining factor in meadow vole association with dense vegetation.

    In eastern Massachusetts, meadow vole density on a mosaic of grassy fields and mixed woods was positively correlated with decreasing vertical woody stem density and decreasing shrub cover. Density was highest on plots with more forbs and grasses and less with woody cover; meadow voles preferred woody cover over sparse vegetation where grassy cover was not available.[26]

    In West Virginia, the only forested habitats in which meadow voles were captured were seedling stands.[27] In South Dakota, meadow voles prefer grasslands to Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) woodlands.[28] In New Mexico, meadow voles were captured in stands of grasses, wild rose (Rosa spp.), prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), and various forbs; meadow voles were also captured in wet areas with tall marsh grasses.[29]

    Open habitat with a thick mat of perennial grass favors voles.[30] In west-central Illinois, they were the most common small mammals on Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)-dominated and switchgrass (Panicum virginicus)-dominated study plots. They were present in very low numbers on orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata)-dominated plots. The most stable population occurred on unburned big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)-dominated plots.[31] In Ontario, meadow voles and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) occur together in ecotones. Meadow voles were the most common small mammals in oak savanna/tallgrass prairie dominated by northern pin oak (Quercus palustris) and grasses including bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis), prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata), big bluestem, switchgrass, and Indian grass.

    In Michigan, strip clearcuts in a conifer swamp resulted in an increase in the relative abundance of meadow voles. They were most abundant in clearcut strip interiors and least abundant in uncut strip interiors. Slash burning did not appear to affect meadow vole numbers about 1.5 years after treatment.[32]

    In Pennsylvania, three subadult meadow voles were captured at least 1.6 miles (2.6 km) from the nearest appreciable suitable meadow vole habitat, suggesting they are adapted to long-distance dispersal.[33]

    In Ohio, the effects of patch shape and proportion of edge were investigated by mowing strips between study plots. The square plots were 132 feet per side (40 m x 40 m), and the rectangular patches were 52.8 feet by 330 feet (16 m x 100 m). Square habitat patches were not significantly different from rectangular patches in meadow vole density. Edge effects in patches of this size were not found, suggesting meadow voles are edge-tolerant. Habitat patch shape did affect dispersal and space use behaviors. In rectangular patches, home ranges were similar in size to those in square patches, but were elongated.[34]

    Meadow voles tend to remain in home ranges and defend at least a portion of their home ranges from conspecifics. Home ranges overlap and have irregular shapes.[12] Home range size depends on season, habitat, and population density: ranges are larger in summer than winter, those in marshes are larger than in meadows, and are smaller at higher population densities.[3] Home ranges vary in size from 0.08 to 2.3 hectares (0.32-0.9 ac). Females have smaller home ranges than males, but are more highly territorial than males; often, juveniles from one litter are still present in the adult female's home range when the next litter is born.[11][12] Female territoriality tends to determine density in suboptimal habitats; the amount of available forage may be the determining factor in female territory size, so determines reproductive success.[35]

    Cover requirements

    Nests are used as nurseries, resting areas, and as protection against weather. They are constructed of woven grass; they are usually subterranean or are constructed under boards, rocks, logs, brush piles, hay bales, fenceposts, or in grassy tussocks. Meadow voles dig shallow burrows,[12] and in burrows, nests are constructed in enlarged chambers. In winter, nests are often constructed on the ground surface under a covering of snow, usually against some natural formation such as a rock or log.[11][12]

    Meadow voles form runways or paths in dense grasses.[11][12]

    Diets

    Meadow voles eat most available species of grasses, sedges, and forbs, including many agricultural plant species.[3][12] In summer and fall, grasses are cut into match-length sections to reach the succulent portions of the leaves and seedheads. Leaves, flowers, and fruits of forbs are also typical components of the summer diet. Fungi, primarily endogones (Endogone spp.), have been reported in meadow vole diets. They occasionally consume insects and snails, and occasionally scavenge on animal remains; cannibalism is frequent in periods of high population density. Meadow voles may damage woody vegetation by girdling when population density is high.[3]

    In winter, meadow voles consume green basal portions of grass plants, often hidden under snow. Other winter diet components include seeds, roots, and bulbs. They occasionally strip the bark from woody plants. Seeds and tubers are stored in nests and burrows.[11][12] Evidence of coprophagy is sparse, but thought to occur.[12]

    In an old-field community in Quebec, plants preferred by meadow voles included quackgrass (Elytrigia repens), sedges, fescues (Festuca spp.), wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), timothy (Phleum pratense), bluegrasses (Poa spp.), and bird vetch (Vicia cracca).[36]

    Predators

    Meadow voles are an important prey for many hawks, owls, and mammalian carnivores, and they are also taken by some snakes.[3] Almost all species of raptors take microtine (Microtus spp.) rodents as prey. Birds not usually considered predators of mice do take voles; examples include gulls (Larus spp.), northern shrike (Larius borealis), black-billed magpie (Pica pica), common raven (Corvus corax), American crow (C. brachyrhynchos), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), and American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus).[12] In Ohio, meadow voles comprised 90% of the individual prey remains in long-eared owl (Asio otus) pellets on a relict wet prairie,[37] and in Wisconsin, meadow voles comprised 95% of short-eared owl (A. flammeus) prey.[38] Most mammalian predators take microtine prey.[12] The American short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) is major predator; meadow voles avoid areas frequented by short-tailed shrews.[3] Other major mammalian predators include the badger (Taxidea taxus), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), weasels (Mustela spp.), marten (Martes americana), and domestic cat (Felis catus). Other animals reported to have ingested voles include trout (Salmo spp.), Pacific giant salamander (Dicampton ensatus), garter snake (Thamnophis spp.), yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor flaviventris), gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucas), rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), and rubber boa (Charina bottae).[12]

    In northern prairie wetlands, meadow voles are a large portion of the diets of red fox (Vulpes vulpes), mink (Mustela vison), short-eared owl, and northern harrier (Circus cyaneus).[18] Voles (Microtus spp.) are frequently taken by racers (Coluber spp.); racers and voles often use the same burrows.[39]

    Management

    Meadow voles are abundant in agricultural habitats. The list of crops damaged by meadow voles includes root and stem crops (asparagus, kohlrabi), tubers, leaf and leafstalks, immature inflorescent vegetables (artichoke, broccoli), low-growing fruits (beans, squash), the bark of fruit trees, pasture, grassland, hay, and grains.[12] Meadow voles are listed as pests on forest plantations.[40] In forest plantations in British Columbia, an apparently abundant (not measured) meadow vole population was associated with a high rate of "not sufficient regeneration"; damage to tree seedlings was attributed to meadow voles and lemmings (Synaptomys spp.).[41] In central New York, colonization of old fields by trees and shrubs was reduced due to seedling predation by meadow voles, particularly under the herb canopy.[42]

    Management of meadow vole populations in agricultural areas includes reduction of habitat in waste places such as roadsides and fencerows by mowing, plowing, and herbicide application. Predators, particularly raptors, should be protected to keep meadow vole populations in check. Direct control methods include trapping, fencing, and poisoning; trapping and fencing are of limited effectiveness. Poisons are efficient. Repellents are largely ineffective at present.[12] Plastic mesh cylinders were effective in preventing seedling damage by meadow voles and other rodents.[43] Properly timed cultivation and controlled fires are at least partially effective in reducing populations.

