NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF UKRAINE
State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Arvicola scherman (Shaw, 1801)

Synonym
  • Mus terrestris scherman Shaw, 1801
  • Arvicola terrestris scherman (Shaw, 1801)
Vernacular Name
Montane Water Vole
Images
Conservation status
IUCN: LC
Value of species
Remarks
Detail
Linnaeus' amphibius and terrestris, both proposed in 1758 on the same page, are now considered conspecific by most researchers. As shown by Corbet (1978), amphibius has a priority over terrestris, based on Blasius (1857) as the first reviser. Recently, this species was split into A. amphibius and A. scherman (Panteleyev 2001, Wilson and Reeder 2005). Arvicola amphibius is larger, with shaggy pelage and ortodont incisors, and is associated with aquatic environment; A. scherman is smaller, with softer pelage, more reduced plantar and palmar tubercles, and the upper incisors strongly projecting forwards and has fossorial habits (Panteleyev 2001). Mitochondrial phylogeny based on sequences of 800 to 1,200 BP of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene suggests taxonomy of A. amphibius group to be more complex: three main groups were distinguished within A. amphibius: (1) strictly fossorial water voles from the mountain regions of Europe, (2) aquatic and transitional populations living south of the Alps, and (3) a heterogeneous group of the remaining aquatic populations (Wust Saucy 1998). There is much confusion between A. amphibius and A. scherman and the distribution of both taxa should be considered tentative. A. scherman occurs mainly in mountainous areas in southern and central Europe (Saucy 1999, Panteleyev 2001, Wilson and Reeder 2005). In the French Alps it occurs to 2,400 m (Reichstein 1982). Pronounced cyclic population fluctuations occur every 5-8 years, with densities ranging between 0 and 1,000 individuals per hectare (Saucy 1999). At high densities it becomes an agricultural pest. A main pest in orchards (e.g., in Slovenia; B. Krystufek pers comm. 2007). Mainly restricted to the uplands, where constructs extensive underground burrows in grasslands (including pastures) or, less frequently, in woodlands. Predominantly herbivorous, feeding on vegetation in the summer and on roots, bulbs and tubers in the winter (Saucy 1999). The species lives in complex burrows that are usually not deeper than 1 m.
Book reference
  • Татаринов К. А. Звірі західних областей України (матеріали до вивчення фауни Української РСР). - Київ: Вид-во АН УРСР, 1956. - 188 с.
Experts

Taxonomic branch

Biota
Eukaryota
Animalia
Eumetazoa
Chordata
Gnathostomata
Mammalia
Muriformes
Arvicolidae