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Microtus pennsylvanicus

Meadow Vole

Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae

Image of Microtus pennsylvanicus
Microtus pennsylvanicus - adult (right), juvenile (left)
Click to enlarge. (133 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Meadow Voles have a remarkable reproductive output: they are the world's most prolific mammals. Females can breed when they are a month old and produce litters of 3-10 pups every three weeks for the rest of their lives. A captive female produced 17 litters in one year. They are known for their boom-bust population cycles. Population density can vary from several Voles to several hundred per hectare over a 2-5 year period. Biologists have been studying - and trying to explain - these boom-bust cycles for more than half a century. At peak density, Meadow Voles are capable of real damage to farms and orchards. They are also a very important food source for many predators.

Also known as:
Meadow Mouse, Field Mouse

Sexual Dimorphism:

Average: 167 mm
Range: 140-195 mm

Range: 33-65 g


Ord, G., 1815.  in A new geographical, historical, and commercial grammar; and present state of the several kingdoms of the world (W. Guthrie, compiler), 2nd Amer. ed., Johnson and Warner, Philadelphia, 2:1-603., p. 292.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Microtus pennsylvanicus

Image of Microtus pennsylvanicus
Click to enlarge. (97kb)