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Temporal range: Early Pliocene to Recent
Zapus hudsonius.jpg
Zapus hudsonius preblei
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Zapodidae
Genus: Zapus
Coues, 1875
Type species
Dipus hudsonius

Zapus hudsonius
Zapus luteus
Zapus montanus
Zapus oregonus
Zapus pacificus
Zapus princeps
Zapus saltator
Zapus trinotatus

Zapus is a genus of North American jumping mouse. It is the only genus whose members have the dental formula Zapus are the only extant mammals aside from the Aye-aye with a total of 18 teeth.[1]

This genus was first separated from Old World jerboas by Coues in 1875. Members of this genus are very similar in appearance, all species having long tails, long hind feet and yellowish-brown pelage above and white below, the colors distinctly separated by a yellowish-orange lateral line.


The genus contains eight extant species. At least some of these subspecies designations are thought to be tenuous:[2][3]

The Okanogan Valley jumping mouse (Zapus okanoganensis), which is restricted to the Okanogan Valley and the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range, was described in 2017.[3] Although it is definitely thought to be a distinct species, it has not yet been properly published and is thus considered a nomen nudum, and is tentatively classified in Z. saltator until that happens.[2] A number of fossil species are also known, with the oldest being Zapus rinkeri from the Blancan of Kansas.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

The Linux distribution Ubuntu named its version 17.04 after the small creature, giving it the codename Zesty Zapus.[5]


  1. ^ Schwartz, C. W., E. R. Schwartz. 2001. The wild mammals of Missouri. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, USA. pp. 262–267
  2. ^ a b Database, Mammal Diversity (2021-08-10), Mammal Diversity Database, Zenodo, retrieved 21 May 2022
  3. ^ a b Malaney, Jason L.; Demboski, John R.; Cook, Joseph A. (2017-09-01). "Integrative species delimitation of the widespread North American jumping mice (Zapodinae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 114: 137–152. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2017.06.001. ISSN 1055-7903.
  4. ^ Hart, E.B.; et al. (2004). "Zapus princeps". Mammalian Species: Number 749: pp. 1–7. doi:10.1644/749.
  5. ^ Shuttleworth, Mark. "The mouse that jumped". Mark Shuttleworth. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  • Allen, J. A. 1900. The North-American Jumping Mice. The American Naturalist, 34:399, pp. 199–202.