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SPECIES Microtus (Microtus) arvalis

Author:Pallas, 1778.
Citation:Nova Spec. Quadr. Glir. Ord.: 78.
Common Name:Common Vole
Type Locality:Russia, Leningrad Oblast, Pushkin-town (as restricted by neotype selection by Malygin and Yatsenko, 1986; formerly as "Germany," e.g., Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951).
Distribution:NE Portugal and C and N Spain (Brunet-Lecomte, 1991; Castien and Gosalbez, 1992; Gonzalez-Esteban et al., 1995) through France, Belgium, Netherlands (Jonkers, 1992, mapped distributional changes between 1850 and 1988), Germany (Dolch et al., 1994), Switzerland (Hausser, 1995; Maurizio, 1994), N Italy (Amori et al., 1999; Bigini and Turini, 1995; Cantini, 1991, Paolucci et al., 1993), Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic (Andĕra and Červený, 1994; Šmaha, 1996), Slovakia (Danko, 1994; Kminiak, 1996; Mošanský, 1994; Stanko, 1995; Stanko and Mošanský, 1994, 2000; Stanko et al., 1994, 2000), Poland, the Baltic region (Miljutin, 1997, 1998; Timm et al., 1998), and Denmark (but not most of Fennoscandia), and eastward to C and S Urals in Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, and Orenburg districts in Russia (Gileva et al., 1996); south through Slovenia (Kryštufek, 1991), Serbia and Montenegro (Petrov, 1991), Romania, N and W Bulgaria; east through Russia from Krym (Crimea) and E Ukraine through Siberia to the upper Yenesei River; south through NW Mongolia, NW China (NW Xinjiang; Zhang et al., 1997), the Altai Mtns and Kazhakstan (Kovalskaya, 1994), to the Caucasus, N and E Turkey (Kryštufek and Vohralík, 2001; Pamukoglu and Albayrak, 1996), NW Iran and east through the Elburz Mtns to N Khorassan Prov. of NE Iran (Lay, 1967; type series of khorkoutensis and holotype of hyrcania; see below). Also insular populations on the Orkney Isls (Channel Isls, but not the British Isles), and Yeu (France).
Status:IUCN – Lower Risk (lc) as M. arvalis and M. obscurus.

Subgenus Microtus, arvalis species group (Pavlinov and Rossolimo, 1987, 1998; Pavlinov et al., 1995a; Zagorodnyuk, 1990). Most closely related to M. levis (formerly rossiaemeredionalis), M. transcaspicus, and M. ilaeus (Meyer et al., 1996). Phylogenetic analysis of cytochrome b sequences reinforces the strong alliance between M. arvalis and M. levis (Conroy and Cook, 2000a).

Monograph edited by Sokolov and Bashenina (1994) encapsulates karyology, geographic distribution, taxonomy, morphology, ecology, and contrasts with M. levis (as rossiaemeridionalis). So broadly a distributed species has spawned numerous karyotypic studies on chromosomal variation, genomic mapping, and interspecific comparisons (Baskevich, 1996b; Burgos et al., 1989; Gileva et al., 1996; Mazurok et al., 1996a; Mitev and Mitev, 1991c; Zima and Kral, 1984a; Zima et al., 1997a). Morphological variation among samples from NE Spain documented by Gosalbez and Sans-Coma (1977). Distribution in Portugal, Spain and France and morphometric discrimination from species of Microtus and Chionomys within the region documented by Madureira (1983). Kooij et al. (1997) identified dentaries extracted from owl pellets collected in France, Germany, and the Netherlands as either M. arvalis or M. agrestis by multivariate analyses, and Brunet-Lecomte et al. (1996) documented differences in m1s between the two species. Molar variability of German samples and its significance documented by Kapischke (1997). Berry (1996) provided an excellent taxonomic review of populations on the Orkney Isls; Ligtvoet and Wijngaarden (1994) traced the rapid colonization by M. arvalis of a Netherlands landbridge island recently rejoined to the mainland and displacement of its indigenous occupant, M. oeconomus.

Goodwin (1940) described khorkoutensis (Khorkout Range near Dasht, NE Iran) as a subspecies of M. arvalis, and Corbet (1978c) questionably included it in M. transcaspicus (also in arvalis species group). Goodwin’s holotype (AMNH 88764) and referred specimens (AMNH 88762, 88763) are much too small for transcaspicus and differ in size and qualitative features from the only other vole in the region, M. paradoxus (socialis species group). Our comparisons indicate that cranial and external characteristics of khorkoutensis fit within the range of variation in M. arvalis.

