Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Rodentia · Cricetidae · Dicrostonyx hudsonius
   Smithsonian Institution
   Copyright Notice
   Privacy Notice
Dicrostonyx hudsonius

Ungava Collared Lemming

Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae

Image of Dicrostonyx hudsonius
Click to enlarge. (69 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Fossils suggest that during the Pleistocene, about 800,000 to 50,000 years ago, the Ungava Collared Lemming lived throughout much of the Arctic regions of North America and Asia. Now it occurs only in the northern half of the Ungava Peninsula in northern Quebec and Labrador, and on two islands in Hudson Bay. An animal with a stocky build, short limbs and tail, small eyes, and external ears hidden in thick fur, this Lemming is found only in tundra habitats, including rocky hillsides and meadows above the timberline. It changes coat color from brownish-gray to white in fall and develops forked digging claws. A variety of predators, including owls, hawks, foxes, and even wolves eat them. In the winter, the Lemmings dig tunnels in the snow. Foxes are said to listen for their digging sounds to capture them.

Also known as:
Labrador Collared Lemming, Varying Lemming, Hoofed Lemming

Sexual Dimorphism:

Average: 145 mm
Range: 125-166 mm

Average: 60 g
Range: 35-85 g


Pallas, P.S., 1778. Novae Species Quadrupedum e Glirum Ordine, cum Illustrationibus Variis Complurium ex hoc Ordine Animalium, Walther, Erlangen, p. 208.


Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Dicrostonyx hudsonius