Lemmus trimucronatus - (Richardson, 1825)
Nearctic Brown Lemming
Other English Common Names: Brown Lemming, North American Brown Lemming, nearctic brown lemming
Synonym(s): Lemmus sibiricus (Kerr, 1792)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Lemmus sibiricus (Kerr, 1792) (TSN 180320)
French Common Names: lemming brun
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105072
Element Code: AMAFF16010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae Lemmus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Jones, C., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, M. D. Engstrom, R. D. Bradley, D. J. Schmidly, C. A. Jones, and R. J. Baker. 1997. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1997. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University 173:1-20.
Concept Reference Code: B97JON01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Lemmus trimucronatus
Taxonomic Comments: The brown lemming was formerly referred to as Lemmus sibiricus, but the correct name for the North American population is Lemmus trimucronatus (Jarrell and Fredga 1993, Jones et al. 1997; also see following information). Batzli (in Wilson and Ruff 1999) used the name Lemmus sibiricus but acknowledged that Lemmus trimucronatus may be the correct name. The North American mammal checklist by Baker et al. (2003) listed this species as Lemmus trimucronatus, following Jarrel and Fedga (1993). Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) also recognized L. trimucronatus and L. sibiricus as distinct species, with only the former occurring in North America.

Pokrcvski et al. (1984) concluded that the brown lemmings in Siberia comprise two species, Lemmus sibiricus in the west and L. chrysogaster in the east. If the eastern Siberian form is conspecific with the North American form (see Rausch and Rausch 1975), then the correct name for the North American-eastern Siberian brown lemming is Lemmus trimucronatus (due to priority). If the North American form is not conspecific with L. chrysogaster, the correct name for the North American form is still Lemmus trimucronatus. North American brown lemmings can be called Lemmus sibiricus only if they are regarded as conspecific with the western Siberian population. See Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005) for further taxonomic discussion.

Studies by Rausch and Rausch (1975) indicated that the population on St. George Island (L. t. nigripes) is best regarded as a subspecies, but some recent authors (but not Jones et al. 1992 or Musser and Carleton [in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005]) have continued to recognize nigripes as a distinct species.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 13Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (01Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (S5)
Canada Alberta (SU), British Columbia (S5), Northwest Territories (S5), Nunavut (S5), Yukon Territory (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Alaska and the arctic tundra of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Manitoba (east to Baffin Island and Hudson Bay), extending south down the western mountains into central British Columbia and western Alberta (Wilson and Ruff 1999). Also ranges across eastern Siberia, west to the Kolyma River (Jarrell et al. 1998).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Alaska and the arctic tundra of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Manitoba (east to Baffin Island and Hudson Bay), extending south down the western mountains into central British Columbia and western Alberta (Wilson and Ruff 1999). Also ranges across eastern Siberia, west to the Kolyma River (Jarrell et al. 1998).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK
Canada AB, BC, NT, NU, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeds mainly June-August. Probably 2 or more litters per year, usually 2-6 young per litter (Burt and Grossenheider 1976).
Ecology Comments: Populations may flutuate widely, peaking every 3-4 years. Frenzied dispersal occurs as populations peak and food supply dwindles; incurs high mortality during dispersal (Whitaker 1980). Home range reportedly is 3.5-6 sq yards (Whitaker 1980).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Tundra
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: Wet tundra and alpine meadows. Uses runways and tunnels. Nests above ground in winter, underground in summer.
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly grasses, sedges, and mosses; monocots always most important, mosses increase in importance in winter and in drier habitats (Batzli and Pitelka 1983). Also may eat bark and twigs of willow and birch in winter (Burt and Grossenheider 1976).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Active day and night.
Length: 17 centimeters
Weight: 113 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Small Murid Rodents

