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Overview

Brief Summary

Description

Northern Pygmy Mice are the smallest rodents in North America. They live in a variety of habitats where there is dense ground cover, and eat grass seeds and leaves, prickly pear cactus fruit and stems, mesquite beans, and granjeno berries (granjeno is an evergreen shrub). They will also eat snakes, snails, and insects if presented with them. They cope with desert heat by entering torpor. Males help care for the young, grooming them and returning them to the nest. Nests have been found under fallen logs or in thick clumps of grass. Young Mice reach sexual maturity quickly, females at about 60 days and males at about 70-80 days. The median life span is only 23 weeks, although captives, in laboratories, have been known to live as long as 170 weeks. Snakes and owls prey on them.

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Mammal Species of the World
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  • Original description: Thomas, O., 1887.  Diagnosis of a new species of Hesperomys from North America.  Annals and Magazine of Natural History, ser. 5, 19:66.
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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: Central Mexico (Michoacan, central Hidalgo, and central Veracruz) north to southern Sonora, southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, and central and eastern Texas and southern Oklahoma (Eshelman and Cameron 1987, Caire 1991). Range expanding; see Choate et al. (1990) for discussion of northward and westward dispersal through Texas.

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Range Description

The range of this species extends northward from Michoacán, central Hidalgo, and central Veracruz, México in central Mexico in three prongs, with the central and eastern prongs reaching the southwestern United States. The western prong extents to southern Sonora (Mexico), the middle projection extends to southeastern Arizona and southwest New Mexico (USA) and the eastern projection extends to northern and eastern Texas southwest Oklahoma (USA) (Musser and Carleton 2005). It is known from lowlands to 2,438 m (Wilson and Ruff 1999).
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 12 cm

Weight: 10 grams

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Size in North America

Sexual Dimorphism: None

Length:
Range: 87-123 mm

Weight:
Range: 6-9.5 g
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Coastal prairie, midgrass prairie, mixed-desert shrub, prickly pear-shortgrass, sandy sage-juniper-mesquite grass- land, postoak savanna, pine-oak, oak-hickory, swales, along roadsides; areas with dense ground cover (Eshelman and Cameron 1987). Makes own runways or uses those of cotton rats or other mammals. Nests usually under fallen log, prostrate cactus pads, or in thick clumps of grass (A87ESH01NA).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This mouse occurs in a variety of habitats including coastal prairie, midgrass prairie, mixed-grass prairie, mixed-desert shrub, prickly pear-short grass communities, post oak savanna, pine-oak forest, and oak-hickory associations. Dense ground cover is a common denominator of occupied habitats. This species does well in disturbed habitats.

It eats the stems and fruit of prickly pear cactus, grass seeds, grass leaves, mesquite beans, and granjero berries. It breeds year-round with peaks in late fall and early spring. Gestation lasts 20 to 23 days, the litter size averages 2.5 (range 1 to 5). The mouse’s median life span is 23 weeks, with a maximum record life span of 170 weeks for laboratory-reared animals (Wilson and Ruff, 1999).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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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: Feeds chiefly on vegetation, particularly seeds. Eats cactus stems and fruit when available. Occasionally eats invertebrates and small vertebrates.

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General Ecology

Home range estimates range from 45 to 729 sq m; home ranges often overlap. In some regions, populations may decline when SIGMODON HISPIDUS is abundant. Population density has been estimated at 2-84/ha in different habitats (Eshelman and Cameron 1987).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: Apparently mainly crepuscular; often the first species to be caught in traps in the evening. Active year-round.

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 3.3 years (captivity) Observations: In the wild, these animals live about 5 months with the longest marked individual living 1.1 years. In captivity they may live up to 3.3 years (Eshelman and Cameron 1987).
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Reproduction

Breeds year-round in southern Texas; peaks in late and early spring (late winter to fall in northern Texas, Choate et al. 1990). Gestation lasts 20 days (or more if female is lactating). Young are weaned in 17-24 days. Prodcues several litters of 1-5 young per year. Sexually mature in 1-3 months (Eshelman and Cameron 1987).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Baiomys taylori

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

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently 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
Timm, R., Álvarez-Castañeda, S., Castro-Arellano, I. & 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 because of its wide distribution, presumed large population, tolerance to some degree of habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
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Population

Population
This rodent is not in general common, but it can be locally common and it is expanding its range. It is sometimes considered a pest in agriculture. Population density ranges from 2 to 84 per hectare, and is lowest during summer and highest during autumn and winter (Wilson and Ruff 1999). Densities are highest in areas of dense ground cover.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Comments: Avoids areas with high densities of imported fire ants (Killion et al. 1995).

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Major Threats
There are no known major threats.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no known conservation measures for this species. However, there are several protected areas within its range.
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Wikipedia

Northern pygmy mouse

The northern pygmy mouse (Baiomys taylori) is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae. It is known as ratón-pigmeo norteño in the Spanish-speaking areas of its range. It is found in Mexico and the United States.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Timm, R., Álvarez-Castañeda, S., Castro-Arellano, I. & Lacher, T. (2008). Baiomys taylori. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 18 Jule 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
  • 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: See Calhoun et al. (1989) for information on biochemical variation in Baiomys.

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