    The cycle of meadow vole abundance is an important proximate factor affecting the life histories of its major predators. Meadow voles are usually the most abundant small mammals in northern prairie wetlands, often exceeding 40% of all individual small mammals present.[18] Numbers of short-eared owls, northern harriers, rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus), coyotes (Canis latrans), and red foxes were related to large numbers of meadow voles in a field in Wisconsin.[38] Predator numbers are positively associated with meadow vole abundance.[12][44]

    Ecto- and endoparasites have been reported to include trematodes, cestodes, nematodes, acanthocephalans, lice (Anoplura), fleas (Siphonaptera), Diptera, and ticks and mites (Acari).[3][12]

    Human diseases transmitted by microtine rodents include cystic hydatid disease, tularemia, bubonic plague, babesiosis, giardiasis[12] and the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi.[45]

    Ecological importance

    As with many other small mammal species, M. pennsylvanicus plays important ecological roles.[46] The meadow vole is an important food source for many predators, and disperses mycorrhizal fungi. It is a major consumer of grass and disperses grass nutrients in its feces.[46] After disruptive site disturbances such as forest or meadow fires, the meadow vole's activities contribute to habitat restoration.[46] It prefers open, nonforest habitats and colonizes such open areas created by fire or other clearing disturbances. Very few meadow voles are found in forest or woodland areas. In newly opened areas, it is quite abundant.[46] In these new open areas, the vole quickly becomes a food source for predators.[47]

    See also

    References

     src= This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Agriculture document "Microtus pennsylvanicus".

