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Lemmus lemmus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA CRICETIDAE

Scientific Name: Lemmus lemmus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name/s:
English Norway Lemming
French Lemming Des Toundras, LEMMING DES TOUNDRAS
Spanish Leming De Tundra, LEMING DE TUNDRA

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Henttonen, H.
Reviewer/s: Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
A common and widespread species with no major threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Norway lemming is endemic to Norway, western and northern Sweden, northern Finland, and the Kola peninsula (Russia). It is found on at least some islands. During population outbreaks, it may migrate as far as the Baltic (Hansson 1999). The southern border of the range is not stable due to large migrations that occur occasionally.
Countries:
Native:
Finland; Norway; Russian Federation; Sweden
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a widespread and generally common species within much of its range, although populations undergo major fluctuations in density. The species declined in Sweden in the last decades of the 20th century, but it is thought to have remained stable in other parts of its range (Hansson 1999). It is typical for northern lemmings to have population booms every 20-30 years. In Sweden, intensive grazing was thought to be a problem for the species, but perceived population declines may have been a result of natural population fluctuation: long low phases are common for populations in Sweden, and some large populations have been found in Sweden in recent years (H. Henttonen pers. comm. 2006).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits a variety of alpine and subarctic habitats including peat bogs, dwarf shrub heaths, and sparsely-vegetated slopes and ridges. Habitat use varies seasonally: in summer it prefers very moist habitats, whereas in winter it must use other habitats as wet areas freeze. During mass outbreaks, it can be found in forests, farmland, and even on frozen lakes. Large numbers of migrating lemmings may accumulate next to rivers and lakes that bar their passage, and many drown attempting the crossing (Hansson 1999).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It has been speculated that heavy grazing by semi-domesticated reindeer may have a negative impact on the species' habitat in Sweden (Hansson 1999). Climate change may threaten the species in the future (Nowak 1999). At present, the species is not under major threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in a number of protected areas. No specific conservation actions are recommended.
Citation: Henttonen, H. 2008. Lemmus lemmus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.
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