|Orkney vole (Microtus arvalis orcadensis) in the Natural History Museum at Tring|
The Orkney vole is a population of the common vole (Microtus arvalis) found in the Orkney Islands, off the northern coast of Scotland, United Kingdom. Orkney voles are larger than voles from other populations of the common vole. The common vole does not occur elsewhere in the British Isles.
The Orkney vole occurs on five islands:
In the past the populations on each of these islands have been named as subspecies, and the Orkney vole as a whole is considered by some taxonomists[who?] to be a subspecies of the common vole. However, others do not recognise any subspecies of the common vole.
Orkney voles do not occur in mainland Britain, nor elsewhere in the British Isles, and they are thought to have been introduced to the Orkney archipelago by humans in Neolithic times. The oldest known radiocarbon-dated fossil of Common Vole in Orkney is 4,600 years old: this marks the latest possible date of introduction. The likely source areas for Orkney voles are what is now France or Spain.
- Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- S. Haynes, M. Jaarola & J. B. Searle (2003). "Phylogeography of the common vole (Microtus arvalis) with particular emphasis on the colonization of the Orkney archipelago" (abstract page). Molecular Ecology 12 (4): 951–956. doi:10.1046/j.1365-294X.2003.01795.x. PMID 12753214.
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