Status. Rare, sporadically distributed species.
Distribution. Inhabits lowland plains, in Russia, the most numerous in the North Caucasus and the North Caspian. In the Saratov region social vole lives in the south-east and east of Volga, The northern limit of the species range. On the left bank of the river. M. Uzen around Huth. Vetelki Aleksandrovogayskogo district vole noted earlier (Davidovich, 1964). Interpretation post AA Matrosov, this rodent in the border zone with Kazakhstan Aleksandrovogayskom found in the area and at present.
At the present time, for the shafts of irrigation channels penetrate to the north from the river. M. Uzen, lives on the steppe areas of sea level. Finaykina beam, where colonies occupy large areas (up to 5000 m2). Further to the north-east is found in the slopes of the Blue Mountains with. Modine Ozinskogo area in beams Common Syrt have to. Tarahovka Perelyubskogo district. It is interesting to note that in these areas theriological conducted research in the mid-1960s., In the Blue Mountains selected local fauna complex (Larin, Gora-Lev, 1968), but about the social vole mentions not. Perhaps there is a gradual settling of this rodent in the north-west, and in the areas studied vole appeared relatively recently (Belyachenko, 2000).
Number. In the Caspian lowlands number of species range from 0.8 to 5.2 osobi/100 trap-nights (Oparin et al, 2005 a). Characterized by sharp fluctuations in abundance from year to year. Improve quantitative contribute recurring mild winters and wet summers. It should be noted that this type of bad goes to bait traps with standard and special methods of capture and accounting.
A brief description. Allocate 6.8 subspecies. Length about 110 mm (to 125 mm), tail – up to 22 mm, the tail is usually less than half the length of the body, but not shorter than the feet – from 15 to 50 mm. Coloration of the upper body with a light sandy ocher to quite dark, ocher and gray. Ventral side of the silver to the ash-gray. Tail light monochrome or slightly bicolor. The rear part of the foot to the corns covered with hair. Ear short, barely distinguished from wool. On the skull enlarged auditory bulla. Often, there is an additional tooth on the rear end of the front upper molars on the inside. In the karyotype of 62 chromosomes.
Habitats. Occupies dry grass and sagebrush steppe and semi-desert. In some cases, does not avoid the wetlands. Settles vast colonies, burrows are shallow, near-surface, but the long and branched, often making up to 40 inlets, up to 10 cameras, both residential and reserves at a depth of 25-50 cm
Especially biology. Well expressed by the ability to dig. Surface activity is limited, especially in the summer. In much of the area is characterized by a year-round breeding, the intensity of which falls in the cold season. In the Saratov region, probably breeding begins in March and lasts until October, the cold snowy winters, many populations of voles freeze, so the size of the spring is very low. Overwintered females bear litters 3.4, each with 6-8 young fingerlings spring generation begin to proliferate in the late summer and bring 1.2 litter. Characterized outbreak. In years of high abundance – one of the most serious pests of crops. The life span of animals is small and lasts 5-6 months, rarely reaching 8-9 months.
The diet is dominated by cereals and legumes, eat a variety of herbs, gnaw the bark of young trees and bushes in the autumn – the seeds of steppe grasses, which also stores for the winter (up to 3 kg in the same cell). It is noted that the lack of moisture eats insects and mollusks. Natural carrier for at least 6 of zoonotic diseases, including plague, tularemia and leptospirosis.