Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

March 1981


Published in Proceedings of the Fifth Eastern Pine and Meadow Vole Symposium, Gettysburg, PA, March 4–5, 1981, Ross E. Byers, editor. Copyright © 1981 Schadler.


Freely reproducing colonies of pine voles reared in confined laboratory enclosures have a definite social organization and a predictable pattern of reproduction which results in limitation of population size. Colonies that were established in the laboratory with a single breeding pair showed that: 1) populations were self-limiting, 2) rank order existed with the founding female occupying a dominant position in the hierarchy, 3) reproduction was generally confined to the founding female and 4) the non-reproducing members of the colony showed that they did become reproductive when they were paired with normal mates. This paper is a preliminary report of the above events as they were recorded in a study of six colonies in my laboratory.