Tatra Vole

Tatra Pine Vole

The Tatra Pine Vole, Microtus tatricus, also called the Tatra vole or Tatra ground vole, is a species of vole endemic to the Carpathian mountain range in Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine and Romania. Two subspecies have been recognised. M. t. tatricus occupies the western part of the range in Slovakia and Poland and M. t. zykovi is found in Ukraine and Romania.

Habitat preferences

The Tatra vole lives at altitudes of 650 to 2350 m a.s.l. The habitat occupied by the species is either humid rocky meadows in the subalpine zone or climax upper montane forest. Distribution range is insular and fragmented as a consequence of landscape altitudinal structure and habitat heterogeneity. The population of the Tatra vole has been estimated to 200,000–250,000 individuals and no population fluctuation or population outbreaks were recorded.

Evolutionary history

The reliable diagnostic character of M. tatricus is its karyotype. Its diploid number of chromosomes and the basic karyotype characteristics (2N=32, NF=46) are unique among voles of the genus Microtus. The species is genetically most closely related to Alpine voles Microtus multiplex, Microtus liechtensteini and Microtus bavaricus (Martinkova et al., 2007). It split from the common ancestor as the first, and the oldest fossil found to date is from Holocene.

The species is listed as Lower Risk/Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and in Appendix II of the Bern Convention.

References

  • Amori G. 1996. Microtus tatricus. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. . Downloaded on 08 March 2007.
  • Jurdíková N., Žiak D., Kocian Ľ. 2000. Habitat requirements of Microtus tatricus: microhabitat and macrohabitat. Výskum a ochrana cicavcov na Slovensku 4, 41-49.
  • Martínková N., Dudich A. 2003. The fragmented distribution range of Microtus tatricus and its evolutionary implications. Folia Zoologica 52, 11-22.
  • Martinkova, N., J. Zima, M. Jaarola, M. Macholan and F. Spitzenberger,F. 2007. The origin and phylogenetic relationships of Microtus bavaricus based on karyotype and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Folia Zool. Brno: 56, 39-49.
  • Musser, G. G. and M. D. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. Pp. 894-1531 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

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