Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

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  Rodentia · Cricetidae · Microtus abbreviatus

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Microtus abbreviatus

Insular Vole

Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae

Image of Microtus abbreviatus
Microtus abbreviatus - right (with M. xanthognathus)
Click to enlarge. (81 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

There have been only scattered observations of the Insular Vole since 1885, because the two islands in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska where it lives are rather inaccessible. The Voles live in burrows dug in moist lowland areas, at lower elevations on mountain slopes, or on beach ridges where rye grass grows. They feed during the day on plant matter. Nests within their burrow systems have been found to contain dried grasses and roots. The only other mammal that lives on the islands is the Arctic Fox, although Polar Bears visit from time to time. Arctic Foxes and several species of birds prey on the Voles.

Also known as:
St. Matthew Island Vole

Sexual Dimorphism:

Average: 145 mm
Range: 136-176 mm

Range: 45-79 g


Miller, 1899, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 13:13.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Microtus abbreviatus