Mammal Species of the World
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- Original description: Merriam, C.H., 1889. Preliminary revision of the North American pocket mice (genera Perognathus et Cricetodipus auct.) with descriptions of new species and subspecies and a key to the known forms, p. 21. North American Fauna, 1:1-36.
In the Gulf of California this species is found on Espiritu Santo Island, San Francisco Island, San Jose, Carmen, Coronados, San Marcos, San Lorenzo, Angel de la Guarda, Mejia islands, and in the Pacific on Margarita Island.
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: Southeastern and south-central California (including San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial and San Diego counties), marginally in extreme southern Nevada, south to the southern end of Baja California, including adjacent offshore islands (but absent from the western third of northern and central Baja California). To 900 m in the Turtle Mountains in southeastern California and about 1500 m in the Sierra Laguna in the Cape region of southern Baja California.
Length: 23 cm
Weight: 20 grams
Habitat and Ecology
Little is known about the natural history of the spiny pocket mouse despite its wide range and the many reports of its occurrence. It is nocturnal, thereby escaping the intense heat and aridity of the desert during the day. Its diet probably consists of seeds and it may eat green vegetation following the brief periods of rain. Because water is scarce in its habitat much of the time, this rodent probably finds water derived from its food. The only record of reproduction detailed the occurrence of four embryos in one specimen. Nothing is known about growth, development, physiological function, and behavior (Wilson and Ruff 1999).
Comments: Hot, dry, low deserts; on rough mesas and rocky slopes; sparse vegetation, with some xerophilous plants (Burt and Grossenheider 1964); rough beaches. Sleeps and rears young in underground burrows.
Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Comments: Presumably feeds primarily on seeds of desert shrubs and grasses.
Life History and Behavior
Comments: Likely to become torpid or inactive in cold weather.
April embryo counts of four comprise the only available reproductive data (Lackey 1991).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Chaetodipus spinatus
There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank. Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species. See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen. Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chaetodipus spinatus
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 117
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Spiny pocket mouse
The spiny pocket mouse (Chaetodipus spinatus) is a species of rodent in the family Heteromyidae. It is found in Baja California in Mexico and in Arizona, California and Nevada in the United States.
- Patton, J. L. 2005. Family Heteromyidae. pp. 844–858 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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Names and Taxonomy
Comments: This species formerly was included in the genus Perognathus. Subgenus Chaetodipus was elevated to full genus status by Hafner and Hafner (1983); this treatment was supported by a phylogenetic analysis of Heteromyidae based on myology (Ryan 1989). Chaetodipus was accepted as a full genus by Jones et al. (1992), Patton (in Wilson and Reeder 1993), and most other authors subsequent to Hafner and Hafner (1983). In a phylogeny based on molecular data, Riddle (1995) found support for the monophyly of Chaetodipus, including C. formosus, relative to Perognathus.
Eighteen subspecies, many of them on islands in the Gulf of California, were recognized by Hall (1981).