Summary: Airoldi, J.-P. (1979). Study of the activity rhythm of the water vole, Arvicola terrestris scherman
Shaw. Mammalia 43 : 25-52. (In French, English summary)
The activity of 19 individuals of the fossorial form of the water vole, Arvicola terrestris
scherman Shaw, marked with radioactive Tantalum-182, was recorded from July 1975 to July
1976. A circadian polyphasic rhythm comprising 6 phases of activity and rest periods during 24
hours was observed. This pattern is very clear from November through March, as well as in July.
For the remaining part of the year, the activity phases are less regularly distributed.
The beginning of the third, and the end of the fifth activity phase coincide respectively with
sunrise and sunset, indicating a probable activity rhythm synchronization with the light cycle.
This relationship is very pronounced from November to March, while in July, the beginning of
the second activity phase coincides with sunrise. In winter, most activity occurs during daytime,
whereas it is more equally distributed during other seasons. The average hourly activity is always
greater during daytime than during nighttime. For most individuals recorded from December
though May, there was a good correlation between daily activity time and temperature.
Not all the burrow system galleries are used with the same frequency, usage often being
connected with the search for food.