southern red-backed vole

(Myodes gapperi)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

southern red-backed vole

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and widespread

Habitat

Moist deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests with stumps and logs for ground cover; cedar, tamarack, and black spruce swamps, bogs with spruce and fir.

Lifespan

Usually 10 to 12 months but up to 18 months

Photo by Kirk Nelson
Size

Total length: 4½ to 6¾

Head and body: 2¾ to 4

Tail: 1 to 2

 

Identification

This is one of the smallest voles found in Minnesota. Adults have a stocky build. They may be 4½ to 6¾ long, including the tail, and weigh ¼ to 1½ ounces, but average just 5¼ long and ounce. Males and females are similar in size. Females have 8 mammae.

The coat (pelage) is dark gray above with a broad, chestnut-brown stripe down the middle of the head and back. In the summer it is relatively short and coarse. In the winter it is long, dense, and lighter in color. The belly is gray to creamy white. Juveniles are darker than adults.

The legs are short. The feet are creamy white or buff.

The tail is short, 1 to 2 long, slender, and sharply bicolored.

The head is gray on the sides and face. The snout is short. The eyes are small. The ears are brown and short. The mouth has 16 teeth. The upper incisors are not grooved. The molars have high crowns and angular cusps.

 
Sign  
 
Similar
Species

Lemmings are larger and have shorter tails.

On other voles the pelage is not bicolored.


Food

They are opportunistic feeders consuming mostly plant matter. Their diet changes with the season. In the spring they eat mostly young shoots and leaf petioles. In the summer they also eat berries. In the fall they also eat nuts and seeds. In the winter they eat seeds, roots, bark of young trees and shrubs, and food stored in their nests. Throughout the year they also eat roots, insects, snails, fungi, and lichens.

 
Life Cycle

Breeding takes place from May to September. There may be 2 to 6 litters in a year. The nest is located usually under a log, tree root, or other shelter, sometimes in a burrow created by a mole or other small mammal. Gestation lasts 17 to 19 days. The female has 3 to 8, usually 4 to 6 offspring. The young are born naked and blind. They remain in the nest less than three weeks. They reach sexual maturity at 2 to 4 months of age.

 
Behavior

They are active both during the day and at night, but more often at night. They forage mostly on the ground but also in trees. When on the ground they use runways of shrews, moles, or other small mammals. They usually hop rather than run. They are solitary and do not form colonies or pair bonds.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 15, 24, 29, 76.

Common Gapper’s red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi gapperi) is found in north-central and northeast Minnesota.

Loring’s red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi loringi) is found in the remaining forested areas of the state.


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Order:

Rodentia (rodents)

 

Suborder:

Myomorpha

 

No Rank:

Muroidea (typical muroids)

 

Family:

Cricetidae (New World rats and mice, voles, hamsters, and relatives)

 

Subfamily:

Arvicolinae (voles, lemmings, and muskrats)

 
Subordinate Taxa

Arizona red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi arizonensis)

Black Hills red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi brevicaudus)

boreal red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi athabascae)

British Columbia red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi saturatus)

Carolina red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi carolinensis)

Cascades red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi cascadensis)

common Gapper’s red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi gapperi)

dark-colored red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi phaeus)

Dusky red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi obscurus)

dusky-backed vole (Myodes gapperi fuscodorsalis)

Gaspe red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi gaspeanus)

Gaut’s red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi gauti)

Hudson red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi hudsonius)

Idaho red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi idahoensis)

Kentucky red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi maurus)

Kittatiny red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi rupicola)

Labrador red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi proteus)

Loring’s red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi loringi)

Mazama Mt red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi mazama)

Mogollon red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi limitis)

northeastern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi caurinus)

Olympic red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi nivarius)

Pymatuning red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi paludicola)

Revillagigedo Island red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi solus)

Rhoad’s red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi rhoadsii)

Rocky Mountain southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi galei)

southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi pallescens)

southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi pygmaeus)

southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi rufescens)

Stikine red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi stikinensis)

Uinta red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi uintaensis)

Ungava red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi ungava)

western red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi occidentalis)

White Mountain red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi ochraceus)

Wrangel red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi wrangeli)

 
Synonyms

Clethrionomys gapperi

Clethrionomys gapperi arizonensis

Clethrionomys gapperi cascadensis

Clethrionomys gapperi gaspeanus

Clethrionomys gapperi gauti

Clethrionomys gapperi hudsonius

Clethrionomys gapperi maurus

Clethrionomys gapperi pallescens

Clethrionomys gapperi paludicola

Clethrionomys gapperi rufescens

Clethrionomys gapperi rupicola

Clethrionomys gapperi soleus

Clethrionomys gapperi solus

Clethrionomys gapperi stikinensis

Clethrionomys gapperi uintaensis

Evotomys carolinensis

Evotomys caurinus

 

Evotomys fus

Evotomys galei

Evotomys gapperi athabascae

Evotomys gapperi brevicaudus

Evotomys gapperi loringi

Evotomys gapperi ochraceus

Evotomys gapperi rhoadsii

Evotomys gapperi saturatus

Evotomys idahoensis

Evotomys limitis

Evotomys nivarius

Evotomys occidentalis

Evotomys phaeus

Evotomys proteus

Evotomys pygmaeus

Evotomys ungava

Evotomys wrangeli

 
Common
Names

boreal redback vole

Gapper’s red-backed mouse

southern red-backed vole


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

pelage

The coat of a mammal, consisting of fur, wool, or hair, and including a soft undercoat and stiff guard hairs.

 

petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

       

Visitor Photos

   
Share your photo of this mammal.

Kirk Nelson


  southern red-backed vole   southern red-backed vole

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Southern red-backed vole Top # 6 Facts
Veejay Urmini
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 25, 2015

 
     
  Southern red-backed vole wiki Bio Information
Tony Gates
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 26, 2015

Southern red-backed vole wiki Bio Information Biography Data

 
     

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this mammal.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Southern Red-backed Vole (Cricetidae: Myodes/Clethrionomys gapperi) on Footpath
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 20, 2010

A very common Minnesota vole, but a species that is uncommonly observed wandering paved footpaths. I had to photograph this very young and very, very wet (after the morning's severe rain storm), and much disoriented redback vole. Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (20 August 2010). Go here to learn more about this interesting species: http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=46.

 
     
  Southern Red-backed Vole (Cricetidae: Myodes/Cleithrionomys gapperi) Altricial Young
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 9, 2010

Photographed at the Concordia Language Villages, Bemidji, Minnesota (07 September 2010).

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this mammal.

Kschik
11/24/2015

Location: Scandia, MN


Kirk Nelson
11/22/2015

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Dakota County

southern red-backed vole


     
     
 

MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

   

 


 

 

Binoculars

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2017 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.