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    This article lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. Please make it easier to conduct research by listing ISBNs. If the {{Cite book}} or {{citation}} templates are in use, you may add ISBNs automatically, or discuss this issue on the talk page. (June 2016)
    1. ^ Linzey, A.V. & Hammerson, G. (2008). "Microtus pennsylvanicus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 4 February 2010..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    2. ^ Askham, Leonard R. (1992). "Voles" (PDF). In Black, Hugh C. Silvicultural approaches to animal damage management in Pacific Northwest forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-287. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. pp. 187–204.
    3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Reich, Lawrence M. (1981). "Microtus pennsylvanicus". Mammalian Species (159): 1–8. doi:10.2307/3503976. JSTOR 3503976.
    4. ^ MacCracken, James G.; Uresk, Daniel W.; Hansen, Richard M. (1985). "Rodent-vegetation relationships in southeastern Montana" (PDF). Northwest Science. 59 (4): 272–8.
    5. ^ Raphael, Martin G. (1987). "Nongame wildlife research in subalpine forests of the central Rocky Mountains" (PDF). Management of subalpine forests: building on 50 years of research: Proceedings of a technical conference. pp. 113–22.
    6. ^ Davis, W. B. (1939). Recent mammals of Idaho. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers Ltd.[page needed]
    7. ^ Hoffman, George R. (1960). "The Small Mammal Components of Six Climax Plant Associations in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho". Ecology. 41 (3): 571–2. doi:10.2307/1933338. JSTOR 1933338.
    8. ^ a b Snyder, Ellen J.; Best, Louis B. (1988). "Dynamics of Habitat use by Small Mammals in Prairie Communities". American Midland Naturalist. 119 (1): 128–36. doi:10.2307/2426061. JSTOR 2426061.
    9. ^ Lacki, Michael J.; Hummer; Joseph W.; Webster, Harold J. (September 1994). "Effect of Reclamation Technique on Mammal Communities Inhabiting Wetlands on Mined Lands in East-Central Ohio". The Ohio Journal of Science. 91 (4): 154–8. hdl:1811/23462.
    10. ^ a b Linzey, Alicia V.; Cranford, Jack A. (1984). "Habitat selection in the southern bog lemming, Synaptomys cooperi, and the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus, in Virginia". Canadian Field-Naturalist. 98: 463–9.
    11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Banfield, A.W.F. (1974). The mammals of Canada. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.[page needed]
    12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Johnson, Murray L.; Johnson, Sherry (1982). "Voles: Microtus species". In Chapman, Joseph A.; Feldhamer, George A. Wild mammals of North America: Biology, management, and economics. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 326–54.
    13. ^ Webster, A. Bruce; Brooks, Ronald J. (1981). "Daily Movements and Short Activity Periods of Free-Ranging Meadow Voles Microtus Pennsylvanicus". Oikos. 37 (1): 80–7. doi:10.2307/3544076. JSTOR 3544076.
    14. ^ Bailey, Vernon (1924). "Breeding, feeding, and other life habits of meadow mice (Microtus)". Journal of Agricultural Research. 27 (8): 523–36.
    15. ^ Getz, Lowell L. (1960). "A Population Study of the Vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus". American Midland Naturalist. 64 (2): 392–405. doi:10.2307/2422671. JSTOR 2422671.
    16. ^ Golley, Frank B. (1961). "Interaction of Natality, Mortality and Movement during One Annual Cycle in a Microtus Population". American Midland Naturalist. 66 (1): 152–9. doi:10.2307/2422873. JSTOR 2422873.
    17. ^ Krebs, Charles J.; Myers, Judith H. (1974). "Population cycles in small mammals". In MacFadyen, A. Advances in ecological research: volume 8. Advances in ecological research. London: Academic Press. pp. 267–399.
    18. ^ a b c Fritzell, Erik K. (1989). "Mammals in prairie wetlands". In Vander Valk; Arnold. Northern prairie wetlands. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. pp. 268–301.
    19. ^ a b c d Birney, Elmer C.; Grant, W. E.; Baird, Donna Day (1976). "Importance of Vegetative Cover to Cycles of Microtus Populations". Ecology. 57 (5): 1043–51. doi:10.2307/1941069. JSTOR 1941069.
    20. ^ Schramm, Peter; Clover, Catherine A. (1994). "A dramatic increase of the meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius) in a post-drought, restored, tallgrass prairie". In Wickett, Robert G.; Lewis, Patricia Dolan; Woodliffe, Allen; Pratt, Paul. Spirit of the land, our prairie legacy: Proceedings, 13th North American prairie conference. Windsor, ON: Department of Parks and Recreation. pp. 81–6. ISBN 978-0-9698160-0-3.
    21. ^ Pendleton, Grey W. (1984). Small mammals in prairie wetlands: habitat use and the effects of wetland modification (MS Thesis). Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University. OCLC 11514828.[page needed]
    22. ^ Schwartz, Orlando A; Whitson, Paul D. (1987). "A 12-year Study of Vegetation and Mammal Succession on a Reconstructed Tallgrass Prairie in Iowa". American Midland Naturalist. 117 (2): 240–9. doi:10.2307/2425965. JSTOR 2425965.
    23. ^ a b Geier, Anthony R.; Best, Louis B. (1980). "Habitat Selection by Small Mammals of Riparian Communities: Evaluating Effects of Habitat Alterations". The Journal of Wildlife Management. 44 (1): 16–24. doi:10.2307/3808346. JSTOR 3808346.
    24. ^ Conley, Walt; Tipton, Alan R.; Kukila, Susan (1976). "Habitat preference in Microtus pennsylvanicus: a preliminary multivariate analysis". Virginia Journal of Science. 27 (2): 43.
    25. ^ a b Grant, P. R.; Morris, Ralph D. (1971). "The distribution ofMicrotus pennsylvanicuswithin grassland habitat". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 49 (7): 1043–52. doi:10.1139/z71-160.
    26. ^ Adler, Gregory H. (1988). "The role of habitat structure in organizing small mammal populations and communities" (PDF). In Szaro, Robert C.; Severson, Kieth E.; Patton, David R. Management of amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals in North America: Proceedings of the symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-166. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. pp. 289–99.
    27. ^ Brooks, Robert T.; Healy, William M. (1988). "Response of small mammal communities to silvicultural treatments in eastern hardwood forests of West Virginia and Massachusetts". In: Szaro, Robert C.; Severson, Kieth E.; Patton, David R., technical coordinators. Management of amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals in North America; 1988 July 19–21; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-166. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 313-318.
    28. ^ Sieg, Carolyn Hull. (1988). "The value of Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) woodlands in South Dakota as small mammal habitat". In: Szaro, Robert C.; Severson, Kieth E.; Patton, David R., technical coordinators. Management of amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals in North America: Proceedings of the symposium; 1988 July 19–21; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-166. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 328-332.
    29. ^ Finley, Robert B.; Choate, Jerry R.; Hoffmeister, Donald F. (1986). "Distributions and Habitats of Voles in Southeastern Colorado and Northeastern New Mexico". The Southwestern Naturalist. 31 (2): 263–6. doi:10.2307/3670577. JSTOR 3670577.
    30. ^ M'Closkey, Robert T.; Hecnar, Stephen J. (1994). "Small mammals of the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, Windsor, Ontario". In: Wickett, Robert G.; Lewis, Patricia Dolan; Woodliffe, Allen; Pratt, Paul, eds. Spirit of the land, our prairie legacy: Proceedings, 13th North American prairie conference; 1992 August 6–9; Windsor, ON. Windsor, ON: Department of Parks and Recreation: 75-80.
    31. ^ Moreth, Louis H.; Schramm, Peter. (1973). "A comparative survey of small mammal populations in various grassland habitats with emphasis on restored prairie". In: Hulbert, Lloyd C., ed. Third Midwest prairie conference pr; 1972 September 22–23; Manhattan, KS. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University, Division of Biology: 79-84.
    32. ^ Verme, Louis J.; Ozoga, John J. (1981). "Changes in small mammal populations following clear-cutting in upper Michigan conifer swamps". Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95 (3): 253–6.
    33. ^ Kirkland, Gordon L. (1988). "Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) on forest clearcuts: the role of long-distance dispersal". Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. 62 (2): 83–5.
    34. ^ Harper, Steven J.; Bollinger, Eric K.; Barrett, Gary W. (1993). "Effects of Habitat Patch Shape on Population Dynamics of Meadow Voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus)". Journal of Mammalogy. 74 (4): 1045–55. doi:10.2307/1382443. JSTOR 1382443.
    35. ^ Jones, Eric N. (1990). "Effects of Forage Availability on Home Range and Population Density of Microtus pennsylvanicus". Journal of Mammalogy. 71 (3): 382–9. doi:10.2307/1381950. JSTOR 1381950.
    36. ^ Bergeron, Jean-Marie; Joudoin, Louise (1989). "Patterns of resource use, food quality, and health status of voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) trapped from fluctuating populations". Oecologia. 79 (3): 306–14. doi:10.1007/BF00384309. JSTOR 4218960. PMID 23921395.
    37. ^ Osborn, Eric D.; Hoagstrom, Carl W. (1989). "Small mammals of a relict wet prairie in Ohio". In: Bragg, Thomas B.; Stubbendieck, James, eds. Prairie pioneers: ecology, history and culture: Proceedings, 11th North American prairie conference; 1988 August 7–11; Lincoln, NE. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska: 247-250.
    38. ^ a b Evrard, James O.; Snobl, DeWayne A.; Doeneir, Paul B.; Dechant, Jill A. (1991). "Nesting short-eared owls and voles in St. Croix County". Passenger Pigeon. 53 (3): 223–6.
    39. ^ Madison, Dale M. (1978). "Behavioral and Sociochemical Susceptibility of Meadow Voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) to Snake Predators". American Midland Naturalist. 100 (1): 23–8. doi:10.2307/2424774. JSTOR 2424774.
    40. ^ Askham, Leonard R. (1992). "Voles". In: Black, Hugh C., ed. Silvicultural approaches to animal damage management in Pacific Northwest forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-287. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 187-204.
    41. ^ Sullivan, Thomas P.; Martin, Wayne L. (1991). "Influence of site factors on incidence of vole and lemming feeding damage to forest plantations". Western Journal of Applied Forestry. 6 (3): 64–7.
    42. ^ Gill, David S.; Marks, P. L. (1991). "Tree and Shrub Seedling Colonization of Old Fields in Central New York". Ecological Monographs. 61 (2): 183–205. doi:10.2307/1943007. JSTOR 1943007.
    43. ^ Pauls, Ronald W. (1986). "Protection with vexar cylinders from damage by meadow voles of tree and shrub seedlings in northeastern Alberta". In: Salmon, Terrell P.; Marsh, Rex E.; Beadle, Dorothy E., eds. Proceedings--12th vertebrate pest conference; 1986 March 4–6; San Diego, CA. Davis, CA: University of California: 199-204.
    44. ^ Walley, W.J. (1972). "Summer observations of the short-eared owl in the Red River Valley". Prairie Naturalist. 4 (2): 39–41.
    45. ^ Markowski, D.; Ginsberg, H. S.; Hyland, K. E.; Hu, R. (1998). "Reservoir Competence of the Meadow Vole (Rodentia: Cricetidae) for the Lyme Disease Spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi". Journal of Medical Entomology. 35 (5): 804–8. doi:10.1093/jmedent/35.5.804. PMID 9775612.
    46. ^ a b c d Sullivan, Thomas P.; Lautenschlager, R. A.; Wagner, Robert G. (1999). "Clearcutting and burning of northern spruce-fir forests: implications for small mammal communities". Journal of Applied Ecology. 36 (3): 327–344. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2664.1999.00408.x. JSTOR 2655890.
    47. ^ Hidalgo-Mihart, Mircea G.; Cantu-Salazar, Lisette; Gonzalez-Romero, Alberto; Lopez-Gonzalez, Carlos A. (2004). "Historical and present distribution of coyote (Canis latrans) in Mexico and Central America". Journal of Biogeography. 31 (12): 2025–38. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2004.01163.x. JSTOR 3554678.

Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    The meadow vole has the widest distribution of any North American
    species of Microtus. It ranges from Labrador west to Alaska and south
    from Labrador and New Brunswick to South Carolina and extreme
    northeastern Georgia; east through Tennessee, Missouri, north-central
    Nebraska, the northern half of Wyoming, and central Washington to
    Alaska; south through Idaho into north-central Utah. It is excluded
    only from the extreme polar regions. A disjunct subset of its range
    occurs from central Colorado to northwestern New Mexico [2,48].
    Occurrence in North America
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals

    AK
    CO
    CT
    DE
    GA
    ID
    IL
    IN
    IA
    KY

    ME
    MD
    MA
    MI
    MN
    MS
    MO
    MT
    NE
    NH

    NJ
    NM
    NY
    NC
    ND
    OH
    OK
    OR
    PA
    RI

    SC
    SD
    TN
    UT
    VT
    VA
    WA
    WV
    WI
    WY

    AB
    BC
    MB
    NB
    NF
    NT
    NS
    ON
    PE
    PQ

    SK
    YK

    Regional Distribution in the Western United States
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    This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    1 Northern Pacific Border
    2 Cascade Mountains
    5 Columbia Plateau
    6 Upper Basin and Range
    8 Northern Rocky Mountains
    9 Middle Rocky Mountains
    10 Wyoming Basin
    11 Southern Rocky Mountains
    14 Great Plains
    15 Black Hills Uplift
    16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
    Distribution
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Microtus pennsylvanicus is the most widespread vole in North America. Its east to west range is continuous from central Alaska to the Atlantic coast. South of the Canadian border, its western limit is the Rocky mountains. The meadow vole is found as far south as New Mexico and Georgia (Maser and Storm 1970).

    Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

Morphology

    Morphology
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The total length of M. pennsylvanicus ranges from 128 to 195 mm with a tail about 40% of the body length. The dorsal surface is dark blackish brown to dark reddish brown with coarse black hairs. The ventral surface is grey or white and may be tinged with light brown. The winter pelage is duller and more grey. There is no sexual variation in size or color. The skull is moderately heavy, rather long, and slightly angular. The upper cheek tooth row is relatively long, about 7.2 mm, and the third premolar, usually a distinguishing characteristic among the voles, has an anterior complex, a posterior loop, and seven triangles in between, four lingual and three labial (Maser and Storm 1970, Jackson 1961).

    Range mass: 33.0 to 65.0 g.

    Average mass: 43.67 g.

    Range length: 128.0 to 195.0 mm.

    Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

    Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

    Average basal metabolic rate: 0.428 W.

Habitat

    Associated Plant Communities
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    More info for the terms: cover, presence

    Meadow voles are most commonly found in grasslands, preferring moister
    areas, but are also found in wooded areas [48].

    In eastern Washington and northern Idaho meadow voles are found in
    relative abundance in sedge (Carex spp.) fens but not in adjacent cedar
    (Thuja spp.)-hemlock (Tsuga spp.), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii),
    or ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests. Meadow voles are also
    absent from fescue (Festuca spp.)-snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.)
    associations. It was speculated that moisture is a major factor in
    habitat use; possibly the presence of free water is a deciding factor.
    In southeastern Montana meadow voles were the second most abundant small
    mammal (after deer mice [Peromyscus maniculatus]) in riparian areas
    within big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)-buffalo grass (Buchloe
    dactyloides) habitats [40]. Meadow voles are listed as
    riparian-dependent vertebrates in the Snake River drainage of Wyoming
    [52]. Raphael [47] compiled 11 studies on small mammals; meadow voles
    were reported in only 3 of 29 sites in subalpine forests of the central
    Rocky Mountains. Davis [12] suggested in 1939 that meadow vole range
    extensions were likely to be related to irrigation practices. Meadow
    voles are now common in hayfields, pastures, and along ditches in the
    Rocky Mountain states [30].

    In Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota, meadow voles were present in
    riparian shrublands, tallgrass prairie, and other habitats [57]. In
    east-central Ohio meadow voles were captured in reconstructed common
    cattail (Typha latifolia) wetlands [37]. In Virginia meadow voles were
    least abundant in eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) glades and
    most abundant in fields with dense grass cover [38].
    Cover Requirements
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    More info for the terms: formation, natural

    Nests are used as nurseries, resting areas, and as protection against
    weather. They are constructed of woven grass. Nests are usually
    subterranean or are constructed under boards, rocks, logs, brush piles,
    hay bales, fenceposts, or in grassy tussocks. Meadow voles dig shallow
    burrows [31], and in burrows, nests are constructed in enlarged
    chambers. In winter nests are often constructed on the ground surface
    under a covering of snow, usually against some natural formation such as
    a rock or log [4,31].

