Temporal range: Late Miocene – Recent
The genus Peromyscus contains the animal species commonly referred to as deer mice. This genus of New World mice is only distantly related to the common house mouse and laboratory mouse, Mus musculus. Although superficially resembling Mus musculus, Peromyscus species have relatively larger eyes, and also often two-tone coloring, with darker colors over the dorsum (back), and white abdominal and limb hair-coloring. In reference to the coloring, the word Peromyscus comes from Greek words meaning "booted mouse".
They are also accomplished jumpers and runners by comparison to house mice, and their common name of "deer mouse" (coined in 1833) is in reference to this agility.
The most common species of deer mice in the continental United States are two closely related species, P. maniculatus, and P. leucopus. In the United States, Peromyscus is the most populous mammalian genus overall, and has become notorious in the western United States as a carrier of hantaviruses.
Vector of human disease
Use as a laboratory animal
While wild populations are sometimes studied, Peromyscus is also easy to breed and keep in captivity, although they are more energetic and difficult to handle than the relatively more tame Mus musculus. For certain studies, Peromyscus is also favoured over the common laboratory mouse (Mus domesticus) and the laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus). Apart from their importance in studying infectious diseases, Peromyscus species are useful for studying phylogeography, speciation, chromosomes, genetics, ecology, population genetics, and evolution in general. They are also useful for researching repetitive movement disorders. Their use in aging research is because Peromyscus spp., despite being of similar size to the standard laboratory mouse, have maximum lifespans of five to seven years, compared to the two- to three-year maximum lifespan of ad libitum-fed laboratory strains or wild-caught M. musculus.
The Peromyscus Genetic Stock Center at the University of South Carolina was established by Professor Wallace Dawson in 1985 to raise animals of the peromyscine species for research and educational use. This institute maintains populations of several different species (including Peromyscus californicus, Peromyscus maniculatus, Peromyscus melanophrys, Peromyscus eremicus, and Peromyscus aztecus). A variety of mutations affecting their behavior, biochemistry, and the color of their coats are exhibited in these genetic lines.
- californicus group
- California mouse – P. californicus
- eremicus group
- Cactus mouse – P. eremicus
- Angel Island mouse – P. guardia – possibly extinct
- P. g. guardia – last seen 1991
- P. g. mejiae – extinct (1973)
- P. g. harbisoni – extinct (1963)
- P. guardia subsp. indet. from Estanque Island – extinct (1998)
- San Lorenzo mouse – P. interparietalis
- Dickey's deer mouse – P. dickeyi
- False canyon mouse – P. pseudocrinitus
- Eva's desert mouse – P. eva
- Burt's deer mouse – P. caniceps
- Mesquite mouse – P. merriami
- Pemberton's deer mouse – P. pembertoni – extinct (1931)
- hooperi group
- Hooper's mouse – P. hooperi
- crinitus group
- Canyon mouse – P. crinitus
- maniculatus group
- P. maniculatus
- P. polionotus
- Santa Cruz mouse – P. sejugis
- Northwestern deer mouse – P. keeni
- P. sitkensis
- Black-eared mouse – P. melanotis
- P. slevini
- P. nesodytes
- leucopus group
- aztecus group
- boylii group
- truei group
- melanophrys group
- furvus group
- megalops group
- mexicanus group
- californicus group
- Crossland, J. and Lewandowski, A. (2006) Peromyscus – A fascinating laboratory animal model. Techtalk, 11:1–2.
- Deer mouse etymology from Merriam-Webster. Accessed June 11, 2010. Mw4.m-w.com (2012-08-31). Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
- CDC – Hantavirus. Cdc.gov (2012-11-01). Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
- What if .... University of South Carolina
- "It's Official—The Deer Mouse Is Deadly". Newsmagazine 21 (31): 43. 18 July 1994.
- Netski, D; Thran, BH; St. Jeor, SC (1999). "Sin Nombre virus pathogenesis in Peromyscus maniculatus". Journal of virology 73 (1): 585–91. PMC 103864. PMID 9847363.
- Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR) – Vol.34 CCDR-01 – Public Health Agency of Canada. Phac-aspc.gc.ca (2008-01-30). Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
- Joyner CP, Myrick LC, Crossland JP, Dawson WD (1998). "Deer Mice As Laboratory Animals". ILAR journal / National Research Council, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources 39 (4): 322–330. PMID 11406688.
- Dewey, M.J. and Dawson, W.D. (2001). "Deer mice: “The Drosophila of North American mammalogy“". Genesis 29 (3): 105–9. doi:10.1002/gene.1011. PMID 11252049.
- Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (U.S.). Committee on Animal Models for Research on Aging; National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Animal Models for Research on Aging (1981). Mammalian Models for Research on Aging. National Academies. ISBN 978-0-309-03094-6.
- Linnen, CR; Kingsley, EP; Jensen, JD; Hoekstra, HE (2009). "On the origin and spread of an adaptive allele in deer mice". Science 325 (5944): 1095–8. doi:10.1126/science.1175826. PMC 2736094. PMID 19713521.
- The song of the deer mouse
- Peromyscus Genetic Stock Center (University of South Carolina)
- Hantavirus Fact Sheet
- Peromyscus photos