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Montana Field Guides

Meadow Vole - Microtus pennsylvanicus

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Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 3


 

External Links





 
General Description
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).

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 1316

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Wet grassland habitat but not above timberline in grassy alpine tundra. Where M. montanus not present, M. pennsylvanicus may inhabit drier grasslands (Hoffmann 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:
    1. 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);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
    4. 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 bmaxell@mt.gov 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.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2001.  The wild mammals of Montana.  Special Publication No. 12.  Lawrence, KS: The American Society of Mammalogists.  278 p.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana’s amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Grasses, sedges & herbaceous plants. May use fungi, particularly endogone. Will use insects. Occasionally will use carrion (Reich 1981).

Ecology
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 1983).

Reproductive Characteristics
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 1983).

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View WorldCat Record   View Online Publication
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    • Ambrose, H. W. 1973. An experimental study of some factors affecting the spatial and temporal activity of MICROTUS PENNSYLVANICUS. J. Mammal. 54:79-110.
    • Ambrose, H. W. 1973. An experimental study of some factors affecting the spatial and temporal activity of Microtus pennsylvanicus. J. Mammal. 54:79-110.
    • Bauer, Delane, 2002, 2002 Four Seasons Wildlife Study. Savage Mine Report, Richland County, Montana.
    • Butts, Thomas W., Western Technology and Eng., Helena, MT., 1993, Continental Lime Indian Creek Mine, Townsend, MT. 1993 Life of Mine Wildlife Reconnaissance. June 1993. In Life-of-Mine Amendment. Continental Lime, Inc., Indian Creek Mine & Plant. Vol. 2. October 13, 1992.
    • Carlsen, Tom, and Rick Northrup, 1992, Canyon Ferry Wildlife Management Area Final Draft Management Plan. March 1992.
    • Clark, T. W. and M. R. Stromberg. 1987. Mammals in Wyoming. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Public Education Series Number 10. xii + 314 p.
    • Dice, L.R. 1923. Mammal associations and habitats of the Flathead Lake Region, Montana. Ecology 4(3):247-260.
    • Douglass, R. J. 1976. Spatial interactions and microhabitat selections of two locally sympatric voles, MICROTUS MONTANUS and MICROTUS PENNSYLVANICUS. Ecol. 57: 346-352.
    • Douglass, Richard J. 1973. Spatial interactions and microhabitat selections of two locally sympatric voles, Microtus montanus and Microtus pennsylvanicus. Ph.D. Thesis, Montana State University, Bozeman. 48 pp.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1975, Colstrip 10 x 20 Area wildlife and wildlife habitat annual monitoring report, 1975. Proj. 71-23-A. December 31, 1975.
    • Eng, Robert. L., 1976?, Wildlife Baseline Study [for West Fork of the Stillwater and Picket Pin drainages]
    • Findley, J. S. 1951. Habitat preferences of four species of Microtus in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. J. Mammal. 32(1):118-120.
    • Fjell, Alan K., and Brian R. Mahan, compilers., 1984, Peabody Coal Company Big Sky Mine, Rosebud County, MT. Wildlife monitoring report: 1983 field season. February 1984.
    • Foresman, K. R. 2001. The wild mammals of Montana. American Society of Mammologists, Special Publication Number 12. Lawrence, KS. 278 p.
    • Hodgeson, J.R. 1972. Local distribution of Microtus montanus and Microtus pennsylvanicus in southwestern Montana. J. Mammal. 53(3): 487-499.
    • Hodgson, J. R. 1972. Local distribulion of Microtus montanus and M. pennsylvanicus in southwestern Montana. J. Mammal. 53:487-499.
    • Hodgson, James R. 1970. Ecological distribution of Microtus montanus and Microtus pennsylvanicus in an area of geographic sympatry in southwestern Montana. M.S. Thesis, Montana State University, Bozeman.
    • Hoffmann, R. S. and D. L. Pattie. 1968. A guide to Montana mammals: identification, habitat, distribution, and abundance. University of Montana, Missoula. 133 p.
    • http://mdt.mt.gov/research/docs/research_proj/animal_use/april_report.pdf
    • http://mdt.mt.gov/research/docs/research_proj/animal_use/interim_report_nov02.pdf
    • http://mdt.mt.gov/research/docs/research_proj/animal_use/progress_apr03.pdf
    • 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 p.
