Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Myodes californicus

Western Red-backed Vole

Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae

Image of Myodes californicus
Clethrionomys californicus - coastal, darker variant, upper left; lighter inland variant, lower right
Click to enlarge. (77 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.


The Western Red-backed Vole lives in conifer forests from the Columbia River south through western Oregon to northern California. Its population densities are greatest in dense, dark forests where there is little or no understory. These Voles prefer old-growth to young forest, and upland to riparian areas. They use decaying logs for foraging, nesting, and inner-log travel routes, and they make other pathways along large, hard logs. In Oregon, these voles consume largely fungi and lichens, with some conifer seeds and insect larvae. They may play a role in disseminating fungal spores and bacteria that are important to the ecology of the forest.

Also known as:
California Red-backed Vole

Sexual Dimorphism:
None

Length:
Range: 121-165 mm

Weight:
Range: 15-40 g

References:

Merriam, C.H., 1890.  Descriptions of twenty-six new species of North American mammals, p. 26.  North American Fauna, 4:1-60.

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Myodes californicus