Effect of climatic fluctuations on body mass of a Mediterranean vole, Microtus cabrerae

Rosa Fernández-Salvador, Rosa García-Perea, Jacint Ventura

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21 Citations (Scopus)


The Cabrera vole (Microtus cabrerae) is a microtine rodent endemic to the Mediterranean bioclimatic region of the Iberian peninsula. We investigated body mass variation in a population monitored during monthly trapping sessions from April 1997 to April 1999. No significant differences in body mass were found between adult males and females; also no seasonal pattern of body mass variation was detected. Likewise, no correlation was found between the monthly body mass average and rainfall, probably due to the peculiar characteristics of the habitats used by M. cabrerae. These consist of areas with high soil moisture and high phreatic level; thus, these features act as a buffer and maintain fresh vegetation when rainfall is scarce. Consequently, body mass of the population does not depend directly on rainfall. Body mass and body condition scarcely fluctuated before summer 1998, but decreased significantly from that season to winter 1998, in coincidence with the severe drought recorded in summer-autumn 1998, which affected the quality of food available to the Cabrera vole, and resulted also in a suppression of reproduction up to 3 months. Given the predicted climate change trend in the Iberian peninsula, the particular reproduction characteristics of the Cabrera vole, and the destruction of their habitats by human activities, we strongly recommend the protection of the habitats occupied by this rodent species. © 2005 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
JournalMammalian Biology
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2005


  • Body weight
  • Iberian peninsula
  • Microtus cabrerae


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