    Meadow voles form runways or paths in dense grasses [4,31].
    Habitat: Ecosystem
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    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):

    FRES10 White-red-jack pine
    FRES11 Spruce-fir
    FRES14 Oak-pine
    FRES15 Oak-hickory
    FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood
    FRES18 Maple-beech-birch
    FRES19 Aspen-birch
    FRES20 Douglas-fir
    FRES21 Ponderosa pine
    FRES22 Western white pine
    FRES23 Fir-spruce
    FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce
    FRES25 Larch
    FRES26 Lodgepole pine
    FRES36 Mountain grasslands
    FRES37 Mountain meadows
    FRES38 Plains grasslands
    FRES39 Prairie
    FRES41 Wet grasslands
    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):

    K047 Fescue-oatgrass
    K050 Fescue-wheatgrass
    K051 Wheatgrass-bluegrass
    K063 Foothills prairie
    K069 Bluestem-grama prairie
    K070 Sandsage-bluestem prairie
    K073 Northern cordgrass prairie
    K074 Bluestem prairie
    K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie
    K083 Cedar glades
    K088 Fayette prairie
    Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types
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    This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):

    101 Bluebunch wheatgrass
    102 Idaho fescue
    103 Green fescue
    301 Bluebunch wheatgrass-blue grama
    302 Bluebunch wheatgrass-Sandberg bluegrass
    303 Bluebunch wheatgrass-western wheatgrass
    304 Idaho fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass
    305 Idaho fescue-Richardson needlegrass
    306 Idaho fescue-slender wheatgrass
    307 Idaho fescue-threadleaf sedge
    309 Idaho fescue-western wheatgrass
    311 Rough fescue-bluebunch wheatgrass
    312 Rough fescue-Idaho fescue
    601 Bluestem prairie
    602 Bluestem-prairie sandreed
    603 Prairie sandreed-needlegrass
    604 Bluestem-grama prairie
    606 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass
    608 Wheatgrass-grama-needlegrass
    609 Wheatgrass-grama
    610 Wheatgrass
    611 Blue grama-buffalograss
    709 Bluestem-grama
    710 Bluestem prairie
    802 Missouri prairie
    Preferred Habitat
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    More info for the terms: association, competition, cover, density, forbs, grassland, herb, litter, marsh, presence, restoration, selection, shrub, succession, swamp, tree

    Optimal meadow vole habitat consists of moist, dense grassland with
    substantial amounts of plant litter. Habitat selection is largely
    influenced by relative ground cover of grasses and forbs; soil
    temperature, moisture, sodium, potassium, and pH levels; humidity; and
    interspecific competition [17,50]. Meadow voles are most commonly
    associated with sites having high soil moisture [46]. They are often
    restricted to the wetter microsites when they occur in sympatry with
    prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) or montane voles [17]. In an Iowa
    prairie restoration project, meadow voles experienced an initial
    population increase during the initial stage of vegetation succession
    (old field dominated by foxtail grass [Setaria spp.], red clover
    [Trifolium pratense], annual ragweed [Ambrosia artemisiifolia], alfalfa
    [Medicago sativa], and thistles [Cirsium spp.]). However, meadow vole
    populations reached their peak abundance during the perennial grass
    stage of succession from old field to tallgrass prairie [53]. Geier and
    Best [22] found meadow voles in habitat devoid of tree cover in which
    grasses dominated the herb layer. They listed the meadow vole as a
    species with low tolerance for habitat variation (i. e., a species that
    is intolerant of variations in habitat, is restricted to few habitats,
    and/or uses habitats less evenly than tolerant species) [22].

    In most areas meadow voles clearly prefer habitat with dense vegetation.
    In tallgrass prairie at Pipestone National Monument, meadow voles were
    positively associated with dense vegetation and litter [57]. Conley and
    others [11] reported that variables important to meadow vole habitat in
    Virginia include vegetative cover reaching a height of 8 to 16 inches
    (20-41 cm) and presence of litter. Meadow voles appeared to be randomly
    distributed within a grassland habitat in southern Quebec [26]. Grant
    and Morris [26] were not able to establish any association of meadow
    vole abundance with particular plant species. They were also unable to
    distinguish between food and cover as the determining factor in meadow
    vole association with dense vegetation.

    In eastern Massachusetts meadow vole density on a mosaic of grassy
    fields and mixed woods was positively correlated with decreasing
    vertical woody stem density and decreasing shrub cover. Meadow vole
    density was highest on plots with more forbs and grasses and less woody
    cover; meadow voles preferred woody cover over sparse vegetation where
    grassy cover was not available [1].

    In West Virginia the only forested habitats in which meadow voles were
    captured were seedling stands [9]. In South Dakota meadow voles prefer
    grasslands to Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) woodlands
    [55]. In New Mexico meadow voles were captured in stands of grasses,
    wild rose (Rosa spp.), prickly-pear (Opuntia spp.), and various forbs;
    meadow voles were also captured in wet areas with tall marsh grasses
    [18].

    Open habitat with a thick mat of perennial grass favors voles [39]. In
    west-central Illinois meadow voles were the most common small mammals on
    Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)-dominated and switchgrass (Panicum
    virginicus)-dominated study plots. They were present in very low
    numbers on orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata)-dominated plots. The most
    stable population of meadow voles occurred on unburned big bluestem
    (Andropogon gerardii)-dominated plots [42]. In Ontario meadow voles and
    white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) occur together in ecotones.
    Meadow voles were the most common small mammals in oak savanna/tallgrass
    prairie dominated by northern pin oak (Quercus palustris) and grasses
    including bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis), prairie
    cordgrass (Spartina pectinata), big bluestem, switchgrass, and Indian
    grass.

    Effect of Habitat Alteration: In Michigan strip clearcuts in a conifer
    swamp resulted in an increase in the relative abundance of meadow voles.
    Meadow voles were most abundant in clearcut strip interiors and least
    abundant in uncut strip interiors. Slash burning did not appear to
    affect meadow vole numbers about 1.5 years after treatment [64].

    Dispersal Distance: In Pennsylvania three subadult meadow voles were
    captured at least 1.6 miles (2.6 km) from the nearest appreciable
    suitable meadow vole habitat, suggesting that meadow voles are adapted
    to long-distance dispersal [34].

    Habitat Patch Shape: In Ohio the effects of patch shape and proportion
    of edge were investigated by mowing strips between study plots. The
    square plots were 132 feet per side (40 m x 40 m), and the rectangular
    patches were 52.8 feet by 330 feet (16 m x 100 m). Square habitat
    patches were not significantly different than rectangular patches in
    meadow vole density. There were no apparent edge effects in patches of
    this size, suggesting that meadow voles are edge-tolerant. Habitat
    patch shape did affect dispersal and space use behaviors. In
    rectangular patches home ranges were similar in size to those in square
    patches, but were elongated [29].

