Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The Cyprus mouse Mus cypriacus is endemic to the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean (Bonhomme et al. 2004, Cucchi et al. 2006). It may be quite widespread in upland areas, and is typically found at altitudes of 300-900 m, although there are some records from 100-150 m (Cucchi et al. 2006). Among the 15 trapping localities sampled in different biotopes on the southern part of the island, M. cypriacus was captured in eight of them (Cucchi et al. 2006). Further research is required in order to establish the range of this new species.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species has mainly been found in abandoned cultivation terraces at moderate altitudes (300-900 m), where the vegetation consists of a mosaic of open grassy areas, shrubs and small trees, and cultivated vines (Vitis vinifera).

It can also be found in forested riverine areas at 100-150 m, where it is syntopic with the house mouse (M. m. domesticus). It is apparently absent from lowland (less than 100 m) areas with strong anthropogenic pressure, such as intensive arable farmland, human dwellings and farms, and orchards (orange groves), where the house mouse is almost exclusively dominant (Cucchi 2005).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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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
Amori, G. & Hadjisterkotis, E.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Little is known about the status and distribution of this recently-discovered species. However, it may be quite common in appropriate habitats, and no major threats are known. Consequently it is assessed as Least Concern. Its extent of occurrence is small (<10,000 km²), so if any evidence emerges to suggest that declines or extreme fluctuations are occurring, the species should be reassessed.

History
  • 2007
    Least Concern
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Population

Population
Population status and trends are not known.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
It is not yet known if there are any major threats to this recently-discovered species. It is generally found in abandoned vineyards and terraced fields at moderate altitudes. This type of habitat has increased in Cyprus in the recent past, and is probably now more or less stable, although declines may potentially occur in the future as a result of changes in agricultural policy since Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, and as a result of housing and tourism development (Panayides 2004, M. Hellicar pers. comm. 2006). The use of rodenticides as pest control may cause mortality in populations that live close to human habitation.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
No conservation measures are known. Surveys are required to determine the status and range of the species, and research is required to confirm or refute the existence of any major threats. The Cyprus mouse is of conservation interest as it is one of just three surviving palaeoendemic mammal species found on Mediterranean islands (the other two being the shrew species Crocidura sicula and C. zimmermanni) (Gippoliti and Amori 2006). Most ancient endemic mammals of Mediterranean islands died out after the arrival of man (Gippoliti and Amori 2006). Mediterranean islands are also home to a number of taxa currently recognised as endemic species and subspecies that are the descendants of mainland taxa introduced by man (Gippoliti and Amori 2006).
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Wikipedia

Cypriot mouse

The Cypriot mouse (Mus cypriacus) is a species of mouse native to Cyprus. Its primary habitat seems to be the vineyards and fields of the Troödos Mountains region.[1]

The mouse was recognized as a new species in 2004 by Thomas Cucchi, a research fellow at the University of Durham. It was formally described in 2006,[2] in Zootaxa.[1]

The Cypriot mouse has characteristics that distinguish it from European mice: bigger ears, eyes and teeth;[3] DNA tests confirmed that it was a distinct species.

"All other endemic mammals of Mediterranean islands died out following the arrival of man, with the exception of two species of shrew. The new mouse of Cyprus is the only endemic rodent still alive, and as such can be considered as a living fossil," said Dr. Cucchi.[4] Originally, Dr. Cucchi wanted to call it Mus aphrodite, as Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite according to Greek mythology.

References[edit]

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