Vole (Family: Cricetidae) - Wiki
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[Photo] The meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus, is found in many parts of North America. Source: downloaded from http://www.nps.gov/yell/kidstuff/Alphabet/v.htm
A vole is a small rodent often with no hair resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, and smaller ears and eyes.
Most vole species have rootless molars that fold into a series of triangles. Voles are one of the few rodents whose molars continue to grow during their entire life. There is little to nothing to distinguish a vole from a lemming.
Voles exhibit complex genetic structures with much variation, and appear to be evolving rapidly when compared to other vertebrates. Species have been found with anywhere from 17-64 chromosomes. Female voles have been found with chromosomes from both sexes. All of these variations result in very little physical aberration: most vole species are virtually indistinguishable.
Adult voles, depending on the species, are three to seven inches tall.
Sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in America, approximately 70 species of voles can be found in Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America.
Depending on the species, the vole's diet consists of seeds, tubers, conifers needles, bark, various green vegetation such as grass and clover, and insects.
Many carnivores such as wolves, owls, hawks, coyotes, foxes, weasels, cats eat voles. A common predator to voles is the Short-Eared Owl.
The average life of a vole is 3???6 months. Voles rarely live longer than 12 months. The longest lifespan of a vole ever recorded was 18 months.
The prairie vole, Microtus ochrogaster, is an important animal model for sexual fidelity, since the male is completely faithful to the female. A closely related species, the meadow vole has promiscuously mating males, and scientists have changed meadow voles' behavior to resemble that of prairie voles via experiments in which a single gene was spliced.
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