Striped grass mouse

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To be distinguished from Rhabdomys.
Striped grass mice
Temporal range: Late Pliocene to Recent
Lemniscomys barbarus01.JPG
Lemniscomys barbarus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Lemniscomys
Trouessart, 1881
Species

11, see text

Lemniscomys, sometimes known as striped grass mice or zebra mice, is a genus of murine rodents from Africa. Most species are from Sub-Saharan Africa; L. barbarus is the only found north of the Sahara.[1] They are generally found in grassy habitats, but where several species overlap in distribution there is a level of habitat differentiation between them.[1]

They are 18.5–29 cm (7.3–11.4 in) long, of which about half is tail, and weigh 18–70 g (0.63–2.47 oz).[1] The pelage pattern of the species fall into three main groups: The "true" zebra mice with distinct dark and pale stripes (L. barbarus, L. hoogstraali and L. zebra), the spotted grass mice with more spotty/interrupted stripes (L. bellieri, L. macculus, L. mittendorfi and L. striatus), and the single-striped grass mice with only a single dark stripe along the back (L. griselda, L. linulus, L. rosalia and L. roseveari).[2][3]

They are generally considered diurnal, but at least some species can be active during the night.[3] They feed on plants, but sometimes take insects.[1] There are up to 12 young per litter, but 4–5 is more common.[3] The average life expectancy is very short, in the wild often only a year, but a captive L. striatus lived for almost 5 years.[3] A more typical captive life expectancy is 2–2½ years.[4]

While most are common and not threatened, L. mittendorfi is restricted to Mount Oku and considered Vulnerable by the IUCN.[5] L. hoogstraali and L. roseveari are both very poorly known, leading to their rating as Data Deficient.[6][7] Some of the widespread species are regularly kept in captivity, especially L. barbarus, L. striatus and L. zebra.[4]

Species[edit]

Lemniscomys currently includes 11 species.[8] Until 1997, L. zebra was generally treated as a subspecies of L. barbarus.[2] It is possible L. striatus and L. zebra, as presently defined, actually are species complexes.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kingdon, J. (1997). The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. pp. 212-213. ISBN 0-12-408355-2
  2. ^ a b Carleton, M D., and Van der Straeten, E. (1997). Morphological differentiation among Subsaharan and north African populations of the Lemniscomys barbarus complex (Rodentia : Muridae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 110(4): 640-680.
  3. ^ a b c d Novak, R. M., editor (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol. 2. 6th edition. pp. 1596-1597. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9
  4. ^ a b Tofts, Russel. Striped Mouse. Striped Mouse Archived September 6, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ van der Straeten, E. (2008). "Lemniscomys mittendorfi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  6. ^ van der Straeten, E. (2008). "Lemniscomys hoogstraali". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  7. ^ van der Straeten, E. (2008). "Lemniscomys roseveari". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  9. ^ van der Straeten, E. (2008). "Lemniscomys striatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  10. ^ van der Straeten, E. (2008). "Lemniscomys zebra". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 

External links[edit]