The Alpine Marmot Project

Welcome to the Alpine Marmot Project

Who and Where are we?

Who am I?

Latin name Marmota marmota marmota
Common name Marmotte alpine
Size 45-68 cm
Body mass 2.2-6.5 kg
Durée de vie > 15 years
Sexual maturity 2 years
Litter size 1 to 7 pups
Gestation 28-32 d
Weaning 40 d
Hibernation 15 October-30 March
Description Brown coat, with orange markings on the back, beige to orange belly. Brown muzzle, white band between muzzle and eyes, small ears. Short legs. Bushy brown tail with a black tail
Systematic Phylum: Vertébrés
Class: Mammalia
Ordrer Rodentia
Sub-order: Protogomorpha
Super-family: Sciuroidea
Family: Sciuridae
Sub-family: Sciurinae
Tribe: Marmotini
Sub-tribe: Marmotina
Genus: Marmota
Species: marmota
Legal status At the European level:Protected species (Annex III Bern Convention; Annex III Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, 82/72/CEE).At the national level: Non domestic species, belonging to the national biological heritage. Authorised game species (arrêté ministériel du 26 juin 1987 modifié pris en application de l’article L.224.1 du Code rural). Species not likely to be classified as ‘harmful’ (arrêté ministériel du 30 septembre 1988). Protection measures listed in the Code rural: Hawking, sale, selling or buying of dead specimens (R 211.1 to R211.3), digging up, trapping (R. 227.5), and transport of live specimens (L. 224.8) are forbidden. Control the capture and the transport of marmots for scientific or repopulation purposes (article 11 de l’arrêté ministériel du 1er août 1986, R. 224.14) as well as reintroductions (L 211.3). Legislation conforming with the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (82/72/CEE) and to regulation 3254/91 banning leg-hold traps in the European community, as well as agreement 98/142/CE under humane trapping standards.

Where do I live?

Currently found across the Alpine arc, in the countries of France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia (Ramousse et al. 1999). It is estimated that there are over 100,000 individuals (Le Berre 1994).

distribution européenne

Contemporaneous distribution of the alpine marmot

distribution française

In France, the marmot is found primarily in the Alps in 493 out of 1579 communities. The population has expanded considerably since 1964 (Magnani et al. 1990). Its numbers are estimated between 105 and 106 (Le Berre 1994).

Since 1948, the marmot was introduced and not reintroduced, to the Pyrenees and now occupies many areas (Herrero et al. 1988). The marmot was also introduced but with less success in the Massif Central as well as the Jura and the Vosges. This aimed to reinforce pre-existing populations and was also carried out in the pre-Alps (Beauges, Chartreuse, Chablais, Vercors).

The Alpine marmot’s habitat is usually Alpine and sub-Alpine grasslands between 800 and 3200m in altitude.

Origin

History

migration

Proposed model of Sciuridae dispersal at the geological scale, M=Million years (from Mein 1992)

60 million years ago, the last common ancestor of all rodents appeared in Central Asia (1). During the next million years its descendants crossed over to North America (2). The opening of the Bering Strait 40 million years ago lead to the geographic isolation of Eurasia and North America and therefore the genetic isolation of species living on these different continents, particularly the rodents. This isolation lead to the appearance of the Marmotini tribe 30 million years ago. The tribe multiplied and differentiated until the appearance of the first marmots in North America, 15 million years ago (3). These first marmots would have migrated via the Bering Strait to Eurasia, 1 million years ago (4).

The genus Marmota

The genus Marmota currently comprises 14 species. Six species occupy North America and eight species live in Eurasia.

Six species occupy North America and eight species live in Eurasia.

geographie

Marmota flaviventris Marmota monax Marmota caligata Marmota boweri Marmota vancouverensis Marmota marmota Marmota bobac Marmota baibacina Marmota caudata Marmota menzbieri Marmota sibirica Marmota hymalayana Marmota camtschatica Marmota olympus

Among the North American species you can find:

Marmota broweri or Alaska marmot

Marmota caligata or Hoary marmot

Marmota flaviventris or Yellow-bellied marmot

Marmota monax or woodchuck

Marmota olympus or Olympic marmot

Marmota vancouverensis or Vancouver Island marmot

Amongst the Eurasian marmot, you can find:

Marmota baibacina or Grey marmot

Marmota bobak orBobak marmot

Marmota camtschatica orBlack-capped marmot

Marmota caudata or Long-tailed marmot

Marmota himalayana or Himalayan marmot

Marmota marmota or Alpine marmot

Marmota menzbieri or Menzbier’s marmot

Marmota sibirica or Siberian marmot

Bibliography

Herrero J, Hidalgo R, Gonzales R. (1988) Colonization process of the alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) in Spanish Western Pyrenees. Pirineos 130, 87-94.

Kruckenhauser L, Pinsker W, Haring E, Arnold W (1999) Marmot phylogeny revisited: molecular evidence for a diphyletic origin of sociality. Journal of Zoology, Systematics and Evolutionary Research 37, 49-56.

Le Berre M (1994) Bases de la gestion des marmottes. In 2ème Journée d’Etude sur la Marmotte Alpine, Ramousse R, Le Berre M eds, 31-38.

Magnani Y, Cruveille MH, Chayron L, Collard P (1990) Entre Léman et méditerranée : Tétras, Bartavelle, Lièvre variable et marmotte. Statut territorial et évolution. Bulletin mensuel de l’Office National de la Chasse 150, 7-15.

Mein P (1992) Tassonomia. In Proceeding of the First International Symposium on Alpine Marmot and Genus Marmota. Bassano B, Durio P, Gallo Orsi, Macchi, eds, Torino, 6-12.

Ramousse R, Le Berre M, Giboulet O (1999) La Marmotte alpine. Le Courrier de l’environnement de l’INRA 36, 39-52.

Steppan S, Akhverdyan M, Lyapunova E, Fraser D, Vorontsov N (1999) Molecular phylogeny of the marmots (Rodentia: Sciuridae): Tests of evolutionary and biogeographic hypotheses. Systematic Biology 48, 715-734.

Marmota flaviventris Marmota monax Marmota caligata Marmota boweri Marmota vancouverensis Marmota marmota Marmota bobac Marmota baibacina Marmota caudata Marmota menzbieri Marmota sibirica Marmota hymalayana Marmota camtschatica Marmota olympus
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