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Overview

Brief Summary

Description

"Canyon Mice inhabit arid shrublands and grasslands in the inhospitable ""slickrock"" deserts of the West. In the canyons where they live, the common denominator is bare rock, and they are remarkably agile at scampering on vertical or even overhanging walls. Where they are in competition with other mice, canyon Mice live in rockier, more desolate areas and the other, larger species use the areas with trees or shrubs. When they can, canyon Mice feed mostly on green vegetation and insects, but when those are not available, fruits and seeds are the mainstays of their diets. They are active all year long, but probably enter torpor if food (and therefore the water they need, which they obtain from food) is scarce."

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  • Original description: Merriam, C.H., 1891.  Results of a biological reconnaissance of south central Idaho, p. 53.  North American Fauna, 5:1-127.
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Western U.S. and adjacent northwestern Mexico, from eastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, and southwestern Wyoming south to northwestern Sonora and eastern Baja California Norte, west to northeastern and southeastern California, east to western Colorado and northwestern New Mexico (Johnson and Armstrong 1987, Carelton 1989).

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Range Description

Western United States and adjacent northwestern Mexico. In the United States from Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming southward California, Arizona, and New Mexico. In Mexico, northern Baja California and northwestern Sonora.
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Geographic Range

Canyon mice are native to North America and can be found from central Oregon to northern Baja California, throughout western Nevada, northern Arizona, most of Utah, and in the inter-montane regions of western Colorado.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Costello, R., A. Rosenberger. 2012. "Peromyscus crinitus Canyon Mouse" (On-line). Accessed April 02, 2011 at http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=267.
  • Ellerman, J. 1940. The Families and Genera of Living Rodents, vol I. London: Order of the Trustees of the British Museum.
  • Hall, Ph. D., E., K. Kelson, Ph. D.. 1959. Mammals of North America. New York: The Ronald Press Company.
  • Johnson, D., D. Armstrong. 1987. Peromyscus crinitus. Mammalian Species, no. 287: 1-8. Accessed April 02, 2011 at http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/Biology/VHAYSSEN/msi/.
  • Matthews, L. 1971. Life of Mammals, vol II. New York, New York: Universe Books.
  • Nowak, R., J. Paradiso. 1983. Mammals of the World, vol II. Baltimore and London: The John's Hopkins University Press.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Peromyscus crinitus is a relatively small rodent that ranges from 162 to 191 mm in head-body length, with an average of 175 mm. The tail ranges from 80 to 118 mm long and adult mass ranges from 13 to 23 g, with an average of 17 g. The dorsum is covered in brown, black, golden brown, or gray fur and the venter is typically white. Its tail and ears are sparsely furred and their ears and feet, which are approximately equal in length, are tufted. It has long white vibrissae on the snout and large black eyes. Sexual dimorphism has not been reported in this species.

Range mass: 13 to 23 g.

Average mass: 17 g.

Range length: 162 to 191 mm.

Average length: 175 mm.

Range basal metabolic rate: 4.80 to 6.26 cm^3 oxygen/hour.

Average basal metabolic rate: 5.53 cm^3 oxygen/hour.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

  • Emmons, L. 1990. Neotropical Rainforest Animals. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Mullen, R. 1971. Energy Metabolism of Peromyscus crinitus in its Natural Environment. Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 52, No. 3 (Aug., 1971), pp. 633-635, 52/3: 633-635. Accessed April 03, 2011 at http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.umich.edu/stable/pdfplus/1378611.pdf.
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Size

Length: 19 cm

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Size in North America

Sexual Dimorphism: None

Length:
Average: 175 mm
Range: 162-191 mm

Weight:
Average: 17 g
Range: 13-23 g
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Exclusively in rocky habitats: gravelly desert pavement, talus, boulders, cliffs, and slickrock; vegetation type not important (Johnson and Armstrong 1987).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Habitat specialists. Occur in arid shrublands and grasslands, specifically where bare rock is present such as canyon walls, but not in association with any particular type of vegetation.

Because of its patchy distribution (which is not reflected in the range map), this species likely has a much smaller area of occupancy than indicated by its extent of occurrence.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Canyon mice prefer arid habitat types and can be found from deserts below sea level to forested montane areas. They are restricted to rocky habitat, and vegetative cover type has little influence on their distribution. Canyon mice can also be found in desert or dune habitat and forage in areas with shrub-like vegetation, which they use for cover when presented with a potential threat.

Range elevation: -82 to 3048 m.

Average elevation: 1574.7 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; forest ; mountains

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Migration

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.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats seeds, insects, and green vegetation, depending on availability (Johnson and Armstrong 1987). Apparently can survive without access to free exogenous water.

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Food Habits

Although canyon mice are omnivorous, primarily forage includes plant products such as seeds, leaves, and fruit. Other important food items include various species of insect. Canyon mice cache food for consumption during winter.

Animal Foods: insects

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Canyon mice are omnivores that consume both insects and plant material. They are important seed dispersers throughout their geographic range and may help control insect pest populations as well. They are host to a number of different endoparasites, including tapeworms and roundworms, and are also vulnerable to a number of different ectoparasites such as ticks, chiggers, mites, fleas, botflies and warble flies.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

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Predation

Although there is no information regarding predators specific to Peromyscus crinitus, typical predators for other species of Peromyscus include ermine, long-tailed weasels, coyotes, red foxes, Canada lynx, and a number of other mammalian carnivores. Peromyscus crinitus is also preyed upon by owls such as barn owls, great-horned owls and barred owls, and a number of different snake species. It's coloration helps camouflage it from potential predators and likely helps decrease risk of predation.

