They have short chunky bodies covered with brownish-grey fur with a thin dark stripe along their back and a yellow line along their sides. They have small ears, short legs and a very short tail. They have a reddish collar across their chest and a reddish patch behind their ears. In winter, they are covered with white fur and they develop enlarged digging claws on their front feet. They are 14 cm long with a 1.5 cm tail and weigh about 60 g.
These animals are found in the tundra of northern Quebec and Labrador. They feed on grasses, sedges and other green vegetation in summer and twigs of willow, aspen and birches in winter. Predators include Snowy Owls, mustelids and Arctic Foxes.
Female lemmings have 2 or 3 litters of 4 to 8 young in a year. The young are born in a nest in an underground burrow or concealed in vegetation.
They are active year round, day and night. They make runways through the surface vegetation and also dig underground burrows above the permafrost. They burrow under the snow in winter. Lemming populations go through a 3 or 4 year cycle of boom and bust. When their population peaks, lemmings disperse from overcrowded areas.
A collapse in the Arctic's collared lemming population--a growing possibility due to climate change--would have ripple effects the world over.(ENVIRONMENT)(Brief article)
Nov 01, 2010; * A collapse in the Arctic's collared lemming population--a growing possibility due to climate change--would have ripple effects...
Researchers from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology report recent findings in DNA research.
Sep 20, 2010; New investigation results, 'Influence of climate warming on arctic mammals? New insights from ancient DNA studies of the collared...