The single living species of the genusDinaromys(3), Martino’s vole exhibits the typical characteristics of most small, herbivorous rodents (4). It has dense, soft fur, which may be greyish-brown or bluish-grey on the upperparts, and a paler greyish-white on the underparts. It has large ears covered with dense fur, and a long, thinly-haired tail that is greyish-brown on the upperside and white on the sides and below. The white feet bear short, sharp claws on all digits except the thumb, which has a small, flat nail (2)(3). Male and female Martino’s voles are similar in size and weight (5).
As a herbivore, Martino’s vole has a diet comprised primarily of grasses and herbs (1), and is known to store some of this food for the winter (3).
Martino’s vole reaches sexual maturity and commences breeding at the age of two, and each breeding female has one or two litters a year (1), typically between June and August (6). Each litter comprises two or three young, which are born after a gestation period of at least one month (3). Martino’s vole is known to live for up to four years (5).
Martino’s vole has very specialised habitat requirements, being restricted to areas of exposed, karst limestone rock (1). The great majority of records of this species are from elevations above 1,400 metres (4).
The very specialised habitat requirements and small range of Martino’s vole means that it is highly vulnerable to any threats. While its preference for isolated and inaccessible habitats means that Martino’s vole is not threatened by human disturbance, competition with the European snow vole (Chronomys nivalis) may pose a threat, as it may out-compete Martino’s vole for resources such as food and shelter (1). The amount of competition between the two species affects the northerly populations to a greater extent than those in the south (4), but the extent to which this is affecting the species needs to be researched more thoroughly (1). Worryingly, due to a low effective population size and very limited gene flow between the remaining populations, the long-term existence of Martino’s vole might not be secure, even in populations that live in optimal habitats (7).
Martino’s vole exists within several protected areas, such as the Prokletije Mountains in Serbia, which are a biodiversity hotspot for several endemic species (8). It has been recommended that a long term monitoring program should be established for this species, as well as further research to determine the extent to which it is threatened by competition with the European snow vole (1).
The number of individuals that contribute offspring to the next generation.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Nowak, R.M. (1991) Walker's Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.
Krystufek, B. and Buzan, E.V. (2008) Rarity and decline in paleoendemic Martino’s vole (Dinamorys bogdanovi). Mammal Review, 38: 267-284.
Krystufek, B., Kolaric, K. and Paunovic, M. (2009) Age determination and age structure in martinos vole. Mammalia, 64(3): 361-370.
Brunet-Lecomte, P., Monture, S. and Dimitrijevic, V. (2001) The Pleistocene subterranean voles Terricola (Rodenta) of Serbia and Montenegro. Palantologische Zeitschrift, 75(2): 189-196.
Krystufek, B., Buzan, E.V., Hutchinson, W.F. and Handfling, B. (2007) Phylogeography of the rare Balkan endemic Martino’s Vole (Dinamorys bogdanovi) reveals strong differentiation within the West Balkan Peninsula. Molecular Ecology, 16: 1221-1232.
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