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Mapping Guidance: Separate sites separated by less than 1000 meters should be mapped as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: Barriers include: wide highways with heavy traffic (subjective determination) and highways with continuous solid barriers that prevent rodent passage; major water bodies, arbitrarily set at those greater than 50 meters across in ice-free areas and those greater than 200 meters wide if frozen regularly.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Home ranges may be quite small, but at least some species exhibit good dispersal ability that may take them several kilometers from their natal area (Maier 2002). Peromyscus that have been displaced up to 3 km may return home within a few days (see Maier 2002). Displaced Neotoma fuscipes dispersed up to at least 1.6 km from their release point in five nights (Smith 1965). A male Dicrostonyx richardsoni moved more than 3 kilometers per day several times (Engstrom, in Wilson and Ruff 1999). Some species can traverse significant distances of unsuitable habitat. For example, Peromyscus leucopus may move between wooded areas separated by a deforested agricultural gap of up to at least 2 km (Krohne and Hoch 1999). In New Brunswick, a tagged subadult male Peromyscus maniculatus was captured at locations 1.77 km apart after a period of 2 weeks in September, suggesting that dispersal may extend at least this far (Bowman et al. 1999). In Kansas, individual Peromyscus maniculatus were captured at trap sites up to 1.32 km apart (Rehmeier et al. 2004). Dispersal can play a key role in the population dynamics of murid rodents.

Patterns of genetic (DNA) variation indicate that gene flow can be low among subpopulations of Neotoma magister and that effective dispersal is limited among subpopulations separated by as little as 3 km (Castleberry et al. 2002).

Separation distance for suitable habitat is a compromise between the typical small home range sizes of these mammals and their sometimes considerable dispersal ability and the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent populations.

Roads, especially divided highways, are major barriers to dispersal in small mammals (Oxley et al. 1974, Wilkins 1982, Garland and Bradley 1984).

Date: 08Mar2005
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Notes: Group contains most members of the family Muridae: mice, voles, lemmings, woodrats, etc.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 20Apr1993
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Baker, R. J., L. C. Bradley, R. D. Bradley, J. W. Dragoo, M. D. Engstrom, R. S. Hoffman, C. A. Jones, F. Reid, D. W. Rice, and C. Jones. 2003a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 2003. Museum of Texas Tech University Occasional Papers 229:1-23.

  • Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. 438 pp.

  • Banks, E. M., R. J. Brooks, and J. Schnell. 1975. A radiotracking study of home range and activity of the brown lemming (Lemmus trimucronatus). Journal of Mammalogy 56:888-901.

  • Batzli, G. O., and F. A. Pitelka. 1983. Nutritional ecology of microtine rodents: food habits of lemmings near Barrow, Alaska. J. Mamm. 64:648-655.

  • Bowman, J. C., M. Edwards, L. S. Sheppard, and G. J. Forbes. 1999. Record distance for a non-homing movement by a deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. Canadian Field-Naturalist 113:292-293.

  • Brooks, R. J., and E. M. Banks. 1971. Radio-tracking study of lemming home range. Communications in Behavioral Biology 6:1-5.

  • Burt, W. H., and R. P. Grossenheider. 1976. A field guide to the mammals. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 289 pp.

  • Castleberry, S., B., T. L. King, P. B. Wood, and W. M. Ford. 2002. Microsatellite DNA analysis of population structure in Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma magister). Journal of Mammalogy 83:1058-1070.

  • Cooley, D., C.D. Eckert, and R.R. Gordon. 2012. Herschel Island?Qikiqtaruk Inventory, Monitoring, and Research Program: Key Findings and Recommendations. Unpublished report. Yukon Parks. Whitehorse, Yukon.

  • Douglass, R. J. 1977. Population dynamics, home ranges, and habitat associations of the yellow-cheeked vole, Microtus xanthognathus, in the Northwest Territories. Canadian Field-Naturalist 91:237-47.

  • Garland, T., Jr. and W. G. Bradley. 1984. Effects of a highway on Mojave Desert rodent populations. American Midland Naturalist 111:47-56.

