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Temporal range: Late Miocene – Recent
Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) (9310532204).jpg
Peromyscus maniculatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Neotominae
Tribe: Reithrodontomyini
Genus: Peromyscus
Gloger, 1841
Type species
Peromyscus arboreus[1]

See text

Peromyscus is a genus of rodents. They are commonly referred to as deer mice or deermice, not to be confused with the chevrotain or "mouse deer". They are New World mice only distantly related to the common house and laboratory mouse, Mus musculus. From this relative, Peromyscus species are distinguished by 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".[2] 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.[3]

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.[4][5]

Reservoir of human disease[edit]


The deer mouse came to the attention of the public when it was discovered to be the primary reservoir species for Sin Nombre hantavirus.[4][6][7]

Lyme disease[edit]

A recent study in British Columbia of 218 deer mice showed 30% (66) were seropositive for Borrelia burgdorferi,[8] the agent of Lyme disease.

Other diseases[edit]

Ehrlichiosis and babesiosis are also carried by the deer mouse.[2]

Use as a laboratory animal[edit]

While wild populations are sometimes studied,[9] Peromyscus species are also easy to breed and keep in captivity, although they are more energetic and difficult to handle than the relatively more tame M. musculus. For certain studies, they are also favored over the laboratory mouse (M. musculus domestica) and the laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus domestica). Apart from their importance in studying infectious diseases, Peromyscus species are useful for studying phylogeography, speciation, chromosomes, genetics, ecology, population genetics, conservation[10] and evolution in general. They are also useful for researching repetitive-movement disorders.[11][12][13][14] Their use in aging research is because Peromyscus spp., despite being of similar size to the standard laboratory mouse, have maximum lifespans of 5–7 years, compared to the 3-year maximum lifespan of ad libitum-fed laboratory strains or wild-caught M. musculus.[2]

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 is exhibited in these genetic lines.



  1. ^ Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c Crossland, J. and Lewandowski, A. (2006). Peromyscus – A fascinating laboratory animal model Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine. Techtalk 11:1–2.
  3. ^ Deer mouse etymology from Merriam-Webster. Accessed June 11, 2010. (2012-08-31). Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
  4. ^ a b CDC – Hantavirus. (2012-11-01). Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
  5. ^ What if ... Archived 2012-09-29 at the Wayback Machine. University of South Carolina
  6. ^ "It's Official—The Deer Mouse Is Deadly". Newsmagazine. 21 (31): 43. 18 July 1994.
  7. ^ Netski, D; Thran, BH; St. Jeor, SC (1999). "Sin Nombre virus pathogenesis in Peromyscus maniculatus". Journal of Virology. 73 (1): 585–91. doi:10.1128/JVI.73.1.585-591.1999. PMC 103864. PMID 9847363.
  8. ^ Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR) – Vol.34 CCDR-01 – Public Health Agency of Canada. (2008-01-30). Retrieved on 2014-01-05.
  9. ^ Tietje, William D.; Lee, Derek E.; Vreeland, Justin K. (2008). "Survival and Abundance Of Three Species Of Mice In Relation to Density Of Shrubs and Prescribed Fire In Understory Of An Oak Woodland In California". The Southwestern Naturalist. 53 (3): 357–369. doi:10.1894/PS-35.1. S2CID 54586518.
  10. ^ Cobo‐Simón, Irene; Méndez‐Cea, Belén; Portillo, Héctor; Elvir, Fausto; Vega, Hermes; Gallego, Francisco Javier; Fontecha, Gustavo (2019). "Testing the effectiveness of conservation management within biosphere reserves: the case of the Mexican deer mouse (Peromyscus mexicanus) as a bioindicator". Integrative Zoology. 14 (5): 422–434. doi:10.1111/1749-4877.12371. PMID 30585414. S2CID 58592507.
  11. ^ Joyner CP, Myrick LC, Crossland JP, Dawson WD (1998). "Deer Mice As Laboratory Animals". ILAR Journal. 39 (4): 322–330. doi:10.1093/ilar.39.4.322. PMID 11406688.
  12. ^ Dewey, M.J. & Dawson, W.D. (2001). "Deer mice: "The Drosophila of North American mammalogy"". Genesis. 29 (3): 105–9. doi:10.1002/gene.1011. PMID 11252049. S2CID 40389176.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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. Bibcode:2009Sci...325.1095L. doi:10.1126/science.1175826. PMC 2736094. PMID 19713521.
  15. ^ Greenbaum, I. F. et al. (October 2019). "Taxonomy and phylogenetics of the Peromyscus maniculatus species group". Special Publications, Texas Tech University. 71: 559–575.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  16. ^ a b c Bradley, R. D. et al. (October 2019). "Mitochondrial DNA sequence data indicates evidence for multiple species within Peromyscus maniculatus". Special Publications, Texas Tech University. 70: 1–59.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  17. ^ Bradley, R. D. et al. (2014). "Morphometric, karyotypic, and molecular evidence for a new species of Peromyscus (Cricetididae: Neotominae) from Nayarit, Mexico". Journal of Mammalogy. 95: 176–186. doi:10.1644/13-MAMM-A-217.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  18. ^ Bradley, R. D. et al. (2017). "A new species in the Peromyscus boylii species group (Cricetidae: Neotominae) from Michoacan, Mexico". Journal of Mammalogy. 98: 154–165. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyw160. S2CID 88766413.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  19. ^ Bradley, R. D. et al. (2019). "Molecular and morphological data reveals multiple species in Peromyscus pectoralis". Journal of Mammalogy. 96 (2): 446–459. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyv049. PMC 4668931. PMID 26937045.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  20. ^ Avila-Valle, Z. A. et al. (2012). "Geographic variation and molecular evidence blackish deer mouse complex (Peromyscus furvus, Rodentia: Muridae)". Mammalian Biology. 77: 166–177. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2011.09.008.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  21. ^ a b Alvarez, S. T. et al. (October 2019). "Two new species of Peromyscus from Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala". Special Publications, Texas Tech University. 71: 543–558.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  22. ^ Lorenzo, C. et al. (January 2016). "Revision of the Chiapan deer mouse, Peromyscus zarhynchus, with the description of a new species". Journal of Mammalogy. 97 (3): 910–918. doi:10.1093/jmammal/gyw018.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  23. ^ a b c d Perez-Consuegra, S. G.; Vazquez-Dominguez, E. (2015). "Mitochondrial diversification of the Peromyscus mexicanus species group in Nuclear Central America: biogeographic and taxonomic implications". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 26 (4): 300–311. doi:10.1111/jzs.12099.

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