Counting the Rodents

In the middle of September, the reserve held an autumn census of its rodents. Such a research has been conducted for monitoring purposes twice a year since the establishment of the Prioksko-Terrasny Reserve.

To conduct the rodents census, the staff put lines of traps on six permanent transects located in different forest types. During the period of the census, over 500 trap days have been completed and 96 animals of four species have been caught: three mice species (the yellow-necked, field and forest mice) and one species of voles (the bank vole).

The comparative analysis of the census results has showed a growth in the number of rodents in comparison with the previous year. The population of bank voles, the dominant species of European forests, has significantly dropped after the abnormally hot summer of 2010, and the population still remains in a state of depression. However, this autumn the voles once again have become the largest rodent species in the reserve, amounting to 48% of the catch.

The yellow-necked mouse has also demonstrated an unusually high rise in population: its share in the catch amounted to 45%, which is rare for the territory of our reserve. This fact is important because the yellow-necked mouse is listed in the Red Book (the list of endangered species) of Moscow region.

According to the census, the percentage of the field mouse’s population has become lower than the average level of its population in the reserve. The field mouse has been rarely caught in the recent decades, and now its presence is recorded in the clear-bolded areas of the forest, which formed as a result of the bark beetle’s damage to the spruce.

The information is provided by Senior Researcher S.A. Albov.

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