Microtus canicaudus - Miller, 1897
Gray-tailed Vole
Other English Common Names: gray-tailed vole
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Microtus canicaudus Miller, 1897 (TSN 180306)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104003
Element Code: AMAFF11170
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae Microtus
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: 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/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Microtus canicaudus
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly recognized as a subspecies of M. montanus; electrophoretic and cytological evidence confirm its specific status (Modi 1986). Sibling species to M. montanus or M. townsendii (see Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Nov1996
Global Status Last Changed: 13Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (05Sep1996)

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 Oregon (S4), Washington (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Lower elevations of Willamette Valley, Oregon, and at least two localities north of the Columbia River in adjacent Clark County, Washington. Specimens reported from east of the Cascade Mountains represent other species (Verts and Carraway 1987).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Much of original range has been converted to agriculture.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Lower elevations of Willamette Valley, Oregon, and at least two localities north of the Columbia River in adjacent Clark County, Washington. Specimens reported from east of the Cascade Mountains represent other species (Verts and Carraway 1987).

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: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States OR, WA

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: Breeding likely takes place throughout the year. Gestation 21-23 days. Litter size averages about 5. In lab, females as young as 18 days of age capable of mating and subsequently producing viable offspring (Verts and Carraway 1987).
Ecology Comments: May undergo population fluctuations like other members of the genus. Owls, hawks, foxes, skunks, and domestic and feral cats are common predators.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Associated almost exclusively with agricultural lands, especially grasses grown for seed, small grains, and permanent pastures of legumes and grasses. Also along grassy highway and railroad rights-of-way. Constructs intricate runway and burrow systems. Nests are built underground or above ground under boards, bales, and debris scattered in fields (Verts and Carraway 1987).
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Succulent stems and leaves of a wide variety of green plants, including forbs, sedges, and grasses. Grasses, clover, wild onion, and false dandelion are common food items (Verts and Carraway 1987).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Active throughout the day and the year.
Length: 15 centimeters
Weight: 50 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: 19Apr1993
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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Conroy, C. J., and J. A. Cook. 2000. Molecular systematics of a Holarctic rodent (MICROTUS: Muridae). Journal of Mammalogy 81:344-359.

  • 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.

  • Ingles, L. G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

  • 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, 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.

  • Modi, W. S. 1986. Karyotypic differentiation among two sibling species pairs of New World microtine rodents. J. Mammalogy 67:159-165.

  • Moore, D. W., and L. L. Janecek. 1990. Genic relationships among North American MICROTUS (Mammalia: Rodentia). Ann. Carnegie Mus. 59:249-259.

  • 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.

  • Plante, Y., P. T. Boag, and B. N. White. 1989. Macrogeographic variation in mitochondrial DNA of meadow voles (MICROTUS PENNSYLVANICUS). Can. J. Zool. 67:158-167.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Tamarin, R. H., editor. 1985. Biology of New World Microtus. American Soc. Mamm. Special Publication (8):1-893.

  • Verts, B. J., and L. N. Carraway. 1987. Microtus canicaudus. Mammalian Species 267:1-4.

  • 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

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