    • Krebs, C. J., B. L. Keller and R. H. Tamarin. 1969. MICROTUS population biology: Demographic changes in fluctuating populations of M. OCHROGASTER and M. PENNSYLVANICUS in southern Indiana. Ecol. 50(4): 587-607.
    • Kritzman, Ellen B. 1977. Little mammals of the Pacific Northwest. Pacific Search Press, Seattle, WA.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Big Spring Creek, Lewistown, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.029. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. I.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Creston Site, Creston, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.007. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. I.
    • Linzey, A. V. 1984. Patterns of coexistence in SYNAPTOMYS COOPERI and MICROTUS PENNSYLVANICUS. Ecol. 65:382-393.
    • 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.
    • Munshower, Frank F., 1974, Animal tissue collections and bone fluoride concentrations at Colstrip, MT. 1973. Collecting Report, 1973. January 1974.
    • Murie, J. O. 1971. Behavioral relationship between two sympatric voles: Relevance to habitat segregation. J. Mammal. 52(1):181-186.
    • Powder River Eagle Studies, Gillette, WY., 1992, Big Sky Mine 1991 wildlife monitoring studies. Rev. February 1992.
    • Powder River Eagle Studies, Inc., Gillette, WY., 1994?, Big Sky Mine 1993 wildlife studies. Date???
    • Reich, L.M. 1981. Microtus pennsylvanicus. Mamm. Species No. 159. 8 pp.
    • Reid, F. 2006. Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America, 4th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston and New York, 608 pp.
    • Rust, H. J. 1946. Mammals of northern Idaho. J. Mammal. 27(4): 308-327.
    • Schladweiler, Philip, and John P. Weigand., 1983, Relationships of endrin and other chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds to wildlife in Montana, 1981-1982. September 1983.
    • Stearns-Roger Inc., 1975, Environmental baseline information of the Mount Vernon Region, Montana. January 31, 1975.
    • Thompson, D.Q. 1965. Food preferences of the meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) in relation to habitat affinities. Amer. Midl. Nat. 74:76-86.
    • Thompson, Richard W., Western Resource Dev. Corp., Boulder, CO., 1996, Wildlife baseline report for the Montana [Montanore] Project, Lincoln and Sanders counties, Montana. In Application for a Hard Rock Operating Permit and Proposed Plan of Operation, Montanore Project, Lincoln and Sanders Counties, Montana. Vol. 5. Stroiazzo, John. Noranda Minerals Corp., Libby, MT. Revised September 1996.
    • VTN Colorado, Inc. Decker Coal Company., 1975, Draft environmental impact assessment for the proposed North Extension of the West Decker Mine.
    • Welsh, C. J. 1985. Species-typical lipids from the body surface and preputial glands of the sympatric voles Microtus montanus and M. pennsylvanicus: characterization and identification. Ph.D. thesis, Montana State University, Bozeman. 83 pp.
    • Welsh, C. J., R. E. Moore, R. J. Bartelt and L. L. Jackson. 1988. Novel, species-typical esters from preputial glands of sympatric voles, Microtus montana and M. pennsylvanicus. J. Chem. Ecology 14:143-157.
    • Western EcoTech, Helena, MT., 1999, Wetland delineation report for the Haskins Landing Proposed Wetland Mitigation Area. MWFE? June 2, 1999.
    • Western Technology & Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1991, 1991 Bull Mountains Mine No. 1 Terrestrial Wildlife Monitoring Study. In Meridian Minerals Company Bull Mountains Mine No. 1 Permit Application, Musselshell County, Montana. Vol. 7 of 14: Section 26.4.304(10): Text. Appendix 304(10)-8. January 31, 1990.
    • Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH). 1994. Wildlife Monitoring Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1993. Montana SMP 85005. OSMP Montana 0007C. Mar. 12, 1994.
    • Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1990, Wildlife monitoring: Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1990. 12/21/89-12/20/90. Montana SMP 85005 R1. OSMP Montana 0007B. Febr. 15, 1991.
    • Western Technology and Engineering, Inc. (WESTECH)., 1991, Wildlife monitoring and additional baseline inventory: Absaloka Mine Area Annual Report, 1991. Montana SMP 85005 R1. OSMP Montana 0007B. Febr. 25, 1991.
    • Westmoreland Resources, Inc., Hardin, MT., 1981, Upper Sarpy Basin Wildlife Study. In 1981 Wildlife Report. April 1982.
    • Williams, O. 1955. Distribution of mice and shrews in a Colorado montane forest. J. Mammal. 36(2): 221-231.
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Citation for data on this website:
Meadow Vole — Microtus pennsylvanicus.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=AMAFF11010
 
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