Biology Bulletin

, Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 1158–1165 | Cite as

Age and Sex Determination in the Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius, Rodentia, Arvicolinae) Based on Measurements of the Pelvic Limb Bones

  • G. A. Zudova
  • L. P. Proskurnyak
  • G. G. Nazarova


A method was developed for determining the age and sex of the water vole (Arvicola amphibius L.) based on the measurements of the pelvic limb bones. The material was obtained from captive-bred animals of a known age. By using discriminant analysis, classification functions were found for dividing the animals of the sample analyzed (n = 56) by sex and age with an accuracy equal to one year. Testing the control group (n = 34) showed that the age of 90.0% of males and of 92.9% of females was determined correctly. The correctness of the classification by sex is 100%.


Arvicola amphibius water vole pelvic limb bones discriminant analysis age sex growth 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brown, J.C., Studies on the pelvis in British Muridae and Cricetidae (Rodentia), J. Zool. (London), 1969, vol. 158, pp. 81–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burlet, P., Deplazes, P., and Higglin, D., Efficient age determination: how freezing affects eye lens weight of the small rodent species Arvicola terrestris, Eur. J. Wildlife Res., 2010, vol. 56, pp. 685–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Callewaert, F., Venken, K., Kopchick, J.J., Torcasio, A., van Lenth, G.H., et al., Sexual dimorphism in cortical bone size and strength but not density is determined by independent and time-specific actions of sex steroids and IGF-1: evidence from pubertal mouse model, J. Bone Miner. Res., 2010, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 617–626.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Evsikov, V.I., Nazarova, G.G., and Rogov, V.I., Population ecology of the water vole (Arvicola terrestris L.) in West Siberia. Report I. Reproductive ability of females polymorphic for coat color in different phases of the population size dynamics, Sib. Ekol. Zh., 1999, no. 1, pp. 59–68.Google Scholar
  5. Garde, J.M. and Escala, M.C., Cranial biometrics of the water vole, Arvicola sapidus (Rodentia, Arvicolidae), Folia Zoologica, 1997, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 201–216.Google Scholar
  6. Gromov, I.M. and Polyakov, I.Ya., Voles (Microtinae), in Fauna SSSR. Mlekopitayushchie (Fauna of the USSR. Mammals), Leningrad: Nauka, 1977, vol. 3, no. 8.Google Scholar
  7. Jacob, M., Avadhani, R., and Bindhu, S., Maximum femoral length and bicondylar width as a tool for sexual dimorphism, Indian J. Res., 2013, vol. 2, no. 8, pp. 185–186.Google Scholar
  8. Klevezal’, G.A., Printsipy i metody opredeleniya vozrasta mlekopitayushchikh (Principles and Methods of Determination of the Age of Mammals), Moscow: Tovar. Nauch. Izd. KMK, 2007.Google Scholar
  9. Klevezal’, G.A. and Kleinenberg, S.E., Opredelenie vozrasta mlekopitayushchikh po sloistym strukturam zubov i kosti (Determination of the Age of Mammals by the Layered Structures of Teeth and Bones), Moscow: Nauka, 1967.Google Scholar
  10. Klevezal’, G.A., Mina, M.V., and Krushinskaya, N.L., The use of multivariate statistical analysis methods in determining the age of a mammal (a case study of the birch mouse, Sicista betulina, and forest marten, Martes martes), Zool. Zh., 2005, vol. 84, no. 11, pp. 1389–1401.Google Scholar
  11. Kuncová, P. and Frynta, D., Interspecific morphometric variation in the postcranial skeleton in the genus Apodemus, Belgian J. Zool., 2009, vol. 139, no. 2, pp. 133–146.Google Scholar
  12. Lobachev, B.C. and Fomin, S.V., On the sexual dimorphism of the size of postcranial bones of some species of gerbils, in Tushkanchiki fauny SSSR (Jerboa Fauna of the USSR), Tashkent: Fan, 1988, vol. 2.Google Scholar
  13. Mayakov, A.A. and Shepel’, A.I., Determination of sex and species of some mammals by the bones of pelvis, crus, and femur, Zool. Zh., 1987, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 288–294.Google Scholar
  14. Nazarova, G.G., Zudova, G.A., and Proskurnyak, L.P., Age variability and sexual dimorphism of craniometric traits in the water vole (Arvicola amphibius, Rodentia, Arvicolinae), Zool. Zh., 2015, vol. 94, no. 8, pp. 955–962.Google Scholar
  15. Nazarova, G.G., Effects of seasonal, ontogenetic, and genetic factor on lifespan of male and female progeny of Arvicola amphibious, Front. Genet., 2013, no. 4, p. 100.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Nozdrachev, A.D. and Polyakov, A.L., Anatomiya krysy (Laboratornye zhivotnye) (Anatomy of the Rat (Laboratory Animals)), St. Petersburg: Lan’, 2001.Google Scholar
  17. Nwoha, P.U., Sex differences in the bony pelvis of the fruiteating bat, Eidolon helvum, Folia Morphologica, 2000, vol. 59, no. 4, pp. 291–295.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Panteleev, P.A. and Terekhina, A.N., Study of the intrapopulation variability using the water vole as an example, in Fauna i ekologiya gryzunov (Fauna and Ecology of Rodents), Moscow: Izd. Mosk. Gos. Univ., 1976, no. 13, pp. 99–163.Google Scholar
  19. Rogov, V.G., Potapov, M.A., and Evsikov, V.I., Sex structure of populations of water vole (Arvicola amphibius, Rodentia, Cricedidae) in Western Siberia, Zool. Zh., 1999, vol. 78, no. 8, pp. 979–986.Google Scholar
  20. Samuels, J.X. and Van Valkenburgh, B., Skeletal indicators of locomotor adaptations in living and extinct rodents, J. Morphol., 2008, vol. 269, pp. 1387–1411.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Stoddart, D.M., Breeding and survival in a population of water vole, J. Anim. Ecol., 1971, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 487–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Terekhina, A.N. and Panteleev, P.A., Age structure of a population, in Vodyanaya polevka: Obraz vida (Seriya: Vidy fauny Rossii i sopredel’nykh stran) (Water Vole: The Image of the Species. (Series: Species of the Fauna of Russia and Adjacent Countries)), Moscow: Nauka, 2001, pp. 334–345.Google Scholar
  23. Ventura, J., A discriminant function for sexual determination in Arvicola terrestris monticola (Rodentia, Arvicolidae) based on the morphometry of the innominate bone, Mammalia, 1993, no. 3, pp. 435–440.Google Scholar
  24. Ventura, J. and Götzens, V., Prevalence of anomalies in the appendicular skeleton of a fossorial rodent population, J. Wildlife Dis., 2005, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 728–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ventura, J., Gosálbez, J., and Götzens, V.J., The os soxae of a digging form of the norten water vole, Arvicola terrestris (Rodentia, Arvicolidae), Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia, 1991, vol. 20, pp. 225–236.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Zudova
    • 1
  • L. P. Proskurnyak
    • 1
  • G. G. Nazarova
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Animal Systematics and Ecology, Siberian BranchRussian Academy of SciencesNovosibirskRussia

Personalised recommendations