Arvicola scherman 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae

Scientific Name: Arvicola scherman (Shaw, 1801)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Montane Water Vole
Taxonomic Notes: Linnaeus' amphibius and terrestris, both proposed in 1758 on the same page, are now considered conspecific by most researchers. As shown by Corbet (1978), amphibius has a priority over terrestris, based on Blasius (1857) as the first reviser. Recently, this species was split into A. amphibius and A. scherman (Panteleyev 2001, Wilson and Reeder 2005). Arvicola amphibius is larger, with shaggy pelage and ortodont incisors, and is associated with aquatic environment; A. scherman is smaller, with softer pelage, more reduced plantar and palmar tubercles, and the upper incisors strongly projecting forwards and has fossorial habits (Panteleyev 2001). Mitochondrial phylogeny based on sequences of 800 to 1,200 BP of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene suggests taxonomy of A. amphibius group to be more complex: three main groups were distinguished within A. amphibius: (1) strictly fossorial water voles from the mountain regions of Europe, (2) aquatic and transitional populations living south of the Alps, and (3) a heterogeneous group of the remaining aquatic populations (Wust Saucy 1998).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-09-10
Assessor(s): Cassola, F.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Krystufek, B., Hutterer, R., Yigit, N., Mitsain, G. & Muñoz, L.

Arvicola scherman has a wide distribution, and is considered a pest in parts of the range. Not under serious threat at present and therefore Least Concern.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

There is much confusion between A. amphibius and A. scherman and the distribution of both taxa should be considered tentative. A. scherman occurs mainly in mountainous areas in southern and central Europe (Saucy 1999, Panteleyev 2001, Wilson and Reeder 2005). In the French Alps it occurs to 2,400 m (Reichstein 1982).

Countries occurrence:
Andorra; Austria; Croatia; Czech Republic; France; Germany; Hungary; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Switzerland; Ukraine
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Pronounced cyclic population fluctuations occur every 5-8 years, with densities ranging between 0 and 1,000 individuals per hectare (Saucy 1999). At high densities it becomes an agricultural pest. A main pest in orchards (e.g., in Slovenia; B. Krystufek pers comm. 2007).

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Mainly restricted to the uplands, where constructs extensive underground burrows in grasslands (including pastures) or, less frequently, in woodlands. Predominantly herbivorous, feeding on vegetation in the summer and on roots, bulbs and tubers in the winter (Saucy 1999). The species lives in complex burrows that are usually not deeper than 1 m.

Generation Length (years):1-2

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats known.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Occurs in some protected areas. No specific measures in place.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Citation: Cassola, F. 2016. Arvicola scherman. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136766A115519839. . Downloaded on 18 October 2017.
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