- Federal Status: Endangered
- FL Status: Federally-designated Endangered
- FNAI Ranks: G5T1/S1 (Globally: Demonstrably Secure, Sub sp. Critically Imperiled/ State: Critically Imperiled)
- IUCN Status: Not ranked
The Florida salt marsh vole is a mid-sized rodent that can reach 7.3 inches (18.5 centimeters) in length, with a tail length of two inches (five centimeters). This vole has a dark brown back, a silver belly, small ears usually covered by hair, and a short, wide snout (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).
The diet of the Florida salt marsh vole consists of plants, primarily grasses (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 2001).
Little is known about the reproduction of the Florida salt marsh vole, but it is thought to be similar to the meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 1997). Meadow voles breed year round, but mainly between March and November (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, n.d.). The total gestation period is 21 days, with an average of five young born per litter (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 1997). Females can reach maturity in less than a month with the male reaching maturity about a week later (Stemburg Museum of Natural History, n.d.).
The primary habitat of the Florida salt marsh vole is poorly known, but the voles have only been found in saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) meadows that neighbor black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). Only two populations of salt marsh vole have been found - one near Cedar Key and a second at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge in the Big Bend Region of Florida.
The main threat to the Florida salt marsh vole is its limited range. Any natural or environmental catastrophe could cause the extinction of the species. There is also the continued threat of habitat loss from rising sea level and human development.
Conservation and Management
The Florida salt marsh vole is protected as an Endangered species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a Federally-designated Endangered species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.
Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 2001. Field guide to the rare animals of Florida. http://www.fnai.org/FieldGuide/pdf/Microtus_pennsylvanicus_dukecampbelli.PDF
Ohio Department of Natural Resources. (n.d.). Meadow Vole. Retrieved July 27, 2011, from http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/species_a_to_z/meadowvole/tabid/17675/Default.aspx
Stemburg Museum of Natural History. (n.d.). Meadow Vole. Retrieved July 28, 2011, from Kansas Mammal Atlas: http://webcat.fhsu.edu/ksfauna/mammals/index.asp?page=species&species_id=390%09-860&dots=yes&tributaries=yes&isAnura=&map
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2001, August). Florida salt marsh vole. Retrieved July 27, 2011, from North Florida Ecological Services Office. http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/Species-Accounts/Saltmarsh-Vole-2005.htm
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 1997. Recovery plan for the Florida salt marsh vole. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 9pp.