Cursor grass mouse

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Cursor Grass Mouse
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Sigmodontinae
Genus: Akodon
Species: A. cursor
Binomial name
Akodon cursor
Winge, 1888

The cursor grass mouse or cursorial akodont (Akodon cursor), is a sigmodontine rodent from South America.[2]


The cursor grass mouse is a moderately sized rodent, with a head-body length of 11 to 13 centimetres (4.3 to 5.1 in), and a tail 8 to 11 centimetres (3.1 to 4.3 in) long. Males are larger than females, weighing an average of 54 grams (1.9 oz), compared with 43 g (1.5 oz) for females. They have a typical mouse-like appearance, with short whiskers and stubby claws on the feet. They have dark to golden brown fur over most of their body, with paler greyish or yellowish underparts. Some have a whitish spot between the ears, but this is not present on all individuals.[3]

Cursor grass mice are members of the A. cursor species group, and very similar in appearance to other members of the group. In particular, they cannot easily be distinguished from the closely related montane grass mouse, which inhabits neighbouring regions to the immediate south. Although the cursor grass mouse is, on average, slightly larger than the montane species, there is too much overlap for this to be a reliable guide. Instead, they can most readily be distinguished by the presence of a gall bladder in A. cursor (absent in the montane species), by karyotypic analysis, or by means of PCR based techniques.[3][4][5][6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The exact geographic range of the cursor grass mouse is disputed. It is definitively known to inhabit eastern Brazil from Paraiba to Paraná, where it lives in patches of tropical Atlantic Forest and restinga scrubland at elevations from sea level to 1,170 metres (3,840 ft). Some sources[1] also report it as being found further south, in extreme southern Brazil, in eastern Paraguay, and in northern Argentina.[7] These latter sources lack a definitive genetic analysis of the individuals identified, and it has been argued that they may represent members of other species, such as the montane grass mouse.[3] No subspecies are recognised.

Biology and behaviour[edit]

Cursor grass mice are omnivorous. Their primary diet consists of small arthropods, especially Hymenoptera, beetles, and spiders; this is supplemented by seeds of Cecropia and other plants.[8] They search for food through leaf litter and patches of dense vegetation, and are strictly terrestrial.[9][10] Individuals have a home range of 0.1 to 0.7 hectares (0.25 to 1.73 acres), with the ranges of males being larger than those of females.[11] Although the size of their home ranges does not change, the population density of cursor grass mice becomes significantly higher during the rainy season, when insects are most abundant.[12]

Cursor grass mice breed throughout the year, although most births occur during the dry season between June and September. Pregnant females construct globular nests, and give birth to a litter of two to nine young, with an average of four, after a gestation period of 23 days.[3][13]

This species is particularly important for public health since it has been implied as a Hantavirus reservoir.[14]

A cell line derived from a liposarcoma in a cursor grass mouse has been used by biomedical scientists in the construction of a panel for the identification of human chromosomes in hybrid cells.[15]


  1. ^ a b Christoff, A.; Geise, L.; Fagundes, V.; Pardinas, U. & D'Elia, G. (2008). "Akodon cursor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  2. ^ Musser, G.G.; Carleton, M.D. (2005). "Superfamily Muroidea". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 1094. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ a b c d Geise, L. (2012). "Akodon cursor (Rodentia: Cricetidae)". Mammalian Species. 44 (1): 33–43. doi:10.1644/893.1.
  4. ^ Geise, L.; et al. (2004). "Presence or absence of gall bladder in some Akodontini rodents (Muridae, Sigmodontinae)". Mammalian Biology. 69 (3): 210–214. doi:10.1078/1616-5047-00136.
  5. ^ Yazbeck, G.M.; et al. (2011). "Detection of two morphologically cryptic species from the cursor complex (Akodon spp; Rodentia, Cricetidae) through the use of RAPD markers". Genetics and Molecular Research. 10 (4): 2881–2892. doi:10.4238/2011.November.22.2.
  6. ^ Fagundes, V.; Nogueira, C.D.A (2007). "The use of PCR-RFLP as an identification tool for three closely related species of rodents of the genus Akodon (Sigmodontinae, Akodontini)". Genetics and Molecular Biology. 30 (3): 698–701. doi:10.1590/S1415-47572007000400031.
  7. ^ Pardiñas, U.F.J.; et al. (2003). "The genus Akodon (Muroidea: Sigmodontinae) in Misiones, Argentina". Mammalian Biology. 68 (3): 129–143. doi:10.1078/1616-5047-00075.
  8. ^ Carvalho, F.M.V.; et al. (1999). "Diet of small mammals in the Atlantic Forest fragments in southeastern Brazil". Revista Brasileira de Zoociências. 1 (1): 91–101.
  9. ^ Gentile R.; Fernandez, F.A.S. (1999). "Influence of habitat structure on a streamside small mammal community in a Brazilian rural area". Mammalia. 63 (1): 29–40. doi:10.1515/mamm.1999.63.1.29.
  10. ^ Pardini, R. (2004). "Effects of forest fragmentation on small mammals in an Atlantic Forest landscape". Biodiversity and Conservation. 13 (13): 2567–2586. doi:10.1023/B:BIOC.0000048452.18878.2d.
  11. ^ Gentile, R.; et al. (1997). "Home range of Philander frenata and Akodon cursor in a Brazilian Restinga (coastal shrubland)" (PDF). Mastozoologia Neotropical. 4 (2): 105–112.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Feliciano, B.R.; et al. (2002). "Population dynamics of small rodents in a grassland among fragments of Atlantic Forest in southern Brazil". Mammalian Biology. 67 (5): 304–314. doi:10.1078/1616-5047-00045.
  13. ^ Aulchenko, Y.S. (2002). "Inheritance of litter size at birth in the Brazilian grass mouse (Akodon cursor, Sigmodontinae, Rodentia)". Genetics Research. 80 (1): 55–62. doi:10.1017/S0016672302005839.
  14. ^ Lemos; et al. (2004). "Evidence of hantavirus infection in wild rodents captured in a rural area of the state of São Paulo, Brazil". Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira. 24 (2): 71–73. doi:10.1590/S0100-736X2004000200004.
  15. ^ Bonvicino, C.R.; et al. (2001). "Induction and characterization of hypoxanthine-phosphoribosyltransferase (Hprt−) deficient cell lines of Akodon cursor (Rodentia, Sigmodontinae)". Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics. 92 (1–2): 153–156. doi:10.1159/000056888.