  • Jarrell, G. H., S. O. MacDonald, and J. A. Cook. 1998. Checklist to the mammals of Alaska. University of Alaska Museum web page. Available at: http://www.uaf.edu/museum/mammal/AK_Mammals/Checklist.html. Accessed 2001-02-28.

  • Jarrell, G. H., and K. Fredga. 1993. How many kinds of lemmings? A taxonomic overview. Pages 45-57 in N. C. Stenseth and R. A. Ims, editors. The biology of lemmings. Linnean Society Symposium Series, No. 15. Academic Press, London. 683 pp.

  • Jike, L., G. O. Batzli, L. L. Geta. 1988. Home ranges of prairie voles as determined by radiotracking and by powdertracking. Journal of Mammalogy 69:183-186.

  • Jones, C., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, M. D. Engstrom, R. D. Bradley, D. J. Schmidly, C. A. Jones, and R. J. Baker. 1997. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1997. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University 173:1-20.

  • Jones, J. K., Jr., D. C. Carter, H. H. Genoways, R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, and C. Jones. 1986. Revised checklistof North American mammals north of Mexico, 1986. Occas. Papers Mus., Texas Tech Univ., 107:1-22.

  • Jones, J. K., Jr., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, C. Jones, R. J. Baker, and M. D. Engstrom. 1992a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1991. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University, 146:1-23.

  • Krohne, D. T., and G. A. Hoch. 1999. Demography of Peromyscus leucopus populations on habitat patches: the role of dispersal. Canadian Journal of Zoology 77:1247-1253.

  • MacMillen, R. E. 1964. Population ecology, water relations and social behavior of a southern California semidesert rodent fauna. University of California Publications in Zoology 71:1-59.

  • Maier, T. J. 2002. Long-distance movements by female white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus, in extensive mixed-wood forest. Canadian Field-Naturalist 116:108-111.

  • Naughton, D. 2012. The natural history of Canadian mammals. University of Toronto Press, Toronto: 784 pp.

  • Oxley, D. J., M. B. Fenton and G. R. Carmody. 1974. The effects of roads on populations of small mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology 11: 51-59.

  • Parks Canada. 2000. Vertebrate Species Database. Ecosystems Branch, 25 Eddy St., Hull, PQ, K1A 0M5.

  • Rausch, R. L., and V. R. Rausch. 1975. Taxonomy and zoogeography of LEMMUS spp. (Rodentia: Arvicolinae), with notes on laboratory-reared lemmings. Z. Sauget. 40:8-34.

  • Rehmeier, R. L., G. A. Kaufman, and D. W. Kaufman. 2004. Long-distance movements of the deer mouse in tallgrass prairie. Journal of Mammalogy 85:562-568.

  • Slough, B.G. 1999. Status recommendation for Yukon mammals and amphibians. IN Hoefs, M. (ed.) Status assessment and proposed "at risk" designations of Yukon's vertebrate species - a technical analysis. Yukon Fish and Wildlife Branch unpubl. report.

  • Smith, M. H. 1965. Dispersal capacity of the dusky-footed wood rat, Neotoma fuscipes. American Midland Naturalist 74:457-463.

  • Storer, T. I., F. C. Evans, and F. G. Palmer. 1944. Some rodent populations in the Sierra Nevada of California. Ecological Monographs 14:166-192.

  • Whitaker, J. O., Jr. 1980. The Audubon Society field guide to North American mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 745 pp.

  • Wilkins, K. T. 1982. Highways as barriers to rodent dispersal. Southwestern Naturalist 27: 459-460.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. Available online at: http://vertebrates.si.edu/msw/mswcfapp/msw/index.cfm

  • Wilson, D. E., and S. Ruff. 1999. The Smithsonian book of North American mammals. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 750 pp.

  • Youngman, P.M. 1975. Mammals of the Yukon Territory. Publications in Zoology, No. 10., National Museums of Canada, Ottawa. 192 pp.

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