Phenacomys intermedius - Merriam, 1889
Western Heather Vole
Other English Common Names: western heather vole
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Phenacomys intermedius Merriam, 1889 (TSN 180359)
French Common Names: campagnol des bruyères, phénacomys des bruyères
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105193
Element Code: AMAFF10010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae Phenacomys
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 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: Phenacomys intermedius
Taxonomic Comments: MtDNA data (Bellinger et al. 2005) indicate species-level differences among red tree vole (Arborimus longicaudus or Phenacomys longicaudus), Sonoma tree vole (A. pomo or P. pomo), white-footed vole (A. albipes or P. albipes), and western heather vole (P. intermedius) but no clear difference between the two Oregon subspecies of red tree voles (longicaudus and silvicola). These data further indicate a close relationship between tree voles and A. albipes or P. albipes, validating inclusion of albipes in Arborimus. Bellinger et al. (2005) did not find that P. intermedius clustered with Microtus. Bellinger et al. (2005) noted that recognition of Arborimus as a distinct genus is subject to interpretation of data.

There is uncertainty about the taxonomic status of Phenacomys ungava. In recent decades, most authors have regarded ungavaas a subspecies of P. intermedius. Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005) noted the present validity of earlier statements that the relationship between intermedius and ungava needs further detailed study; nevertheless, they listed P. ungava as a separate species. Jones et al. (1997), Baker et al. (2003), and George (in Wilson and Ruff 1999) also recognized ungava as a distinct species.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 15Jun2000
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Wide distribution in western North America; many protected occurrences; no known large-scale threats.
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 California (SNR), Colorado (S4), Idaho (S5), Montana (S4), New Mexico (S3), Oregon (S4), Utah (S2?), Washington (S5), Wyoming (S5)
Canada British Columbia (S5), Labrador (S5), Saskatchewan (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: Southwestern British Columbia and adjacent Alberta, Canada,Labrador west to southwestern Yukon Territory, south through south through the Olympic Mountains, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, and Rocky Mountains to northern New Mexico, central Utah, and northern California, and disjunctly to east-central California and western Nevada (Wilson and Reeder 1993). Generally above 750 m in the western U.S. and to above 3000 m in the Rockies and California.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: At least hundreds of known locations.

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Southwestern British Columbia and adjacent Alberta, Canada,Labrador west to southwestern Yukon Territory, south through south through the Olympic Mountains, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, and Rocky Mountains to northern New Mexico, central Utah, and northern California, and disjunctly to east-central California and western Nevada (Wilson and Reeder 1993). Generally above 750 m in the western U.S. and to above 3000 m in the Rockies and California.

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 CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY
Canada BC, LB, SK

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


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Adams (16003)*, Blaine (16013)*, Bonner (16017), Boundary (16021), Custer (16037), Idaho (16049), Lemhi (16059)*, Shoshone (16079), Valley (16085)*
UT Cache (49005)*, Daggett (49009)*, Duchesne (49013), Garfield (49017)*, Grand (49019)*, Rich (49033)*, Salt Lake (49035)*, Summit (49043), Utah (49049)*, Wasatch (49051)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
14 Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+*, Blacks Fork (14040107)+*, Duchesne (14060003)+, Willow (14060006)+*, Lower Green (14060008)+*, Escalante (14070005)+*
16 Upper Bear (16010101)+, Bear Lake (16010201)+*, Little Bear-Logan (16010203)+*, Upper Weber (16020101)+*, Lower Weber (16020102)+*, Utah Lake (16020201)+*, Provo (16020203)+, Jordan (16020204)+*
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+*, Priest (17010215)+, South Fork Coeur D'alene (17010302)+*, St. Joe (17010304)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+*, Upper Salmon (17060201)+*, Middle Salmon-Panther (17060203)+*, Upper Middle Fork Salmon (17060205)+, Lower Middle Fork Salmon (17060206)+*, Middle Salmon-Chamberlain (17060207)+, Little Salmon (17060210)+*, Lochsa (17060303)+, South Fork Clearwater (17060305)+*, Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small, relatively short-tailed vole.
Reproduction Comments: Gestation lasts 19-24 days. Young are born mid-June to early September, though the season possibly is more restricted at high elevations. Litter size averages 3-4 for young-of-year, 4-6 for older females (which may produce 2 litters per year) (McAllister and Hoffman 1988).
Ecology Comments: Density estimates range from 0.5 to 10 per ha in different habitats in different areas. Irregular population fluctuations are typical. Solitary in summer except during breeding season. Family groups may occupy communal nests in winter.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Forest - Conifer, Grassland/herbaceous, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Sea level to above treeline; open coniferous forest with heath, shrub understory; shrub areas on forest edge; mossy meadows in forests; alpine tundra with cover. Nests on ground under snow (winter) or in burrow (summer).
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore
Food Comments: In winter, feeds on bark and buds of shrubs and heaths. In summer, feeds primarily on green vegetation, berries, and seeds. Stores food winter and summer.
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Active throughout the year.
Length: 15 centimeters
Weight: 41 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
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
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Jun2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Reichel, J. D., and G. Hammerson
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 07Apr1993
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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  • 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.

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