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Overview

Brief Summary

Mice and rats suffer from a bad reputation. That is due particularely to the fact that they like to live where people live. They eat everything, reproduce often and have big nests. However, mice and rats are the most important source of food for owls, raptors and land predators. On the Wadden Islands, you find wood mice, harvest mice and brown rats, and occasionally house mice. Wood mice take over the role of house mice when there are no house mice.
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Rats, Mice, Hamsters, Voles, Lemmings, and Gerbils

This family of 301 Recent genera and 1,336 species is by far the largest mammalian family. With the exception of certain arctic islands, parts of the West Indies, New Zealand, many oceanic islands, and Antarctica, its natural range extends worldwide. Introduction through human agency has led to the establishment of several species of murids on many of the islands where the family originally was absent.

There long has been controversy regarding which groups are included in this family and how these groups are interrelated. The Muridae here are considered to comprise the 16 subfamilies listed below. However, many authorities have followed Simpson (1945) in giving familial status to the Sigmodontinae (with the name Cricetidae), the Spalacinae, the Platacanthomyinae, the Rhizomyinae, and the Murinae. Based in part on paleontological evidence, Chaline, Mein, and Petter (1977) went even further and recognized the following as separate families: the Sigmodontinae (with the name Cricetidae and including the Cricetinae, the Spalacinae, the Myospalacinae, the Lophiomyinae, and the Platacanthomyinae as subfamilies), the Nesomyinae (including the Otomyinae as a subfamily), the Rhizomyinae, the Gerbillinae, the Arvicolinae, the Dendromuridae (including the Petromyscinae as a subfamily), the Cricetomyinae, and the Murinae (including the Hydromyinae as a subfamily).

The actual sequence used by Chaline, Mein, and Petter (1977) generally has been followed here. However, all of the families have been made parts of a single family, which in accordance with nomenclatural priority is called the Muridae. Although Simpson (1945) separated the Muridae and the Cricetidae, many authorities have considered the differences between the two insufficient to warrant familial distinction. The latter position was taken by Hershkovitz (1962) and E. R. Hall (1981) and is followed here. Once the Cricetidae are made part of the Muridae, it becomes reasonable to do the same with the other families listed by Chaline, Mein, and Petter (1977). This procedure was followed by Carleton and Musser (1984), Corbet and Hill (1991), and Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 1993), though with some modification of sequence. Also, Carleton and Musser (1984) and Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 1993) considered the subfamily Hydromyinae to be part of the Murinae, whereas Lidicker and Brylski (1987) included the Australian genera Mesembriomys, Conilurus, Leporillus, Zyzomys, Pseudomys, Notomys, Leggadina, and Mastacomys in the Hydromyinae. Corbet and Hill (1991) placed the subfamily Petromyscinae within the Dendromurinae. There remains considerable support for keeping the Rhizomyidae as a separate family (Lekagul and McNeely 1977; Medway 1978).

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Ecology

Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / parasite / ectoparasite / blood sucker
adult of Cimex lectularius sucks the blood of Muridae

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Known predators

Muridae is prey of:
Lynx rufus

Based on studies in:
USA: Florida, South Florida (Swamp)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. D. Harris and G. B. Bowman, Vertebrate predator subsystem. In: Grasslands, Systems Analysis and Man, A. I. Breymeyer and G. M. Van Dyne, Eds. (International Biological Programme Series, no. 19, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, England, 1980), pp. 591-
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Known prey organisms

Muridae preys on:
Tracheobionta
Larus californicus

Based on studies in:
USA: Florida, South Florida (Swamp)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. D. Harris and G. B. Bowman, Vertebrate predator subsystem. In: Grasslands, Systems Analysis and Man, A. I. Breymeyer and G. M. Van Dyne, Eds. (International Biological Programme Series, no. 19, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, England, 1980), pp. 591-
  • Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 16, 2011 at http://animaldiversity.org. http://www.animaldiversity.org
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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Pigments provide strength: mice
 

The viscoelastic heart valves of mice gain stiffness from melanin pigments.

   
  "Pigmentation of murine cardiac tricuspid valve leaflet is associated  with melanocyte concentration, which affects its stiffnessThe mechanical properties along  the leaflet vary with the degree of pigmentation. Pigmented regions of  the valve leaflet that contain melanocytes displayed higher storage  modulus (7-10 GPa) than non-pigmented areas (2.5-4 GPa). These results  suggest that the presence of melanocytes affects the viscoelastic  properties of the mouse atrioventricular valves and are important for  their proper functioning in the organismThe cardiac valves display complex biomechanical properties that allow them to function in directed blood flow during the cardiac cycleThe mature atrioventricular (AV) valves (mitral and tricuspid) have leaflets composed of extracellular matrix (ECM), valvular interstitial cells and overlying endothelial cells. The mechanical requirements of the valve for elasticity, compressibility, stiffness and strength, as well as durability throughout the lifespan of an individual are achieved primarily by the highly organized and compartmentalized ECM composition of the leaflets" (Balani et al. 2009:1097)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Balani K; Brito FC; Kos L; Agarwal A. 2009. Melanocyte pigmentation stiffens murine cardiac tricuspid valve leaflet. J R Soc Interface. 6(40): 1097-1102.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 6343
Specimens with Sequences: 6486
Specimens with Barcodes: 4913
Species: 260
Species With Barcodes: 228
Public Records: 2612
Public Species: 158
Public BINs: 188
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Muridae

The Muridae, or murids, are the largest family of rodents and indeed of mammals, containing over 700 species found naturally throughout Eurasia, Africa, and Australia. A few species, including the house mouse, brown rat and black rat, have been introduced worldwide. The group includes true mice and rats, gerbils, and relatives.

