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Airoldi, J.-P. (1976). The burrow system of the fossorial form of the water vole, Arvicola terrestris scherman Shaw (Mammalia, Rodentia). Z. Sugetierk. 41 : 23-42. (In French, English
 

Summary: Airoldi, J.-P. (1976). The burrow system of the fossorial form of the water vole, Arvicola
terrestris scherman Shaw (Mammalia, Rodentia). Z. Säugetierk. 41 : 23-42. (In French, English
summary)
36 burrow systems of the fossorial form of the Water Vole, Arvicola terrestris scherman Shaw,
have been studied in three regions of Switzerland: Jura, Plateau and Alps. Their average length is
4.2 m (4.8 - 199.3) and depends on the season and on the type of occupation; it averages 34 m in
summer and 70 m in winter. A deep network located between 30 and 60 cm is generally present
in lowland burrows, but is missing in mountain areas; it is more developed during winter time
and could represent a climatic adaptation. The occupied surface of a burrow has been determined
using two methods: the circumscribed polygon and ellipse; the averages are respectively, 27.1 m²
and 77.0 m², and the corresponding values for the gallery densities are 1.99 and 0.88 m/m². The
mounds are generally built laterally to the main gallery. The evolution of the structure of the
systems depends on the population density; when it is low, the burrow is longiline, and more
compact when it is high, although there is no decrease in length. A burrow system comprises
often 1 or 2 nests, rarely more. The main nest volume averages 1.66 dm³. The winter nest is at a
greater depth than the summer one. The number of nest issues varies from 1 to 4. Food stores
were observed in autumn and winter; two plant species are prevailing: Taraxacum officinale in
lowlands and Crocus albiflorus in the mountains. Most of the burrows are inhabited by pairs with
or without offspring, or by females with young or subadults.

  

Source: Airoldi, Jean-Pierre - Zoologischen Institut, Universität Bern

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology