Microtinae


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Microtinae

[mī′krät·ən‚ē]
(vertebrate zoology)
A subfamily of rodents in the family Muridae that includes lemmings and muskrats.

Microtinae

 

a subfamily of rodents of the family Cricetidae; some zoologists place the rodents in a separate family. The average body length is 10–12 cm (sometimes as long as 36 cm); the tail is half as long as the body (sometimes shorter). The upper-part of the body is usually solid gray or brown. The cheek teeth of most species are rootless and ever-growing. Only a few extant species and most fossil forms have cheek teeth with roots. The chewing surface of the teeth is prismatic.

There are more than 40 genera of microtines, more than half of which are extinct. The USSR has 12 extant genera, with 43 species. In the northern hemisphere they inhabit the continents and many islands south to northern Africa. The animals also dwell in northern India, Japan, the Kuril and Komandorskie islands, and northern Mexico. They live in the mountains to elevations having no vegetation. In the north, microtines are even found in coastal regions. The greatest diversity of species and the largest number of individuals are found in the open terrain of the temperate zone. Most microtines settle in colonies. They are active year-round, feeding primarily on the above-ground parts of plants. Some species hoard food. The animals reproduce throughout the warm periods of the year, and some species reproduce even in the winter. The number of microtines may vary sharply from year to year. Most species are serious pests of agricultural crops and are natural carriers of the organisms causing tularemia, leptospirosis, and other diseases. The skins of large species, for example, muskrats, are used in the manufacture of fur goods.

I. M. GROMOV

References in periodicals archive ?
The reinstatement of the status of Genus Ccaryomys (Thomads, 1911) (Rodentia: Microtinae).
The objective of this study was to determine the effects of voles (Microtus, Rodentia: Microtinae) on nitrogen dynamics in riparian meadows in Yellowstone Park.
The total number of rodent species includes seven species in the squirrel family; the beaver; two sigmodontine rodents (= old Cricetinae), both of which are in the genus Peromyscus; four or five species of arvicoline rodents (= old Microtinae; muskrat, three voles and probably the bog lemming); two Old World rodents (Murinae), the Norway rat and the house mouse; and the meadow jumping mouse (Zapodinae, Dipodidae).
Most mice and rats are currently placed in the family Muridae, which contains three subfamilies: the Sigmodontinae (previously the Cricetinae), the Arvicolinae (previously the Microtinae) and the Murinae.
The taxonomy of Microtus socialis group (Rodentia: Microtinae) in Turkey, with the description of a new species.
Life histories of Clethrionomys and Microtus (Microtinae).
Monograph of the voles and lemmings (Microtinae) living and extinct, Vol.
Murinae, Cricetinae, Microtinae palearctiques et nord-americains.