Skomer vole

The Skomer vole (Myodes glareolus skomerensis) is a subspecies of bank vole endemic to the island of Skomer, off the west coast of Wales. The bank vole was probably introduced by humans at some time after the last glaciation. It is one of four small mammal species on Skomer. There are approximately 20,000 voles on the island.[1] The vole's main predators are owls, but it is also eaten by other predators, including common kestrel, common buzzard and peregrine falcon.[1] Like other voles they are short-lived, surviving to around 18 months old at most. At their largest they are roughly 12 centimetres (4.7 in) long and weigh a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 oz).[2]

Skomer vole
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Arvicolinae
Genus: Myodes
Species:
Subspecies:
M. g. skomerensis
Trinomial name
Myodes glareolus skomerensis
(Barrett-Hamilton, 1903)

Discovery

The Skomer vole was discovered by Robert Drane (d.1914), a pharmacist from Swansea who was a founding member of the Cardiff Naturalists Society in 1867, and at sometime its president, and also an authority on porcelain and honorary curator of Cardiff Museum.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b "Skomer Vole". BBC Wales. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Skomer Vole (Myodes glareolus skomerensis)". Storm Crow Survival. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  3. ^ Joshua John Neale. "PAPERS OF ROBERT DRANE OF CARDIFF" (PDF). Glamorgan Record Office/Archifdy Morgannwg. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
Bank vole

The bank vole (Myodes glareolus; formerly Clethrionomys glareolus) is a small vole with red-brown fur and some grey patches, with a tail about half as long as its body. A rodent, it lives in woodland areas and is around 100 millimetres (3.9 in) in length. The bank vole is found in much of Europe and in northwestern Asia. It is native to Great Britain but not to Ireland, where it has been accidentally introduced, and has now colonised much of the south and southwest.

The bank vole lives in woodland, hedgerows and other dense vegetation such as bracken and bramble. Its underground chamber is lined with moss, feathers and vegetable fibre and contains a store of food. It can live for eighteen months to two years in the wild and over 42 months in captivity and is mostly herbivorous, eating buds, bark, seeds, nuts, leaves and fruits and occasionally insects and other small invertebrates. It readily climbs into scrub and low branches of trees although it is not as versatile as a mouse. It breeds in shallow burrows, the female rearing about four litters of pups during the summer.

List of endemic species of the British Isles

The British Isles have few endemic species due to past frequent glaciations and because of the proximity to Continental Europe and former land bridges which enabled species to re-colonise the islands from the continent following glaciations. Most endemic species to the British Isles are considered to be subspecies of a larger species, with mutations or adaptations slightly changing the species in the islands or in certain localities.

British Conservationists often describe this as a “wiped clean effect”with repeated glaciations forcing many species out of the modern area of the islands to more southern latitudes in Europe and perhaps even driving some species extinct.

Some species which were present in Britain before past glaciations, often during periods with a warmer climate than now failed to return after the Last Glacial Maximum. Amongst these are Rhododendron ponticum and rabbits, now considered invasive and non-native.

A species is only deemed native if it reached the British Isles without human intervention (either intentional or unintentional). That means that to be native the species must have reached Britain before the land bridge joining Britain to the continent was submerged. Alternatively species can also be native when they have flown or swum to Britain as is the case with many bird species which arrived after the submersion of the land bridge, a recent example is the collared dove which arrived in the 1950s, this also applies for plants which spread seed in the wind.

A few endemic species are Arctic-Alpine species, survivors of Arctic species of plants and animals which either adapted to the warming climate or became isolated in suitable areas of mountains or lakes which still retained a suitable micro-climate. A common misconception is that the entirety of the British Isles was under glaciers and was uninhabitable both for humans, plants and animals. Whilst unsuitable for most species, a number of Arctic species survived in the areas not under glaciers in southern areas of England, Wales and south west Ireland and were either driven to extinction in the British Isles or to micro-climatic refuges as the climate warmed and the Arctic conditions retreated north.

Most endemic species or subspecies however date to more recent, post-glacial times, many having spread via land bridges or along the Atlantic seaboard of Europe.

Oxton, Kenton

Oxton in the parish of Kenton in South Devon is a historic estate long held by the Martyn family, a junior branch of the Norman family of FitzMartin, feudal barons of Barnstaple.

Oxton House is a Grade II listed building. The park and gardens are Grade II listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Skomer

Skomer (Welsh: Ynys Sgomer) or Skomer Island is an island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, in the community of Marloes and St Brides in west Wales. It is well known for its wildlife: around half the world's population of Manx shearwaters nest on the island, the Atlantic puffin colony is the largest in southern Britain, and the Skomer vole (a subspecies of the bank vole) is unique to the island. Skomer is a national nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area. It is surrounded by a marine nature reserve and is managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

Skomer is known for its archeological interest: stone circles, standing stone and remains of prehistoric houses. Much of the island has been designated an ancient monument.

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