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Orkney vole

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Title: Orkney vole  
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Subject: Fauna of Scotland, Bryum dixonii, Bryoerythrophyllum caledonicum, St Kilda wren, Didymodon mamillosus
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Orkney vole

Orkney vole
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

Microtus orcadensis
Microtus ronaldshaiensis
Microtus rousiensis
Microtus sandayensis
Microtus westrae[1]

The Orkney vole 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. 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. However, others do not recognise any subspecies of the common vole.[1]

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. The likely source areas for Orkney voles are what is now France or Spain.[2]


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