general info about Theriologia Ukrainica

Theriologia Ukrainica
(former Proceedings of the Theriological School)

ISSN 2616-7379 (print) • ISSN 2617-1120 (online)

2019 • Vol. 18 • Contents of volume >>>

download pdfBarkaszi, Z. The European snow vole (Chionomys nivalis) in Ukraine: a species in the far northeast of its distribution. Theriologia Ukrainica. 2019. Vol. 18: 120–127.



The European snow vole (Chionomys nivalis) in Ukraine: a species in the far northeast of its distribution


Barkaszi, Z.


National Museum of Natural History, NAS of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine)


Theriologia Ukrainica. 2019. Vol. 18: 120–127.




English, with Ukrainian summary, titles of tables, captures to figs


The European snow vole is a widespread rodent species of Europe having a highly fragmented range and a number of isolated populations. The species’ distribution is mainly restricted to high mountains of Europe and Asia Minor. The European snow vole is represented in the mammal fauna of Ukraine by an isolated population in the subalpine zone of the Carpathians. An extensive survey of all collection samples of the species deposited in zoological museums of Ukraine was conducted, including analysis of 149 available specimens. The paper presents a review of all known records of the species in Ukraine with an updated map of distribution. Morphological features of the local isolated population belonging to the subspecies C. n. ulpius is also presented with a focus on external and craniometrical characters of adult specimens. The European snow vole is a rather large rodent compared to other vole species of the local fauna. No sex-related variation by linear body dimensions was revealed in adult specimens of the species. Analysis of craniometrical characters and their comparison with those of two other subalpine vole species (Microtus agrestis and Terricola subterraneus) showed a substantial distinctness of the European snow vole, which might be related to existing niche differentiation between the three vole species supporting stability and low trophic and spatial competition within the subalpine rodent complex. The current state of the local snow vole population along with the specifics of its habitat preferences in the Ukrainian Carpathians are discussed with particular attention on the European snow vole’s role in the local subalpine small mammal community as an indicator species. The abundance of the species in the Ukrainian Carpathians is quite high within the species’ key habitats. In particular, the European snow vole dominated in samples trapped in all types of plant associations of the Chornohora massif. As an endemic and relict species with a restricted distribution, the European snow vole is protected in Ukraine and listed as vulnerable in the Red Data Book of Ukraine. Current conservation issues are discussed along with possible measures necessary for sustainable development of the local snow vole population.


snow vole, distribution, morphology, habitat selection, population management.



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