Heather vole

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Heather voles
Temporal range: Early Pleistocene - Recent
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Arvicolinae
Genus: Phenacomys
Merriam, 1889

Phenacomys intermedius
Phenacomys ungava

The genus Phenacomys is a group of North American voles. The genus name comes from the Greek for "imposter mouse."[1]

These animals live in forested, alpine and tundra areas, which often include plants of the heath family. They are small rodents with long fur and short ears, legs and tails. They eat green plants, seeds and berries in summer and bark and buds of shrubs at other times. Predators include mustelids, owls and hawks.

Some sources include the tree voles, genus Arborimus, in this genus. At one time, the two species of heather vole were considered to be a single species.

The complete list of living species is:

Unusual features in the teeth of Phenacomys voles suggest that the genus may have arisen relatively early within the evolutionary history of voles, probably in early Pliocene Beringia, from an Asian ancestor. The earliest American fossils date from about 1.5 million years ago, and were discovered in present day Idaho. Similarly aged fossils belonging to two extinct species, P. gryci and P. deeringensis, have been discovered in Yakutia. During the Ice Ages of the Pleistocene, Phenacomys voles lived as far south as Arkansas.[1]


  1. ^ a b Braun, J.K. et al. (2013). "Phenacomys ungava (Rodentia: Cricetidae)". Mammalian Species 45 (899): 18–29. doi:10.1644/899.1.