    Home Range: Meadow voles tend to remain in home ranges and defend at
    least a portion of the home range from conspecifics. Home ranges
    overlap and have irregular shapes [31]. Meadow vole home range size
    depends on season, habitat, and population density: ranges are larger
    in summer than winter, ranges in marshes are larger than ranges in
    meadows, and ranges are smaller at higher population densities [48].
    Home ranges vary in size from 0.08 to 2.3 acres (0.32-0.9 ha). Females
    have smaller home ranges than males, but are more highly territorial
    than males; there is often a period when juveniles from one litter are
    still present in the adult female's home range when the next litter is
    borne [4,31]. Female territoriality tends to determine density in
    suboptimal habitats; the amount of available forage has been suggested
    as the determining factor in female territory size and therefore also
    determines reproductive success [32].
    Habitat
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Microtus pennsylvanicus can be found in mainly in meadows, lowland fields, grassy marshes, and along rivers and lakes. They are also occasionally found in flooded marshes, high grasslands near water, and orchards or open woodland if grassy (Jackson 1961).

    Habitat Regions: temperate

Trophic Strategy

    Food Habits
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    More info for the terms: density, forbs

    Meadow voles eat most available species of grasses, sedges, and forbs
    including many agricultural plant species [31,48]. In summer and fall
    grasses are cut into match-length sections to reach the succulent
    portions of the leaves and to reach seedheads. Leaves, flowers, and
    fruits of forbs are also typical components of the summer diet. Fungi,
    primarily endogones (Endogone spp.), have been reported in meadow vole
    diets. Meadow voles occasionally consume insects and snails. Meadow
    voles occasionally scavenge on animal remains, and cannibalism is
    frequent in periods of high population density. Meadow voles may damage
    woody vegetation by girdling when population density is high [48].

    In winter meadow voles consume green basal portions of grass plants,
    often hidden under snow. Other winter diet components include seeds,
    roots, and bulbs. Meadow voles occasionally strip the bark from woody
    plants. Seeds and tubers are stored in nests and burrows [4,31].
    Evidence of coprophagy is sparse but it is thought to occur [31].

    In an old-field community in Quebec, plants preferred by meadow voles
    included quackgrass (Elytrigia repens), sedges, fescues (Festuca spp.),
    wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), timothy (Phleum pratense),
    bluegrasses (Poa spp.), and bird vetch (Vicia cracca) [5].
    Trophic Strategy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Meadow voles feed mainly on the fresh grass, sedges, and herbs that are found locally within their range. They will also eat a variety of seeds and grains. From May until August they subsists on green and succulent vegetation. During the fall they switch to grains and seeds, and during the winter they have been known to feed on the bark and roots of shrubs and small trees. These voles will also eat tubers and bulbs when available. When this species overlaps the range of cranberries, meadow voles feed extensively on these fruits. They also eat other types of fruit. Meadow voles will eat flesh and are cannibalistic, especially on new born young. They do not show much storage behavior, but occasionally make small caches of tubers during the fall. Meadow voles are voracious eaters, consuming close to 60% of the body weight. When eating, these animals sit up and will stand to gnaw bark or a grain stalk (Jackson 1961).

    Animal Foods: mammals; insects

    Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit

    Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

    Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore , Granivore )

Associations

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

    Meadow voles are an important prey for many hawks, owls, and mammalian
    carnivores, and they are also taken by some snakes [48]. Almost all
    species of raptors take microtine (Microtus spp.) rodents as prey.
    Birds not usually considered predators of mice do take voles; examples
    include gulls (Larus spp.), northern shrike (Larius borealis),
    black-billed magpie (Pica pica), common raven (Corvus corvax), American
    crow (C. brachyrhynchos), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), and
    American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) [31]. In Ohio meadow voles
    comprised 90 percent of the individual prey remains in long-eared owl
    (Asio otus) pellets on a relict wet prairie [44], and in Wisconsin
    meadow voles comprised 95 percent of short-eared owl (A. flammeus) prey
    [14]. Most mammalian predators take microtine prey [31]. The
    short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) is major predator; meadow voles
    avoid areas frequented by short-tailed shrews [48]. Other major
    mammalian predators include badger (Taxidea taxus), striped skunk
    (Mephitis mephitis), weasels (Mustela spp.), marten (Martes americana),
    and domestic cat (Felis cattus). Other animals reported to have
    ingested voles include trout (Salmo spp.), Pacific giant salamander
    (Dicampton ensatus), garter snake (Thamnophis spp.), yellow-bellied
    racer (Coluber constrictor), gopher snake (Pituophis melanoleucas),
    rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), and rubber boa (Charina bottae) [31].

    In northern prairie wetlands meadow voles are a large portion of the
    diets of red fox (Vulpes vulpes), mink (Mustela vison), short-eared owl,
    and northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) [20]. Voles (Microtus spp.) are
    frequently taken by racers (Coluber spp.); racers and voles often use
    the same burrows [41].
    Associations
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Especially because they are so abundant in the habitats where they are found, meadow voles have crucial ecosystem roles. Many predator species rely on voles to make up a significant portion of their diet, especially owls, small hawks and falcons. In addition, meadow voles consume large quantities of grass and recycle the nutrients held in the grass through their droppings. They also help to aerate and turn the soil through their digging activities.

    Associations
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Meadow voles are aggressive and will attack when cornered or captured. They take refuge from predators in their system of burrows and grass tunnels. Below is a list of some predators.

    Known Predators:

    • owls (Strigiformes)
    • birds of prey (Falconiformes)
    • snakes (Serpentes)
    • red foxes (Vulpes vulpes)
    • weasels (Mustela)

General Ecology

    Habitat-related Fire Effects
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    More info for the terms: cover, ferns, fire frequency, forbs, frequency, litter, marsh, prescribed fire, shrubs, wildfire

    Vegetative recovery increases the available biomass on burned areas.
    Fire usually benefits small mammals or causes only temporary declines in
    populations [33].

    Grassland/Prairie/Agricultural Areas: In western Illinois tallgrass
    prairie, meadow voles were most abundant on prairie that had burned 2
    years previously, and next most abundant on 3-postfire-year prairie.
    They were least abundant on freshly burned prairie; prescribed fires
    were conducted in April and burns were sampled from May through August
    [51]. In a central Wisconsin marsh meadow vole populations were not
    significantly different on postfire and unburned plots that were sampled
    in August following prescribed fire in mid-March to late April [28]. In
    south-central Nebraska mixed-grass prairie, meadow voles reached peak
    abundance 2 years following prescribed fire, remained at about the same
    abundance the third year, and began to decline the fourth year. Annual
    or biennial burning is too frequent to maintain peak densities of meadow
    voles. In Manitoba agricultural areas within a mosaic of wetlands,
    aspen (Populus spp.) groves, and oak groves, prescribed fire is used
    frequently in agricultural fields to control litter, plant diseases, and
    pests. No meadow voles were caught in burned areas immediately
    following burning. Only 50 were taken in unburned areas; their absence
    from burned areas was attributed to lack of cover and residual
    vegetation for runway construction [19].

