Northern mole vole

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Northern mole vole
Ellobius talpinus.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Arvicolinae
Genus: Ellobius
E. talpinus
Binomial name
Ellobius talpinus
(Pallas, 1770)

E. ciscaucasicus Sviridenko, 1936
E. murinus Pallas, 1770
E. rufescens Eversmann, 1850
E. tanaiticus Zubko, 1940
E. transcaspiae Thomas, 1912[2]
Mus talpinus, Pallas
Spalax murinus, Pallas
Georychus rufescens, Eversmann[3]

The northern mole vole (Ellobius talpinus) is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae.[4] It is distributed over large parts of Eastern Europe and Asia.


This vole is found in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine, the southern parts of Russia, western Siberia, northern Afghanistan, Mongolia and northern China.[5]


The northern mole vole is a small mammal about 130 mm (5.1 in) long with a short tail, weighing up to 70 g. The females are slightly larger than the males. The body is wedge-shaped, the head flat, the neck short and the musculature of the forelimbs strongly developed. It has short, dense, brownish fur somewhat paler on the underparts. The feet are naked and pink. It is adapted to life underground, digging its burrows with the help of its large incisors.[5]


The karyotype has 2n = 54. The Y chromosome is present, unlike in the cases of its relatives E. lutescens and E. tancrei.[6]


The northern mole vole is diurnal and active all day. Activity decreases during periods of drought and in the winter, but there is no true hibernation period.[5] A study undertaken in 2001 found the vole's adaptation to the extremes of the continental climate is based on distinct seasonal variations of thermoregulation.[7] The gestation period lasts three weeks, with three or four litters a year, with two to four young voles in each. These grow rapidly and are sexually mature at the age of six weeks.[5]


This vole is a colonial species, living in groups of about 10 individuals, typically a family group of one pair of adults and young animals from one or two litters. The burrows are complex, the entrances are usually sealed by soil and the nesting chambers and fodder chambers are usually about 4 m (13 ft) beneath the surface.[8] The animals feed on roots, bulbs, tubers and the juicy rhizomes of plants, and in the summer and autumn they store small stocks of food.[5] They seldom emerge onto the surface except to distribute soil excavated from the burrow or to move to new territories, at which times they can cover distances of up to 800 m (2,600 ft).[8] The population size varies, being limited by infectious diseases, parasites, severe winters with deep-frozen ground, spring flooding of burrows by melt water and predatory birds and mammals.[5]


  1. ^ Tsytsulina, K.; Zagorodnyuk, I. (2008). "Ellobius talpinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  2. ^ Mammal Species of the World
  3. ^
  4. ^ Musser, G.G.; Carleton, M.D. (2005). "Superfamily Muroidea". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 975–976. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  5. ^ a b c d e f AgroAtlas
  6. ^ Bagheri-Fam, S; et al. (January 2012). "Sox9 gene regulation and the loss of the XY/XX sex-determining mechanism in the mole vole Ellobius lutescens". Chromosome Research. 20 (1): 191–9. doi:10.1007/s10577-011-9269-5. PMID 22215485.
  7. ^ Moshkin MP, Novikov EA, Petrovski DV. "Seasonal changes of thermoregulation in the mole vole Ellobius talpinus". Physiol Biochem Zool. 74: 869–75. doi:10.1086/324750. PMID 11731978.
  8. ^ a b IUCN Red Book
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