Orkney vole

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Orkney vole
Topillo de las Orcadas.jpg
Orkney vole (Microtus arvalis orcadensis) in the Natural History Museum at Tring
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Arvicolinae
Genus: Microtus
Species: M. arvalis
Subspecies: M. a. orcadensis
Trinomial name
Microtus arvalis orcadensis

Microtus orcadensis
Microtus ronaldshaiensis
Microtus rousiensis
Microtus sandayensis
Microtus westrae[2]

The Orkney vole (Microtus arvalis orcadensis) 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.[citation needed] 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 to be a subspecies of the common vole because of its size difference from the common vole. However, others do not recognise any subspecies of the common vole,[2] especially since DNA analysis indicates transport by Neolithic humans from Belgium.[3][4]

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.


  1. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44461150
  2. ^ a b Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  3. ^ Orkney vole is from Belgium
  4. ^ Martínková, Natália; Barnett, Ross; Cucchi, Thomas; Struchen, Rahel; Pascal, Marine; Pascal, Michel; Fischer, Martin C.; Higham, Thomas; Brace, Selina (2013-10-01). "Divergent evolutionary processes associated with colonization of offshore islands". Molecular Ecology. 22 (20): 5205–5220. doi:10.1111/mec.12462. ISSN 1365-294X. PMC 4159590Freely accessible. PMID 23998800.