    In north-central Nebraska there were more meadow voles on unburned plots
    than on burned plots by midsummer, 3 months after prescribed fire in
    mixed-grass prairie [49]. Meadow voles were not present on big
    bluestem-dominated plots immediately following prescribed spring fire;
    adjacent unburned areas exhibited increased populations right after the
    fire which suggested that the population of meadow voles on the burned
    area had moved to the unburned area [42].

    Forested Sites: Meadow voles in woodlands need cover after fire. In
    Saskatchewan quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) parklands, prescribed
    fire is used to maintain grass cover and control quaking aspen. Meadow
    voles are often the most abundant small mammal in this habitat; their
    abundance is affected by fire frequency and concomitant habitat
    structure. From 1975 to 1982, meadow voles were significantly reduced
    (compared to unburned plots) on plots that had been burned three times
    in the fall and on plots that had been burned four times in the spring.
    The low number of meadow voles on the two plot types was attributed to a
    sparse litter layer. Meadow vole abundance was similar on burned and
    control plots in areas of ecotone in 1983 [61]. In Minnesota 2 years
    after a severe wildfire in jack pine (Pinus banksiana) woodlands, meadow
    voles were trapped on burned areas. Vegetation, dominated by ferns,
    forbs, shrubs, and jack pine seedlings, was lush on the burned areas
    [8]. Meadow voles were the third most abundant small mammal on jack
    pine sites in Manitoba; they were slightly more predominant on unburned
    areas for the 3 years following prescribed fire treatment. Meadow vole
    numbers were fairly constant on large burned areas over the 3 years
    suggesting that there was sufficient cover and food to maintain the
    population but not support any increase [56]. In north-central
    Pennsylvania mixed-oak stands that were clearcut and burned in spring of
    1973, meadow vole numbers were very low on the burned area immediately
    after the fire, but were similar on burned and unburned areas by August
    1974 [16].
    Timing of Major Life History Events
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    More info for the terms: cover, density, litter, marsh, presence

    Meadow voles are active year-round [4,31].

    Diurnal Activity: Meadow voles are active day or night, with no clear
    24-hour rhythm in many areas [66]. Most changes in activity are imposed
    by season, habitat, cover, temperature, and other factors. Meadow voles
    have to eat frequently, and their active periods (every 2 to 3 hours)
    are associated with food digestion [4,31]. In Canada meadow voles are
    active the first 3 hours after dawn and during the 2- to 4-hour period
    before sunset. Most of the nonactive period is spent in the nest [31].

    Gestation and Development of Young: Gestation lasts 20 to 23 days [31].
    Neonates are pink and hairless, with closed eyes and ears. Fur begins
    to appear by 4 days, and young are completely furred except for the
    belly by 7 days. Eyes and ears open by 8 days. Weaning occurs from 12
    to 14 days. Young born in spring and early summer attain adult weight
    in 12 weeks, but undergo a fall weight loss. Young born in late summer
    continue growing through the fall and maintain their weight through the
    winter. Maximum size is reached between 2 and 10 months [31,48].

    Litter Size and Productivity: Typical meadow vole litters consist of 4
    to 6 young, with extremes of 1 and 11 young. On average 2.6 young are
    successfully weaned per litter. Litter size is not significantly
    correlated with latitude, elevation, or population density. Fall,
    winter, and spring litters tend to be smaller than summer litters.
    Reich [48] found that litter size was positively correlated with body
    size, and is not significantly different in primaparous and multiparous
    females. Another report stated that primaparous females had fewer young
    per litter than multiparous females [31]. Litter size was constant in
    summer breeding periods at different population densities [48]. Female
    meadow voles reach reproductive maturity earlier than males; some
    ovulate and become pregnant as early as 3 weeks. Males are usually 6 to
    8 weeks old before mature sperm are produced [31]. One captive female
    meadow vole produced 17 litters in 1 year for a total of 83 young. One
    of her young produced 13 litters (totalling 78 young) before she was 1
    year old [3]. If breeding began in April, it was estimated that 100
    pairs of montane voles (Microtus montanus) in 40 acres could create a
    density of 8,900 voles by September [43].

    Mortality and Longevity: Patterns of mortality apparently vary among
    meadow vole populations. According to Banfield [4] the average meadow
    vole lifespan is less than 1 month because of high nestling and juvenile
    mortality. The average time that adults are recapturable in a given
    habitat is about 2 months, suggesting that the average extended lifespan
    (i.e. how much time adult meadow voles have left) is about 2 months, not
    figuring in emigration [4]. Getz [23] reported mortality of 88 percent
    for the first 30 days after birth. Golley [25] reported that
    postnestling juveniles had the highest mortality rate (61%), followed by
    young adults (58%) and older age groups (53%). He estimated that
    nestlings had the lowest mortality rate (50%). Estimated mean longevity
    ranges from 2 to 3 months to 10 to 16 months [48]. Banfield [4]
    reported that the maximum lifespan in the wild is 16 months, and Johnson
    and Johnson [31] stated that few voles live more than 2 years.

    Population Density and Population Cycles: Meadow vole populations
    fluctuate annually and also tend to reach peak densities at 2- to 5-year
    intervals, with population declines in intervening years [4,31,35].
    Breeding often ceases in January and starts again in March [31]. Over
    the course of a year, meadow vole populations tend to be lowest in early
    spring; the population increases rapidly through summer and fall [31].

    In years of average population sizes, typical meadow vole population
    density is about 15 to 45 meadow voles per acre in old-field habitat.
    In peak years meadow vole population densities may reach 150 meadow
    voles per acre in marsh habitat (more favorable for meadow voles than
    old fields) [4]. Fritzell [20] stated that peak meadow vole abundance
    can exceed 1,482 meadow voles per acre (600/ha) in northern prairie
    wetlands. Meadow voles in optimal habitats in Virginia (old fields with
    dense vegetation) reached densities of 983 per acre (398/ha);
    populations declined to 67 per acre (27/ha) at the lowest point in the
    cycle [38]. Different factors influencing population density have been
    assigned primary importance by different authors. Reich [48] listed the
    following factors as having been suggested by different authors: food
    quality, predation, climatic events, density-related physiological
    stress, and the presence of genetically determined behavioral variants
    among dispersing individuals.