Goodwin (1940) also described hyrcania (Gouladah, NE Iran) as a distinct species, but Musser and Carleton (1993) and Kryštufek and Kefelioğlu (2002) erroneously placed it in M. socialis. The holotype and only known specimen, however, lacks the woolly and buffy brownish gray upperparts of M. socialis (soft and brownish in hyrcania), its white front and hind feet (brown in hyrcania), short tail (longer in hyrcania), larger cranium and relatively larger bullae (small bullae in hyrcania). Although a young adult, its external and skull features are nearly identical to those of a young adult khorkoutensis. Both it and hyrcania morphologically resemble specimens of M. arvalis from W Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, not the larger, white-footed and short-tailed M. socialis from Kazakhstan and NW Iran.

The taxon obscurus is either included in M. arvalis (e.g., Baskevich, 1996b; Corbet, 1978c; Gromov and Erbajeva, 1995; Meyer et al., 1996, 1997; Mezhzherin et al., 1993; Pavlinov and Rossolimo, 1987, 1998; Pavlinov et al., 1995a) or treated as a separate species based primarily on chromosomal morphology and hybridization results (Malygin and Luis, 1996; Zagorodnyuk, 1991a, b; and cited references). True arvalis has 2n = 46, FN = 84, that currently identified as M. obscurus or the "obscurus" form of M. arvalis has 2n = 46, FN = 72 or 74, and their hybrids demonstrate low fertility (Malygin and Luis, 1996). In Europe and N Russia, obscurus ranges to the east and south of the distribution of M. arvalis (see map in Zagorodnyuk, 1991a), and Meyer et al. (1997) documented their close approach to one another, separated by only 24 kms in Russia. Golenishchev et al. (2001) have uncovered a natural but narrow intergradation zone in which gene flow between the two parapatric karyomorphs approximates that among populations of the same karyotype.

Some synonyms listed and much of the southern and eastern distribution outlined for M. arvalis by Ellerman and Morriscon-Scott (1951) and Corbet (1978c) actually refer to M. levis (formerly rossiaemeridionalis); see that account

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    albus (Bechstein, 1801)
    arvensis (Schinz, 1840)
    angularis Miller, 1908
    assimilis (Rörig and Börner, 1905)
    assimilis Miller, 1912
    asturianus Miller, 1908
    ater (de Sélys Longchamps, 1845)
    brevirostris Ognev, 1924
    calypsus Montagu, 1923
    campestris (Blasius, 1853)
    caucasicus Satunin, 1896
    cimbricus Stein, 1931
    contigua (Rörig and Börner, 1905)
    corneri Hinton, 1910
    cunicularius (Ray, 1847)
    depressa (Rörig and Börig, 1905)
    depressa Miller, 1912
    duplicatus Rörig and Börner, 1905
    duplicatus Miller, 1912
    flava (Fatio, 1905)
    fulva (Fatio, 1869)
    fulvus Geoffroy, 1803
    fulvus (Miller, 1912)
    galliardi (Fatio, 1905)
    ghalgai (Krassovsky, 1929)
    grandis Martino and Martino, 1948
    gudauricus Ognev, 1929
    hawelkae Bolkay, 1925
    heptneri Hamar, 1963
    hyrcania Goodwin, 1940
    igmanensis Bolkay, 1919
    incertus (de Sélys Longchamps, 1841)
    incognitus Stein, 1931
    iphigeniae Heptner, 1946
    khorkoutensis Goodwin, 1940
    macrocranius Ognev, 1924
    meldensis Delost, 1955
    meridianus Miller, 1908
    mystacinus (de Filippi, 1865)
    obscurus (Eversmann, 1841)
    orcadensis Millais, 1904
    oyaensis Heim de Balsac, 1940
    principalis (Rörig and Börig, 1905)
    principalis Miller, 1912
    rhodopensis Heinrich, 1936
    ronaldshaiensis Hinton, 1913
    rousiensis Hinton, 1913
    rufescentefuscus (Schinz, 1845)
    ruthenus Ognev, 1950
    sandayensis Millais, 1905
    sarnius Miller, 1909
    simplex (Rörig and Börig, 1905)
    simplex Miller, 1912
    terrestris (Schrank, 1798)
    transcaucasicus Ognev, 1924
    transuralensis Serebrennikov, 1929
    variabilis (Rörig and Börner, 1905)
    variabilis Miller, 1912
    vulgaris (Desmarest, 1822)
    westrae Miller, 1908

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