Index of Species Information

WILDLIFE SPECIES:  Microtus pennsylvanicus

Introductory

WILDLIFE SPECIES: Microtus pennsylvanicus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Sullivan, Janet. 1996. Microtus pennsylvanicus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ []. ABBREVIATION : MIPE COMMON NAMES : meadow vole meadow mouse field mouse TAXONOMY : 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] ORDER : Rodentia CLASS : Mammal FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : The Florida salt marsh vole is listed as Endangered [68]. OTHER STATUS : 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.


WILDLIFE DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

WILDLIFE SPECIES: Microtus pennsylvanicus
GENERAL 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; 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]. ECOSYSTEMS : 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 STATES :
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
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 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 KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : 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 SAF COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : 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 PLANT COMMUNITIES : 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].

BIOLOGICAL DATA AND HABITAT REQUIREMENTS

WILDLIFE SPECIES: Microtus pennsylvanicus
TIMING OF MAJOR LIFE HISTORY EVENTS : 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]. PREFERRED 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 [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]. COVER REQUIREMENTS : 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]. FOOD HABITS : 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]. PREDATORS : 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]. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : 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].

FIRE EFFECTS AND USE

WILDLIFE SPECIES: Microtus pennsylvanicus
DIRECT FIRE EFFECTS ON ANIMALS : Kelleyhouse [33] suggested that most small mammals were killed by intense wildfire but offered no direct evidence. It appears likely that mortality rates are affected by season and timing of fire, fire intensity, and rate of fire spread. In Wisconsin Ver Steeg [63] found 57 dead meadow voles following an early spring prescribed fire. No dead meadow voles were found following a prescribed fire in a Minnesota prairie even though meadow voles were abundant [10]. In Illinois tallgrass prairie no direct mortality was observed during prescribed spring fire. Most meadow voles survived heat and flames by moving into or remaining in their burrows. A few were observed escaping ahead of the fire. No dead meadow voles were found after the fire on the surface or in burrows [49]. In Nebraska tallgrass prairie plots burned in spring were searched for evidence of mortality. Both prairie voles and meadow voles occurred on the plots. Of the 24 nests (both species) found, only one dead meadow vole was found next to a nest; an additional casualty, a charred adult prairie vole, was found in an area devoid of nests [13]. There were no dead voles found on burned areas after spring prescribed fire in Nebraska prairie [62]. Meadow voles that were tagged with radio transmitters were monitored during a prescribed fire in mixed-grass prairie in south-central Nebraska. One individual went down an old badger hole that was near her location when the fire was started. The vole was apparently emigrating from the burned area when she was captured in a firelane. Another meadow vole ran 50 feet and took refuge in an old burrow with a 1-inch (2.54 cm) opening; the burrow was probably that of a vole, but not the home burrow of the individual. This meadow vole was later eaten by a yellow-bellied racer. It was speculated that the vole did not return to its home burrow and was at a disadvantage in a "foreign" burrow which led to its capture by the snake [59]. Emigration Following Fire: Postfire emigration is probably due to lack of cover (including litter) rather than lack of food. Prescribed spring fire in Nebraska prairie consumed all aboveground cover but left food available on burned plots [49]. Even though few if any meadow voles were killed by fire, there was a significant and immediate drop in the numbers of resident meadow voles on prairie plots that were prescribed burned in May 1979. Meadow vole numbers remained low until May 1980. By September 1980, meadow vole numbers were similar on burned and control plots. Meadow vole numbers did not recover until litter accumulation was sufficient for cover. Food was plentiful for 90 days before meadow voles immigrated into the burned area [62]. HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS : 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]. FIRE USE : NO-ENTRY

