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Myodes regulus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA CRICETIDAE

Scientific Name: Myodes regulus
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1907)
Common Name(s):
English Southern Red-backed Vole, Royal Vole, Korean Red-backed Vole
Synonym(s):
Eothenomys regulus (Thomas, 1907)
Taxonomic Notes: This taxon is usually included in M. rufocanus (G.M. Allen, 1940; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott 1951; Gromov and Polyakov 1977; Hinton 1926; also see references in Kaneko 1990) but it was treated as a separate species by Corbet (1978). In a study of red-backed voles from Russia, northeastern China, and Korea, Kaneko (1990) thoroughly documented morphological distinctions between M. rufocanus and M. regulus, considering the latter to be a Korean endemic and suggesting that "the true geographical demarcation line between the two species lies on the western and southern boundary of the Kaima Plateau, North Korea." Kaneko also discovered that adult and old regulus lack molar roots, a key character for separating Myodes from Eothenomys, and so transferred it to Eothenomys.

Subsequent mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal DNA analyses conclusively demonstrate that M. regulus is distinct but phylogenetically close to M. rufocanus, not typical Eothenomys (Suzuki et al. 1999). Wakana et al. (1996) noted that the "absence of rooting of the molars in the Korean vole … is a characteristic that may have developed within a short period of evolutional time in the Korean population." The G-banding pattern of regulus is "essentially identical" to that of M. rufocanus, both differing from M. glareolus, but Y-chromosome morphology implicates closer relationship between M. regulus and M. smithii (Iwasa et al., 1999), a Japanese vole also having unrooted molars. Iwasa et al. (1999) stated that phylogenetic affinities among rufocanus, regulus, and smithii</i. "are extremely complicated." To this complicated mix must be added M. shanseius (also rootless), which is so morphologically similar to M. regulus that the same specimens have been variously identified as one or the other. They differ only in length of tail, interorbital breadth, and M3 occlusal patterns; as currently known, their distributions are allopatric, perhaps separated by the Liao He River in Liaoning Province (Kaneko, 1992). The genetic integrity of M. regulus relative to M. shanseius similarly warrants additional study.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Stuart, S.N.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Chanson, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
History:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to North and South Korea (Kaneko, 1990). It ranges across the north-western, central, and southern parts of the Korean Peninsula.
Countries:
Native:
Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is fairly common in central and southern Korea (Yoon, 1994).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This vole occupies a fairly wide variety of habitats, but seemingly avoids extensive forests (Won, 1967). Specimens of this species have been collected from scrub-covered hillsides, talus slopes, forested areas, abandoned paddy fields, the edge of the forest, old logs, tree stumps, and often near the bank of streams (Won and Smith, 1999; Allen and Andrews, 1913; Jones and Johnson, 1965; Won, 1967). It can probably adapt to some anthropogenic habitats.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is an adaptable species that is unlikely to be experiencing any major threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It presumably occurs in a number of protected areas.

Citation: Stuart, S.N. 2008. Myodes regulus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 October 2014.
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