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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Observations: Most females do not breed before they are 2 years old and if they do, their litters will be smaller than average. Little is known about the longevity of these animals. In the wild, they can live up to 4 years (Ronald Nowak 1999). Anecdotal reports suggest they can live up to 6 years, but these have not been confirmed.
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Untitled

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The family name was changed in 1996 from Dipodidae to Zapodidae.

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Rachel Mockler, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Rachel Mockler, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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Conservation Status

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Western jumping mice are common within their range.

US Migratory Bird Act: no special status

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Rachel Mockler, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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Benefits

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Z. princeps is an important component of healthy grass-dominated habitats throughout their range.

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Rachel Mockler, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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Associations

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Western jumping mice are important prey species for many predators in the ecosystems in which they live. They are also important as consumers of seeds and arthropods.

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Rachel Mockler, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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Trophic Strategy

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Western jumping mice need high-energy foods to increase fat storage for their long hibernation periods. The main foods eaten by Western jumping mice are arthropods, seeds and leaves. Seeds are important in the fat deposition, however, arthropods may be a critical substitute when seeds are not available.

(Vaughan et. al. 1980)

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Distribution

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Western jumping mice are found throughout western Canada and much of the western United States.

(Knopf 2000)

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Habitat

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Western jumping mice are found primarily in moist fields, thickets, and woodlands, especially where grasses, sedges, or other green plant cover is dense. They are also found in grassy edges of streams, ponds, and lakes, usually within 50 meters of water.

(Knopf 2000)

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Life Expectancy

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Western jumping mice can live as long as 6 years if they survive their first season of hibernation. Half of all juveniles that enter their first winter hibernation will die. Because Western jumping mice hibernate they are only active for a short period each year.

(Meyers 1969)

Range lifespan
Status: wild:
6 (high) years.

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Rachel Mockler, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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Morphology

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Western jumping mice have yellow sides with a dark band down the middle of their back. Their belly is usually white, but can sometimes have a yellow tinge. The body length including the tail is 215-260 mm. They have a long tail (126-160 mm) that is darker on the top than the bottom. Males and females are similar in size and characteristics. Weight ranges from 18 to 24 grams, but can reach up to 35 grams before they enter hibernation. The hind feet are very large with each foot measuring 28-34 mm and they can hop up to 2 m. Each upper tooth row has 4 molariform teeth with the first reduced in size.

(Knopf 2000)

Range mass: 18 to 24 g.

Average mass: 0 g.

Range length: 215 to 260 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Rachel Mockler, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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Associations

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Western jumping mice exhibit low predation by mammalian carnivores during hibernation. One of the reasons for this is that their hibernation chambers are hidden far beneath the layers of snow. Also, jumping mice give off little odor during hibernation, making them difficult find.

(Brown 1970)

Known Predators:

  • owls (Strigiformes)
  • bobcats (Lynx rufus)
  • weasels (Mustela)
  • skunks (Mephitinae)
  • raccoons (Procyon lotor)
  • gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Reproduction

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Little is known about mating behavior in Z. princeps.

The timing of reproduction for Western jumping mice varies from year to year. Many females less than 2 years old do not breed. If they do breed it will usually occur later in the season and they produce smaller litter sizes than older females.

Western jumping mice mate soon after they emerge from hibernation, usually in June. Their gestation period is approximately 18 days and they give birth to 3 to 9 young. A newborn weighs about 1 gram. They can have 2 or 3 litters per year but will usually have only one litter. Young born too late in the year do not acquire sufficient fat reserves to survive hibernation.

The young are born in a well-developed spherical nest 15-20 cm in diameter with no obvious entrance. The nest is interwoven with broad-leaved grasses, sedges, and other plant fibers, and located in a depression in the ground usually less than 30 cm below the soil surface.

(Falk et. al. 1987, Brown 1967)

Breeding season: June through August.

Range number of offspring: 3 to 9.

Average gestation period: 18 days.

Average weaning age: 30 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous

Average birth mass: 0.8 g.

Average gestation period: 19 days.

Average number of offspring: 5.5.

Young are born helpless and are cared for in the nest by their mother until weaned.

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care

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Mockler, R. 2002. "Zapus princeps" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zapus_princeps.html
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Western jumping mouse

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The western jumping mouse (Zapus princeps), is a species of rodent in the family Dipodidae.[2] It is found in Canada and the United States.[3]

Western jumping mice evolved during the Pleistocene, possibly from the fossil species Zapus burti, which is known from the late Blancan. Their closest relatives appear to be Pacific jumping mice, with which they can still interbreed to produce fertile offspring.[4]

Description

Western jumping mice resemble typical mice in appearance, but with long hind-feet and reduced forelimbs. They range from 22 to 25 cm (8.7 to 9.8 in) in total length, including a tail 13 to 15 cm (5.1 to 5.9 in) long, and weigh from 17 to 40 g (0.60 to 1.41 oz). The mouse has coarse, dark-greyish-brown fur over the upper body, with a broad yellow to red band along the flanks, and pale yellowish-white underparts. Some individuals have white spots on the upper body, or on the tip of the tail. The two sexes are similar in appearance and size; females have four pairs of teats.[4]

Distribution and habitat

Western jumping mice are found in western North America from Yukon to New Mexico. They inhabit mountainous terrain with moderately damp climates, in meadows and forests dominated by alder, aspen, or willow.[4] They are commonly found in areas of dense vegetation close to fresh water.[5]