References for species: Microtus pennsylvanicus


1. Adler, Gregory H. 1988. The role of habitat structure in organizing small mammal populations and communities. 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: 289-299. [7118]
2. 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. [23386]
3. Bailey, Vernon. 1924. Breeding, feeding, and other life habits of meadow mice (Microtus). Journal of Agricultural Research. 27(8): 523-536. [25764]
4. Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press. 438 p. [21084]
5. Bergeron, Jean-Marie; Jodoin, Louise. 1989. Patterns of resource use, food quality, and health status of voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) trapped from fluctuating populations. Oecologia. 79: 306-314. [24928]
6. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]
7. Birney, Elmer C.; Grant, W. E.; Baird, Donna Day. 1976. Importance of vegetative cover to cycles of Microtus populations. Ecology. 57(5): 1043-1051. [25768]
8. Books, David J. 1972. Little Sioux Burn: year two. Naturalist. 23(3&4): 2-7. [11550]
9. 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. [25544]
10. Chance, Robert L. 1986. The effect of fall burning on small mammals in Blue Mound State Park, Luverne, Minnesota. In: Clambey, Gary K.; Pemble, Richard H., eds. The prairie: past, present and future: Proceedings, 9th North American prairie conference; 1984 July 29 - August 1; Moorhead, MN. Fargo, ND: Tri-College University Center for Environmental Studies: 157-159. [3562]
11. Conley, Walt; Tipton, Alan R.; Kukila, Susan. 1976. Habitat preference in Microtus pennsylvanicus: a preliminary multivariate analysis. Virginia Journal of Science. 27(2): 43. [Abstract]. [25765]
12. Davis, W. B. 1939. Recent mammals of Idaho. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers Ltd. [Pages unknown]. [25704]
13. Erwin, William J.; Stasiak, Richard H. 1979. Vertebrate mortality during the burning of a reestablished prairie in Nebraska. The American Midland Naturalist. 101(1): 247-249. [3818]
14. 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): 223-226. [22178]
15. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
16. Fala, Robert A. 1975. Effects of prescribed burning on small mammal populations in a mixed-oak clearcut. Journal of Forestry. 73(9): 586-587. [10918]
17. Birney, Elmer C.; Grant, W. E.; Baird, Donna Day. 1976. Importance of vegetative cover to cycles of Microtus populations. Ecology. 57(5): 1043-1051. [25768]
18. Finley, Robert B., Jr. 1986. Distributions and habitats of voles in southeastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico. The Southwestern Naturalist. 31(2): 263-266. [18452]
19. Fritzell, Erik K. 1975. Effects of agricultural burning on nesting waterfowl. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 89: 21-27. [14635]
20. Fritzell, Erik K. 1989. Mammals in prairie wetlands. In: Vander Valk, Arnold, ed. Northern prairie wetlands. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press: 268-301. [15219]
21. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998]
22. Geier, Anthony R.; Best, Louis B. 1980. Habitat selection by small mammals of riparian communities: evaluating effects of habitat alterations. Journal of Wildlife Management. 44(1): 16-24. [25535]
23. Getz, Lowell L. 1960. A population study of the vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus. The American Midland Naturalist. 64: 392-405. [25825]
24. 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. [14486]
25. Golley, Frank B. 1961. Interaction of natality, mortality and movement during one annual cycle in a Microtus population. The American Midland Naturalist. 66(1): 152-159. [25823]
26. Grant, P. R.; Morris, Ralph D. 1971. The distribution of Microtus pennsylvanicus within grassland habitat. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 49(7): 1043-1052. [25826]
27. Hall, E. Raymond. 1981. The mammals of North America. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 1271 p. [14765]
28. Halvorsen, Harvey H.; Anderson, Raymond K. 1983. Evaluation of grassland management for wildlife in central Wisconsin. In: Kucera, Clair L., ed. Proceedings, 7th North American prairie conference; 1980 August 4-6; Springfield, MO. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri: 267-279. [3228]
29. 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): 1045-1055. [22627]
30. Hoffman, George R. 1960. The small mammal components of six climax plant associations in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Ecology. 41(3): 571-572. [12472]
31. Johnson, Murray L.; Johnson, Sherry. 1982. Voles: Microtus species. In: Chapman, Joseph A.; Feldhamer, George A., eds. Wild mammals of North America: Biology, management, and economics. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press: 326-354. [25236]
32. Jones, Eric N. 1990. Effects of forage availability on home range and population density of Microtus pennsylvanicus. Journal of Mammalogy. 71(3): 382-389. [23790]
33. Kelleyhouse, David G. 1979. Fire/wildlife relationships in Alaska. In: Hoefs, M.; Russell, D., eds. Wildlife and wildfire: Proceedings of workshop; 1979 November 27-28; Whitehorse, YT. Whitehorse, YT: Yukon Wildlife Branch: 1-36. [14071]
34. Kirkland, Gordon L., Jr. 1988. Meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) on forest clearcuts: the role of long-distance dispersal. Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. 62(2): 83-85. [10099]
35. Krebs, Charles J.; Myers, Judith H. 1974. Population cycles in small mammals. In: MacFadyen, A, ed. Advances in ecological research: volume 8. Advances in ecological research. London: Academic Press: 267-399. [25757]
36. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384]
37. Lacki, Michael J.; Hummer, Joseph W.; Webster, Harold J. 1991. Effect of reclamation technique on mammal communities inhabiting wetlands on mined lands in east-central Ohio. Ohio Journal of Science. 91(4): 154-158. [22035]
38. 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: 463-469. [25824]
39. 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. [24678]
40. MacCracken, James G.; Uresk, Daniel W.; Hansen, Richard M. 1985. Rodent-vegetation relationships in southeastern Montana. Northwest Science. 59(4): 272-278; 1985. [1499]
41. Madison, Dale M. 1978. Behavioral and sociochemical susceptibility of meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) to snake predators. The American Midland Naturalist. 100(1): 23-28. [25766]
42. 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. [18804]
43. Negus, Norman C.; Pinter, Aelita J. 1965. Litter sizes of Microtus montanus in the laboratory. Journal of Mammalogy. 46(3): 434-445. [26098]
44. 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. [14056]
45. 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. [4001]
46. Pendleton, G. W. 1984. Small mammals in prairie wetlands: habitat use and the effects of wetland modification. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University. [Pages unknown]. Thesis. [26235]
47. Raphael, Martin G. 1987. Nongame wildlife research in subalpine forests of the central Rocky Mountains. In: Management of subalpine forests: building on 50 years of research: Proceedings of a technical conference; 1987 July 6-9; Silver Creek, CO. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-149. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 113-122. [23229]
48. Reich, Lawrence M. 1981. Microtus pennsylvanicus. Mammalian Species. No. 159: 1-8. [23129]
49. Schramm, Peter. 1970. Effects of fire on small mammal populations in a restored tall-grass prairie. In: Schramm, Peter, ed. Proceedings of a symposium on prairie and prairie restoration; 1968 September 14-15; Galesburg, IL. Special Publication No. 3. Galesburg, IL: Knox College, Biological Field Station: 39-41. [2779]
50. 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, 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: 81-86. [24679]
51. Schramm, Peter; Willcutts, Brian J. 1983. Habitat selection of small mammals in burned and unburned tallgrass prairie. In: Brewer, Richard, ed. Proceedings, 8th North American prairie conference; 1982 August 1-4; Kalamazoo, MI. Kalamazoo, MI: Western Michigan University, Department of Biology: 49-55. [3122]
52. Schroeder, Richard L.; Allen, Arthur W. 1992. Assessment of habitat of wildlife communities on the Snake River, Jackson, Wyoming. Resource Publication 190. Washington, DC: United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 21 p. [21296]
53. Schwartz, Orlando A.; Whitson, Paul D. 1986. A 12-year study of vegetation and mammal succession on a reconstructed tallgrass prairie in Iowa. The American Midland Naturalist. 117(2): 240-249. [2096]
54. Shiflet, Thomas N., ed. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management. 152 p. [23362]
55. 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. [7121]
56. Sims, H. Percy; Buckner, Charles H. 1973. The effect of clear cutting and burning of Pinus banksiana forests on the populations of small mammals in southeastern Manitoba. The American Midland Naturalist. 90(1): 228-231. [14449]
57. Snyder, Ellen J.; Best, Louis B. 1988. Dynamics of habitat use by small mammals in prairie communities. The American Midland Naturalist. 119(1): 128-136. [25769]
58. Springer, Joseph Tucker. 1988. Immediate effects of a spring fire on small mammal populations in a Nebraska mixed-grass prairie. In: David, Arnold; Stanford, Geoffrey, eds. The prairie: roots of culture; foundation of our economy: Proceedings, 10th North American prairie conference; 1986 June 22-26; Denton, TX. Dallas, TX: Native Prairie Association of Texas: 20.02: 1-5. [25572]
59. Springer, Joseph Tucker. 1988. Individual responses of some small mammals to a prairie fire. In: David, Arnold; Stanford, Geoffrey, eds. The prairie: roots of culture; foundation of our economy: Proceedings, 10th North American prairie conference; 1986 June 22-26; Denton, TX. Dallas, TX: Native Prairie Association of Texas: 20.03: 1-6. [25571]
60. 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): 64-67. [15182]
61. Trottier, Garry C.; Carbyn, Ludwig N.; Scotter, George W. 1989. Effects of prescribed fire on small mammals in aspen parkland. In: Bragg, Thomas A.; 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: 179-182. [14040]
62. Vacanti, P. Lynne; Geluso, Kenneth N. 1985. Recolonization of a burned prairie by meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus). Prairie Naturalist. 17(1): 15-22; 1985. [2412]
63. Ver Steeg, Jeffrey M.; Harty, Francis M.; Harty, Lorree. 1983. Prescribed fire kills meadow voles. In: Restoration and Management Notes. 1(4): 21. [Abstract]. [25977]
64. 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): 253-256. [25827]
65. Walley, W. J. 1972. Summer observations of the short-eared owl in the Red River Valley. Prairie Naturalist. 4(2): 39-41. [22261]
66. Webster, A. Bruce; Brooks, Ronald J. 1981. Daily movements and short activity periods of free-ranging meadow voles Microtus pennsylvanicus. Oikos. 37(1): 80-87. [25763]
67. ITIS Database. 2013. Integrated taxonomic information system, [Online]. Available: http://www.itis.gov/index.html. [51763]
68. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 2013. Endangered Species Program, [Online]. Available: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/. [86564]


FEIS Home