    Normal population cycles do not occur when dispersal is prevented; under
    normal conditions dispersers have been shown to be behaviorally,
    genetically, and demographically different from residents [48]. Birney
    and others [7] hypothesized that there is a threshold density of cover
    needed for meadow vole populations to increase. Above the threshold
    amount the quantity of cover influences the amplitude and possibly the
    duration of the population peak. Local patches of dense cover could
    serve as source populations or reservoirs to colonize less favorable
    habitats with sparse cover [7].

    Social Interaction: Meadow voles form extensive colonies and develop
    communal latrine areas. They are socially aggressive and agonistic;
    females dominate males and males fight amongst themselves [4].

Behavior

    Behavior
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Meadow voles have keen hearing and a good sense of smell. Vocalizations are primarily used in defensive situations.

    Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

Life Expectancy

    Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
    provided by AnAge articles
    Observations: Little is known about the longevity of these animals, though they have been estimated to live up to 3.9 years (Ronald Nowak and John Paradiso 1983).
    Life Expectancy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Meadow voles are short-lived, rarely living for longer than one year in the wild.

Reproduction

    Reproduction
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Mating in M. pennsylvanicus is promiscuous. They breed all year round with March through November being the main breeding season. The number of young in a litter varies from two to nine with six or seven as the most common litter size. Number is correlated with the size of the female, with younger females giving birth to smaller litters. Breeding is virtually continuous and the female will mate immediately after giving birth. First mating in females occurs when they are about half grown at an age of 25 days. Males mate when they reach the age of about 45 days (Jackson 1961).

    Breeding interval: Females will mate again as soon as they give birth, so they can have a large number of litters in one year. One female in captivity had 17 litters in one year.

    Breeding season: Year-round

    Range number of offspring: 3.0 to 10.0.

    Average gestation period: 21.0 days.

    Average weaning age: 14.0 days.

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

    Average birth mass: 2.46 g.

    Average gestation period: 21 days.

    Average number of offspring: 5.5.

    Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male:
    37 days.

    Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female:
    29 days.

    Baby voles are born helpless, but grow quickly. Females care for and nurse their young in the nest until they are weaned at two weeks old. Soon after weaning the young move away, or disperse, from their mother's home range.

    Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care

Conservation Status

    Conservation Status
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    Information on state- and province-level protection status of animals in the
    United States and Canada is available at NatureServe, although recent
    changes in status may not be included.
    U.S. Federal Legal Status
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    More info for the term: marsh

    The Florida salt marsh vole is listed as Endangered [68].
    Conservation Status
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The meadow vole is very abundant and has no special status.

    US Federal List: no special status

    CITES: no special status

    State of Michigan List: no special status

    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

Management

    Management Considerations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    More info for the terms: forest, fruit, grassland, herb, shrubs, tree

    Meadow voles are abundant in agricultural habitats. The list of crops
    that are damaged by meadow voles is long and includes root and stem
    crops (asparagus, kohlrabi), tubers, leaf and leafstalks, immature
    inflorescent vegetables (artichoke, broccoli), low-growing fruits
    (beans, squash), the bark of fruit trees, pasture, grassland, hay, and
    grains [31]. Meadow voles are listed as pests on forest plantations
    [2]. In forest plantations in British Columbia an apparently abundant
    (not censused) meadow vole population was associated with a high rate of
    "not sufficient regeneration"; damage to tree seedlings was attributed
    to meadow voles and lemmings (Synaptomys spp.) [60]. In central New
    York colonization of old fields by trees and shrubs was reduced due to
    seedling predation by meadow voles, particularly under the herb canopy
    [24].

    Management of meadow vole abundance in agricultural areas includes
    reduction of habitat in waste places such as roadsides and fencerows by
    mowing, plowing, and herbicide application. Predators, particularly
    raptors, should be protected to keep meadow vole populations in check.
    Direct control methods include trapping, fencing, and poisoning;
    trapping and fencing are of limited effectiveness. Poisons are
    efficient. Repellents are largely ineffective at present [31]. Pauls
    [45] reported that plastic mesh cylinders were effective in preventing
    seedling damage by meadow voles and other rodents. Properly timed
    cultivation and controlled fires are at least partially effective in
    reducing meadow vole abundance.

    The cycle of meadow vole abundance is an important proximate factor
    affecting the life histories of its major predators. Meadow voles are
    usually the most abundant small mammals in northern prairie wetlands,
    often exceeding 40 percent of all individual small mammals present [20].
    Numbers of short-eared owls, northern harriers, rough-legged hawks
    (Buteo lagopus), coyotes (Canis latrans), and red foxes were related to
    large numbers of meadow voles in a field in Wisconsin [14]. Other
    authors have also stated that predator numbers are positively associated
    with meadow vole abundance [31,65].

    Ecto- and endoparasites have been reported for meadow voles by a number
    of authors and include trematodes, cestodes, nematodes,
    acanthocephalans, anoplura, siphonaptera, diptera, and acarina [31,48].

    Human diesases transmitted by microtine rodents include cystic hydatid
    disease, tularemia, bubonic plague, babesiasis, and giardiasis [31].
    Use of Fire in Population Management
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    More info for the term: fire regime

    NO-ENTRY

    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".

Benefits

    Benefits
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    When abundant, the meadow can be a pest. It can do considerable damage to growing grain and is also a problem in orchards and forestry plantings (Jackson 1961).

    Negative Impacts: crop pest

    Benefits
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Microtus pennsylvanicus destroys many weeds especially weed grasses, and serves as food for some fur animals and other predators (Jackson 1961).

Taxonomy

    Common Names
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    meadow vole
    meadow mouse
    field mouse
    Taxonomy
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Animals
    More info for the term: marsh

    The currently accepted scientific name for meadow vole is Microtus
    pennsylvanicus (Ord)[27,48,67]. Subspecies include:

    Microtus pennsylvanicus chihuahuensis, Chihuahuan meadow vole [48,67]
    Microtus pennsylvanicus dukecampbelli, Florida salt marsh vole [67]
    Microtus pennsylvanicus kincaidi, potholes meadow vole [48]
    Microtus pennsylvanicus pennsylvanicus, meadow vole [48,67]
    Microtus pennsylvanicus provectus, Block Island meadow vole
    Microtus pennsylvanicus shattucki, Penobscot meadow vole [48]

Other Articles

    Untitled
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Microtus pennsylvanicus first appeared in the Late Pleistocene and is very abundant in the fossil record.