Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Microtus oeconomus

Root Vole

Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae

Image of Microtus oeconomus
Microtus oeconomus - wide range of coloration, but with black-tipped hairs
Click to enlarge. (90 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Root Voles have the northernmost distribution of any North American species of Microtus. They are widespread in northern latitudes in Eurasia, too, where they also are known as Root Voles, and probably migrated to North America across the Bering land-bridge during the Pleistocene. They prefer moist meadow habitats, particularly near lakes, streams, and marshes. Root Voles are active year-round. In the fall, they store food—grass seeds and other plant materials—for winter. Many northern predators depend on this species, including weasels, Wolverines, Arctic Foxes, falcons, gulls, and owls.

Also known as:
Tundra Vole

Range: 152-225 mm

Range: 25-80 g


Pallas, P. S., 1771-1776.  Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs, St. Petersbourg, 3:693.


Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Microtus oeconomus

Image of Microtus oeconomus
Click to enlarge. (107kb)