Meadow Vole - Microtus pennsylvanicus
The Meadow Vole, under 6 inches in length from tip of nose to end of tail and a little over an ounce in weight, has the rotund body, blunt nose, and bright black eyes of all voles. On top it can be yellowish or reddish brown to dark brown, with black-tipped hairs. Below it is buffy to lead gray, with silver-tipped hairs. In Montana, Meadow Voles and Montane Voles look much alike; however, the Meadow Voles tend to be darker brown and have plantar tubercles (foot pads) (Foresman 2012).
Western Hemisphere Range
Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations:
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Wet grassland habitat but not above timberline in grassy alpine tundra. Where M. montanus not present, M. pennsylvanicus may inhabit drier grasslands (Hoffmann and Pattie 1968).
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
How Associations Were Made
We associated the use and habitat quality (high, medium, or low) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for
vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
- Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2001, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
- Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
- Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
- Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of “observations versus availability of habitat”.
Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.
In general, species were associated as using an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.
However, species were not associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if
point observations were associated with that system.
High, medium, and low habitat quality was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species in the literature.
The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignments of habitat quality.
If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact Bryce Maxell at email@example.com
or (406) 444-3655.
Suggested Uses and Limitations
Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.
These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp
) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.
Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.
Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.
Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).
Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species’ known geographic range.
- Adams, R.A. 2003. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. 289 p.
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- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
Forest and Woodland Systems
Human Land Use
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
- Occasionally Associated with these Ecological Systems
Human Land Use
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Grasses, sedges & herbaceous plants. May use fungi, particularly endogone. Will use insects. Occasionally will use carrion (Reich 1981).
Makes extensive runways. In eastern MT mean home range was 0.13 acres for females, 0.14 acres for lactating females, 0.23 acres for males (McCann 1976). Low longevity, high juvenile mortality (Jones et al. 1983).
Productivity varies with climate and population trends. Promiscuous. Probably 5 to 6 young/litter. Young disperse from natal nest when 3 to 4 weeks old (Jones et al. 1983).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
- Hoffmann, R.S. and D.L. Pattie. 1968. A guide to Montana mammals: identification, habitat, distribution, and abundance. University of Montana, Missoula. 133 pp.
- Jones, J.K., D.M. Armstrong, R.S. Hoffmann and C. Jones. 1983. Mammals of the northern Great Plains. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. 379 pp.
- McCann, S.A. 1976. Home ranges of the meadow vole and deer mouse (on a reclamation test pit in eastern Montana). Proceedings of the Montana Academy of Sciences 36:11-17.
- Reich, L.M. 1981. Microtus pennsylvanicus. Mamm. Species No. 159. 8 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
Do you know of a citation we're missing?
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- Additional Sources of Information Related to "Mammals"