The name Muridae comes from the Latin mus (genitive muris), meaning "mouse".

Characteristics[edit]

The murids are small mammals, typically around 10 cm (3.9 in) long excluding the tail, but ranging from 4.5 to 8 cm (1.8 to 3.1 in) in the African pygmy mouse to 48 cm (19 in) in Cuming's slender-tailed cloud rat. They typically have slender bodies with scaled tails, and pointed snouts with prominent whiskers, but with wide variation in these broad traits. Many murids have elongated legs and feet to allow them to move with a hopping motion, while others have broad feet and prehensile tails to improve their climbing ability, and yet others have neither adaptation. They are most commonly some shade of brown in colour, although many have black, grey, or white markings.[1]

Murids generally have excellent senses of hearing and smell. They live in a wide range of habitats from forest to grassland, and mountain ranges. A number of species, especially the gerbils, are adapted to desert conditions, and can survive for a long time with minimal water. They are either herbivores or omnivores, eating a wide range of foods in different species, with the aid of powerful jaw muscles and gnawing incisors that grow throughout life. The dental formula of murids is 1.0.0.1-31.0.0.1-3.

Murids breed frequently, often producing large litters several times per year. They typically give birth between 20 and 40 days after mating, although this varies greatly between species. The young are typically born blind, hairless, and helpless, although there are exceptions, such as in spiny mice.[1]

Evolution[edit]

As with many other small mammals, the evolution of the murids is not well known, as few fossils survive. They probably evolved from hamster-like animals in tropical Asia some time in the early Miocene, and have only subsequently produced species capable of surviving in cooler climates. They have become especially common worldwide during the Holocene, as a result of hitching a ride commensally with human migrations.[2][3][4][5]

Classification[edit]

The murids are classified in five subfamilies, around 150 genera and approximately 710 species.[citation needed]

Subfamilies[edit]

In literature[edit]

A print showing cats and mice from a 1501 German edition of Aesop's fables.

Murids feature in literature, including folk tales and fairy stories. In the Pied Piper of Hamelin, retold in many versions since the fourteenth century including one by the Brothers Grimm, a rat-catcher lures the town's rats into the river, but the mayor refuses to pay him. In revenge, the rat-catcher lures away all the children of the town, never to return.[6] Mice feature in some of Beatrix Potter's small books, including The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse (1910), The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918), and The Tailor of Gloucester (1903), which last was described by J. R. R. Tolkien as perhaps the nearest to his idea of a fairy story, the rest being "beast-fables".[7] Among Aesop's Fables are The Cat and the Mice and The Frog and the Mouse.[8] In James Herbert's first novel, The Rats, (1974), a vagrant is attacked and eaten alive by a pack of giant rats; further attacks follow.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Berry, R. J.; Årgren, G. (1984), Macdonald, D., ed., The Encyclopedia of Mammals, New York: Facts on File, pp. 658–663 & 674–677, ISBN 0-87196-871-1 
  2. ^ Savage, R. J. G.; Long, M. R. (1986), Mammal Evolution: an Illustrated Guide, New York: Facts on File, p. 124, ISBN 0-8160-1194-X 
  3. ^ Jansa, Sharon. A.; Weksler, Marcelo (2004), "Phylogeny of muroid rodents: relationships within and among major lineages as determined by IRBP gene sequences", Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31 (1): 256–276, doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.002, PMID 15019624 
  4. ^ Michaux, Johan; Reyes, Aurelio; Catzeflis, François (1 November 2001), "Evolutionary history of the most speciose mammals: molecular phylogeny of muroid rodents", Molecular Biology and Evolution 18 (11): 2017–2031, doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a003743, ISSN 0737-4038, PMID 11606698 
  5. ^ Steppan, Scott; Adkins, Ronald; Anderson, Joel (2004), "Phylogeny and divergence-date estimates of rapid radiations in muroid rodents based on multiple nuclear genes", Systematic Biology 53 (4): 533–553, doi:10.1080/10635150490468701, PMID 15371245 
  6. ^ Mieder, Wolfgang (2007). The Pied Piper: A Handbook. Greenwood. pp. 71 and passim. ISBN 0-313-33464-1. 
  7. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (2001). "On Fairy-Stories". Tree and Leaf (HarperCollins). p. 16. ISBN 0-007-10504-5. 
  8. ^ Gibbs, Laura (2002–2008). "Aesopica". MythFolklore.net. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Holland, Steve (21 March 2013). "James Herbert obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
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