Eleven subspecies are currently recognised:[4]

  • Zapus princeps princeps – eastern Wyoming, Colorado, northern New Mexico
  • Z. p. chrysogenysLa Sal Mountains
  • Z. p. cinereus – southeastern Idaho and northwestern Utah
  • Z. p. curtatus – northwestern Nevada
  • Z. p. idahoensis – northern Idaho, western Montana, central Wyoming
  • Z. p. kootenayensis – southern British Columbia, northwestern Washington
  • Z. p. minor – from southern Alberta to northeastern South Dakota
  • Z. p. oregonusOregon, southeastern Idaho, northern Nevada
  • Z. p. pacificus – northern California
  • Z. p. saltator – British Columbia to southern Yukon
  • Z. p. utahensisUtah and western Wyoming

Biology

Western jumping mice are omnivores, with the largest part of their diet consisting of the seeds of grasses and herbs. Less important food items include fruits, fungi, and insects.[6] Population densities range from 2 to 39 per hectare (0.81 to 15.78/acre), with individual mice having home ranges between 0.1 to 0.6 hectares (0.25 to 1.48 acres), with males generally having larger ranges than females. The feeding grounds of mice can be identified by small piles of grass stems stripped of their seeds, and by the presence of clear runways strewn with grass clippings. Their nests are constructed from grass fragments, and are concealed beneath vegetation or debris.[4]

The mice are nocturnal,[7] but are only active for the summer months, hibernating for the rest of the year. In at least some areas, they spend between eight and ten months of the year hibernating.[4] They subsist entirely on their fat reserves while dormant, and do not cache food; a typical mouse may lose 25% of its body weight during the eight to ten months of its hibernation. However, the hibernation is not continuous throughout this period, with the mice waking, on average, once every 38 days.[4]

The timing of hibernation is related to the weather conditions, with mice entering their dens following the first snowfall, if they have not already done so earlier in the year. They awake once the ground temperature reaches 8 to 9.5 °C (46.4 to 49.1 °F)[8]

Predators include bobcats, weasels, skunks, raccoons, snakes and birds of prey. The mice flee predators by making a rapid series of long jumps, interspersed with short periods when they freeze in place. Although they normally move by making short hops and occasional leaps of up to 36 cm (14 in), when startled, their leaps may reach 72 cm (28 in) along the ground, and 30 cm (12 in) into the air.[9]

Reproduction

Female western jumping mice enter estrus within one week of emerging from the hibernation, and typically breed only once each year. Gestation lasts for eighteen days, and results in the birth of a litter of four to eight young. The pups are born blind and hairless, weighing about 0.8 g (0.03 oz). They are weaned between 28 and 35 days of age.[4]

They are apparently able to breed by the time they complete their first hibernation, although only around 40% do so, with the remainder waiting for a further year.[10] They live for three to four years.[11]

References

  1. ^ Linzey, A.V. & Hammerson, G. (2008). "Zapus princeps". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2010.old-form url
  2. ^ Holden, M.E.; Musser, G.G. (2005). "Family Dipodidae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 871–893. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ California Department of Fish and Game (March 2006). "Complete List of Amphibian, Reptile, Bird and Mammal Species in California" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-07-06.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Hart, E.B.; et al. (2004). "Zapus princeps" (PDF). Mammalian Species. 749: 1–7. doi:10.1644/749. S2CID 19553066.
  5. ^ Brown, L.N. (1967). "Ecological distribution of mice in the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming". Ecology. 18 (4): 677–679. doi:10.2307/1936518. JSTOR 1936518.
  6. ^ Anderson, D.C.; et al. (1980). "Herbivorous mammals along a montane sere: community structure and energetics". Journal of Mammalogy. 61 (3): 500–519. doi:10.2307/1379843. JSTOR 1379843.
  7. ^ Wrigley, R.E.; et al. (1991). "Distribution and ecology of six rare species of prairie rodents in Manitoba". Canadian Field-Naturalist. 105: 1–12.
  8. ^ Cranford. J.A. (1978). "Hibernation in the western jumping mouse (Zapus princeps)". Journal of Mammalogy. 59 (3): 496–509. doi:10.2307/1380226. JSTOR 1380226.
  9. ^ Jones, G.S. & Jones, D.B. (1985). "Observations of intraspecific behavior of meadow jumping mice, Zapus hudsonius, and escape behaviour of a western jumping mouse, Zapus princeps, in the wild". Canadian Field-Naturalist. 99: 378–379.
  10. ^ Falk, J.W. & Millar, J.S. (1987). "Reproduction by female Zapus princeps in relation to age, size, and body fat". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 65 (3): 568–571. doi:10.1139/z87-088.
  11. ^ Brown, L.N. (1970). "Population dynamics of the western jumping mouse (Zapus princeps) during a four-year study". Journal of Mammalogy. 51 (4): 651–658. doi:10.2307/1378291. JSTOR 1378291.
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Western jumping mouse: Brief Summary

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The western jumping mouse (Zapus princeps), is a species of rodent in the family Dipodidae. It is found in Canada and the United States.

Western jumping mice evolved during the Pleistocene, possibly from the fossil species Zapus burti, which is known from the late Blancan. Their closest relatives appear to be Pacific jumping mice, with which they can still interbreed to produce fertile offspring.

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