High-Mountain Voles

High-Mountain Voles

 

(Alticola), a genus of mammals of the family Cricetidae, order Rodentia. Body length, 80–140 mm; weight, 37–49g.

The fur on the upper part of the body of the high-mountain vole ranges from silvery gray to brown and reddish; on the lower body it is white or straw-colored. The northern forms (Siberian high-mountain voles) show a distinct seasonal change of fur coloring. There are five species, found in the mountain regions of Central and northeast Asia. In the USSR there are three species: the Siberian high-mountain vole (A. macrotis), the Pamir high-mountain vole (A. roylei), and the flat-skulled vole (A. strelzovi). They keep to rocky regions at altitudes between 500 and 6,000 m and may be active both during the day and at night. They live singly in the hollows and crevices among the rocks and stones; only the flat-skulled vole forms small colonies. The animal reproduces from one to three times a year; there are five to 11 young in the litter. Some high-mountain voles are carriers of organisms that transmit communicable diseases, including plague.

REFERENCES

Ognev, S. I. Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 7. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
Mlekopitaiushchie fauny SSSR, part 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.

O. L. ROSSOLIMO

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