Canadian Wildlife - - CANADA’S ARCTIC -

NORTH­ERN COL­LARED LEM­MING Di­crostonyx groen­landi­cus

mouse­like ro­dent that lives in tree­less ar­eas of north­ern Canada; one of three species in the Arc­tic only species of lem­ming on which fur colour changes with the sea­sons: grey with brown in sum­mer, solid white in win­ter can re­pro­duce within weeks of birth re­mains ac­tive through­out the Arc­tic win­ter with­out freez­ing to death front feet de­velop two en­larged claws, pre­sum­ably to help dig through the hard-packed tun­dra snow has col­o­nized the Queen El­iz­a­beth Is­lands right to the north­ern tip of Ellesmere Is­land roughly four-year cy­cles of dras­ti­cally fluc­tu­at­ing pop­u­la­tions be­cause it is an im­por­tant food for er­mines, Arc­tic foxes and snowy owls, fluc­tu­a­tions have sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on Arc­tic life cy­cles IUCN sta­tus: least con­cern


adults range in to­tal length from 2.6 to 4.5 m and weigh up to 1,900 kg name from the Rus­sian belukha, which means white adults are pure white in colour; new­borns are born dark grey or mot­tled thick skin and lack of dor­sal fin prob­a­ble adap­ta­tions to ice-filled Arc­tic wa­ters well-de­vel­oped sense of hear­ing and re­fined abil­ity to de­tect ob­jects by sound in sum­mer, found in the wa­ters of the cen­tral Arc­tic Ar­chi­pel­ago, many in the estuaries of Som­er­set Is­land; mi­grate through Lan­caster Sound in the fall to over-win­ter in Baf­fin Bay off Greenland in High Arc­tic wa­ters, feeds on tur­bot and Arc­tic cod; fur­ther south, also eats Arc­tic char, squid, shrimp, mol­luscs and marine worms vul­ner­a­ble to predation by po­lar bears and killer whales; re­turn­ing to the same lo­ca­tions yearly in­creases vul­ner­a­bil­ity to hu­man hunt­ing and dis­tur­bance

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