Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Mus spicilegus is endemic to Europe, occurring from Lake Neusiedl on the Austro-Hungarian border through Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Ukraine, extending eastwards to as far as Rostov in the extreme south-west of Russia. In the Mediterranean region, it occurs in Serbia and Bulgaria, with an isolated subpopulation occurring in Montenegro, Greece and Albania. This subpopulation has a fragmented range within a very narrow strip of coastal habitat, and there are only three known localities (B. Kryštufek pers. comm. 2006). It typically occurs from sea level to 200 m (Macholán 1999).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in a variety of open habitats including natural steppe grasslands, pastures and cereal fields, orchards, open woodland, woodland edges and clearings. It avoids forests and human settlements. It feeds on grain and seeds, which it hoards in the winter in a soil-covered mound built above its nest chamber; a single mound may be up to 400 cm in diameter (although 100-200 cm is more typical) and contain up to 10 kg of grain (Macdonald and Barrett 1993, Sokolov et al. 1998). Groups of 4-14 mice cooperate to build these mounds (Sokolov et al. 1998).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 3.5 years (captivity)
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Coroiu, I., Kryštufek, B. & Vohralík, V.

Reviewer/s
Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
M. spicilegus is widespread in its range and can be common in suitable habitat. It is declining in some parts of its range owing to habitat loss, but not at a rate that meets the threatened criteria. Likewise in parts of the Mediterranean there are local declines; it may be in direct competition with M. musculus. Currently assessed as Least Concern, but population declines should be monitored.

History
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/near threatened
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
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Population

Population
It remains common in suitable habitats, but is suspected to be undergoing population decline in some areas. Densities of 1-20 mounds per hectare are typical, but densities of up to 60-100 mounds per hectare may be reached in particularly favourable habitat. On average, each mound is inhabited by five to six individuals (Macholán 1999). In Slovakia the range appears to be expanding.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
It is feared that loss of steppe grassland and agricultural intensification may cause population declines (Macholán 1999). However, in Romania at least, this species is considered an agricultural pest (Popescu and Murariu 2001).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It occurs in some protected area within its range. The population may be declining and this should be monitored.
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Wikipedia

Steppe mouse

The steppe mouse or mound-building mouse (Mus spicilegus) is a species of rodent in the family Muridae. It is found in Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

References[edit]

  • Amori, G. 1996. Mus spicilegus. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 19 July 2007.
  • Musser, G. G. and M. D. Carleton. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. pp. 894–1531 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.


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