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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General Ecology

Maximum population density was estimated at 3/ha in California, 27/ha in Grand Canyon, and 43/ha in southeastern Utah (Johnson and Armstrong 1987). Experiments suggest that P. CRINITUS may compete with other omnivorous/ granivorous rodents (see Johnson and Armstrong 1987).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Vocalizations are an important form of communication in canyon mice, especially in young, which often squeak while being cared for by their mother. When injured, adults make brief squeaking sounds, and when defending the nest, they often make "chit" sounds. When excited, canyon mice thump the ground with their hind feet, and when aggressive, they chatter their teeth.

Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic ; vibrations

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Cyclicity

Comments: Active throughout the year. Primarily nocturnal. May exhibit diurnal torpor in response to food and water deprivation. May enter torpor at low environmental temperatures (below 5 C) (Johnson and Armstrong 1987).

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

There is no information available regarding the lifespan of Peromyscus crinitus. Close relatives, P. maniculatus bairdii and P. maniculatus gracilis, have been known to live up to 15 years in captivity. Typically, wild mice have a very short lifespan, on the range of 1 to 3 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 7.7 years (captivity) Observations: Record longevity in captivity has been recorded as 7.7 years (Egoscue et al. 1970), which is possible.
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Reproduction

Gestation lasts about 25-31 days, longest in lactating females. Usually 2-4 young per litter (average 3 in southern California and northern Utah). May produce multiple litters annually. Young are weaned in about 23-28 days. Most first breed at age of 4-6 months (Hoffmeister 1986) .

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Peromyscus crinitus is polygynous, and like many other species of Peromyscus, it is solitary and is social only during breeding season. After parturition, mated pairs separate and females become extremely territorial, chasing out any conspecifics that wander into their home range. Little else is known of this species' reproductive behavior in the wild.

Mating System: polygynous

Peromyscus crinitus breeds year-round, however, reproductive activity peaks during spring (March through May). Estrus lasts for 6.1 days. When lactating, gestation ranges from 29 to 31 days, and 24 to 25 days otherwise. Litter size ranges from 1 to 5 pups with a mean of 3.4, and average birth weight is 2.2 g per pup. Peromyscus crinitus has about 2 litters per year, but as many as 8 have been recorded. Pups are altricial at birth, having only small amounts of fur and pigmentation. They are completely defenseless after parturition and rely on their mother for nutrition and protection. Weaning begins at 21 to 30 days after birth and continues until young are fully independent around 6 to 8 weeks old. Most pups become sexually mature between 4 and 6 weeks after parturition.

Breeding season: Canyon mice breed year-round, but activity peaks from March through May

Range number of offspring: 1 to 5.

Average number of offspring: 3.4.

Range gestation period: 21 to 27 days.

Average gestation period: 23.47 days.

Range birth mass: 1.8 to 2.6 g.

Range weaning age: 21 to 30 days.

Range time to independence: 6 to 8 weeks.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 4 to 6 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 4 to 6 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous

Peromyscus crinitus females nurse pups until weaning, which occurs between 21 and 30 days after parturition. After weaning, young continue to depend on their mother for an additional 4 to 6 months before becoming fully independent. While nesting, females continually maintain the nest. No information regarding paternal care has been reported for this species.

Parental Investment: precocial ; female parental care ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Peromyscus crinitus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 24
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Linzey, A.V., Timm, R., Álvarez-Castañeda, S.T. & Lacher, T.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it does not appear to be under threat and is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
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Peromyscus crinitus is classified as a species of least concern on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. It has a rapid reproductive rate and local population densities can be high. Although there are no known major threats to this species, population densities can be significantly impacted by the presence of other species of Peromyscus or other omnivorous rodents. For example, when Neotoma lepida was removed during a competitive interactions study, P. crinitus populations increased 130% over their original numbers and 87% when Peromyscus eremicus was removed.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
This species is locally common in suitable habitat.

Densities up to 42.9 individuals/ha have been recorded, with higher numbers occurring on isolated buttes.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
None known.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no known conservation measures specific to this species. However, there are several protected areas within its range.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Peromyscus crinitus on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Peromyscus crinitus has been used to investigate chromosomal function, and its lungs cells are used in biomedical research investigating the effects of antitumor antibiotics on mitosis.

Positive Impacts: research and education

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Wikipedia

Canyon mouse

The canyon mouse (Peromyscus crinitus), is a gray-brown mouse found in many states of the western United States and northern Mexico. Its preferred habitat is arid, rocky desert. It is the only species in the Peromyscus crinitus species group.

Canyon mice eat seeds, green vegetation, and insects. They breed in the spring and summer. Females can produce multiple litters of between two and five young every year. Canyon mice are nocturnal and are active through the year. They usually nest among or below rocks in underground burrows.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Linzey, A.V., Timm, R., Álvarez-Castañeda, S.T. & Lacher, T. (2008). Peromyscus crinitus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 27 August 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.
  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1980.
  • 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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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: This is believed to be a composite of at least two species; the status of the long-tailed forms (e.g., disparilis and delgadilli) in particular merits reassessment (Carleton 1989; Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

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