Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Invasions of the common vole sibling species.

Abstract

A review of original and published data on invasions of sibling species of Microtus from the group "arvalis" (East European vole, M. rossiaemeridionalis; common vole, M. arvalis; and Altai vole, M. obscurus) is given. Two stages of invasions differing in duration are established. These stages defined the formation of the modern ranges of these species and had an influence on evolutionary processes. The first stage is connected with agricultural development of Eurasia from the early Neolithic to the broad plowing of lands in the second half of the 20th century. Northern expansion of the range following the deforestation for plowing uses and southern expansion as a result of irrigation of arable lands are peculiar to all three sibling species. The second stage is due to expansion of the transport network and growth of traffic in the 20th century. The latter is characteristic of M. rossiaemeridionalis. The natural and historical reasons for the formation a contact zone between M. arvalis and M. obscurus are reconstructed. Original maps of the modern distribution of sibling Microtus species of the "arvalis" group, as well as natural and historical factors that influenced the formation of their ranges, are provided.