Alces americanus - (Clinton, 1822)
Moose
Other English Common Names: moose
Synonym(s): Alces alces americanus (Clinton, 1822)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
French Common Names: orignal
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.792092
Element Code: AMALC03010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Other Mammals
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Artiodactyla Cervidae Alces
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). 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
Concept Reference Code: B05WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Alces americanus
Taxonomic Comments: In recognizing Eurasian elk (Alces alces) and moose (Alces americanus) as distinct species, Grubb (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) cited sources that documented differences in karyotype, body dimensions and proportions, form of premaxilla, coloration, and structure and dimensions of antlers (Geist 1998, Boyeskorov 1999).

Cronin (1992) found no variation in mtDNA among moose populations in New Hampshire, Alberta, British Columbia, Alaska, and Montana (representing 4 subspecies). In contrast, Hundertmark et al. (2003) examined the phylogeography of North American moose based on mtDNA variation. They found evidence of restriction of gene flow among regional populations in the past, consistent with the distribution of four subspecies of moose in North America.

See Kraus and Miyamoto (1991) for a phylogenetic analysis of pecoran ruminants (Cervidae, Bovidae, Moschidae, Antilocapridae, and Giraffidae) based on mitochondrial DNA data.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 19Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (27Mar2006)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (29Dec2011)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (S5), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (S4), Idaho (S5), Maine (S5), Massachusetts (S4), Michigan (S4), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New York (S3S4), North Dakota (SNR), Pennsylvania (SX), Utah (S3S4), Vermont (S5), Washington (S2S3), Wyoming (S5)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S5), Labrador (S5), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S5), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Northwest Territories (S5), Nova Scotia (S1), Nunavut (SU), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S4), Yukon Territory (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Alaska and Canada south through Rockies, northern Great Lakes, and New England; Russia, east of the Yenisei River, east to Anadyr region (eastern Siberia) and south to northern Mongolia and northern China; introduced but now extirpated in New Zealand (Boyeskorov 1999; Grubb, in Wilson and Reeder 2005). This range does not include that of the Eurasia elk (Alces alces) here recognized as a distinct species, following Boyeskorov (1999) and Grubb (in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

Arrived in North America from Asia about 11,000-14,000 years ago, shortly before flooding of the Bering land bridge (Hundertmark et al. 2003).

Short-term Trend Comments: Populations increased in Vermont from late 1970s through at least the early 1990 (Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department 1991).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Alaska and Canada south through Rockies, northern Great Lakes, and New England; Russia, east of the Yenisei River, east to Anadyr region (eastern Siberia) and south to northern Mongolia and northern China; introduced but now extirpated in New Zealand (Boyeskorov 1999; Grubb, in Wilson and Reeder 2005). This range does not include that of the Eurasia elk (Alces alces) here recognized as a distinct species, following Boyeskorov (1999) and Grubb (in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

Arrived in North America from Asia about 11,000-14,000 years ago, shortly before flooding of the Bering land bridge (Hundertmark et al. 2003).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, COexotic, CT, ID, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NH, NY, PAextirpated, UT, VT, WA, WYnative and exotic
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NFexotic, NS, NT, NU, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MI Chippewa (26033)*, Keweenaw (26083)*, Mackinac (26097)*, Menominee (26109)*
WA Ferry (53019)+, Pend Oreille (53051)+, Spokane (53063)+, Stevens (53065)+, Whitman (53075)+
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
04 Tahquamenon (04020202)+*, Waiska (04020203)+*, Cedar-Ford (04030109)+*, Brevoort-Millecoquins (04060107)+*, Carp-Pine (04070002)+*
17 Pend Oreille Lake (17010214), Priest (17010215), Pend Oreille (17010216), Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303), Upper Spokane (17010305), Hangman (17010306), Lower Spokane (17010307), Little Spokane (17010308), Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001), Kettle (17020002), Colville (17020003)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeds September-late October; peak in mid-September. Gestation lasts 240-246 days. One calf (less commonly 2) born late May-early June. Sexually mature in 1.5 years, though females do not reach peak productivity until age 4 years and most males do not breed until 5-6 years old due to intrasexual competition.
Ecology Comments: Depending on habitat, home range may be up to several thousand hectares (Lawson and Rodgers 1997). Population density has been reported as up to 1-3 per sq mile (= 11.6 per 10 sq km) (Peterson 1955), but 18-20 per 10 sq km in unhunted area in eastern Quebec (Crete 1989). May herd in winter.

Winter weather (snow accumulation) may strongly affect populations, even more so than wolf density (Mech et al. 1987); however, Messier (1991) found that competition for food, but not wolf predation and snow, had a regulatory impact on moose. Van Ballenberghie and Ballard (1994) found that in naturally regulated ecosystems predation by bears and wolves often is limiting and may be regulating under certain conditions. See also Messier (1994, Ecology 75:478-488) for population models of moose-wolf interactions.

Under favorable conditions, capable of large annual increases (20-25%) in population size; large populations may degrade habitat, resulting in population crash. See Albright and Keith (1987) for study of population dynamics of introduced population in Newfoundland (poor winter condition but high calf-survival [few predators]).

See Nudds (1990) for discussion of relation between white-tailed deer, moose, and meningeal (brain) worms. Brainworm may limit moose populations in areas where white-tailed deer are common. Deer are not negatively impacted by the brainworm, the larval stage of which is passed in deer feces. Snails, often inadvertently ingested by moose feeding on vegetation, are the intermnediate host for the worm. Deer, through worm-mediated impacts, commonly are believed to exclude moose and caribou from areas where deer occur; however, an analysis by Schmitz and Nudds (1994) concluded that moose may be able to coexist with deer, albeit at lower densities, even in the absence of habitat refuges from the disease. Whitlaw and Lankester (1994) found that the evidence that brainworm has caused moose declines is weak.

Moose may alter the structure and dynamics of boreal forest ecosystems. At Isle Royale, Michigan, moose browsing prevented saplings of preferred species from growing into the tree canopy, resulting in a forest with fewer canopy trees and a well-developed understory of shrubs and herbs; also, browsing may have caused an increase in spruce and a decrease in balsam fir (McInnes et al. 1992).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: May make short elevational or horizontal migrations between summer and winter ranges.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, MEDIUM RIVER
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Shrubland/chaparral, Tundra, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Prefers mosaic of second-growth forest, openings, swamps, lakes, wetlands. Requires water bodies for foraging and hardwood-conifer forests for winter cover. Avoids hot summer conditions by utilizing dense shade or bodies of water. Mineral licks may be important sodium source, used in early summer in Alaska. In the northern Yellowstone ecosystem, depends on old growth forest in winter (see Maxwell, Audubon, May-June 1994, p. 112). Young are born in protective areas of dense thickets.
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Summer: prefers to browse on new growth of trees and shrubs (leaves, twigs, and bark), and vegetation associated with water (attracted to high-sodium aquatic plants). Winter: typically restricted to conifer and hardwood twigs.
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Active day or night, though mainly crepuscular.
Length: 279 centimeters
Weight: 630000 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: At high densitities, may inhibit forest regeneration.
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: See Williamson (no date) for information on habitat management. See Gasaway et al. (1989) for responses of moose to a large burn in Alaska. See Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife (1992) for a draft management plan for Vermont.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Migration route, Summer range, Winter range
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.
Separation Barriers: None.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Occurrence separations should be based on populations that exhibit specific migration patterns, or on appropriate resource agency management units, rather than on specific prescribed distances.
Separation Justification: Home ranges up to at least 4000 hectares (minimum convex polygon; Lawson and Rodgers 1997). In some populations, however, individuals migrate up to 179 kilometers (LeResche 1974). Unsuitable habitat includes extremely rugged mountains, open water and, near the southern limits of the species' range, warmer lowland areas below the boreal or subalpine zones.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3.6 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on a seasonal home range of 1000 hectares.
Date: 23Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
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: 27May1994
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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