Wood Mice (wood + mouse)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


Multiple Paternity and Similar Variance in Reproductive Success of Male and Female Wood Mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) Housed in an Enclosure

ETHOLOGY, Issue 10 2001
Susan Bartmann
The mating system and variance in individual reproductive success in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) were analysed genetically and using observational studies within a large cage system in an outdoor enclosure. Four experimental groups contained four males and four females, each individually marked with a transponder (small computer chips injected under the skin) allowing individual detection of animals underground or within nest boxes without disturbance. The probability of paternity was analysed by comparing frequencies of cohabitation of males and females. In addition, DNA microsatellite analysis revealed reproductive success of each individual. Multiple paternity was found in 85% of all litters, which were sired by up to all four males. Males with a greater body mass, possibly indicative of a higher rank, sired more offspring than those with lower body mass. Interestingly, variance in the reproductive success of males and females did not differ. There was no indication that paternity could be assessed by the time males resided with a female shortly before she became pregnant. Our results indicate wood mice probably have a promiscuous mating system. [source]


The Yellow-necked Mouse Apodemus flavicollis in Britain: status and analysis of factors affecting distribution

MAMMAL REVIEW, Issue 3-4 2001
Aidan C. W. Marsh
ABSTRACT A national survey of the Yellow-necked Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) in Britain was undertaken by The Mammal Society. The live-trapping study sampled small mammal populations from 168 deciduous woodlands in autumn 1998. Within their range, Yellow-necked Mice were widespread in deciduous woodland and were more abundant than Wood Mice in 15% of the woodlands sampled. These trapping records, as well as records solicited from local recorders, record centres and individuals, supplemented the existing distribution map, confirming the general pattern, but with minor extensions to some range borders. Yellow-necked Mice were found in woodland of all ages, but were more common in woods of ancient origin than in younger woodland. Woodland size was not important in determining the presence or abundance of Yellow-necked Mice, but they were more often absent from woods more than 2 km from neighbouring substantial woodland. The presence of Yellow-necked Mice did not affect the relative abundance of Wood Mice (Apodemus sylvaticus). However, the decline in the proportion of breeding male Wood Mice at the end of the main breeding season was more marked in those woods that also contained Yellow-necked Mice. Where their ranges overlapped, Bank Voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) were less abundant where Yellow-necked Mice were also present. The distribution of the Yellow-necked Mouse was explored with respect to a number of climatic, soil and habitat variables. Maximum summer temperature was the most significant variable explaining distribution, although woodland cover variables also contributed. Soil moisture and pH, mean rainfall and winter temperature parameters did not predict Yellow-necked Mouse distribution. Low summer temperature may limit Yellow-necked Mouse distribution through its impact on tree seed production and diversity. Climatic change leading to a rise in summer temperature might encourage range expansion by Yellow-necked Mice, if their other habitat requirements are met. [source]


Mandibles and molars of the wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (L.): integrated latitudinal pattern and mosaic insular evolution

JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2007
Sabrina Renaud
Abstract Aim, The distinct nature of island populations has traditionally been attributed either to adaptation to particular insular conditions or to random genetic effects. In order to assess the relative importance of these two disparate processes, insular effects were addressed in the European wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (Linnaeus, 1758). Location, Wood mice from 33 localities on both mainland and various Atlantic and western Mediterranean islands were considered. This sampling covers only part of the latitudinal range of A. sylvaticus but included the two main genetic clades identified by previous studies. Islands encompass a range of geographical conditions (e.g. small islands fringing the continent through large and isolated ones). Methods, The insular syndrome primarily invokes variations in body size, but ecological factors such as release from competition, niche widening and food availability should also influence other characters related to diet. In the present study, the morphology of the wood mice was quantified based on two characters involved in feeding: the size and shape of the mandibles and first upper molars. The size of the mandible is also a proxy for the body size of the animal. Patterns of morphological differentiation of both features were estimated using two-dimensional outline analysis based on Fourier methods. Results, Significant differences between mainland and island populations were observed in most cases for both the mandibles and molars. However, molars and mandibles displayed divergent patterns. Mandible shape diverged mostly on islands of intermediate remoteness and competition levels, whereas molars exhibited the greatest shape differentiation on small islands, such as Port-Cros and Porquerolles. A mosaic pattern was also displayed for size. Body and mandible size increased on Ibiza, but molar size remained similar to mainland populations. Mosaic patterns were, however, not apparent in the mainland populations. Congruent latitudinal variations were evident for the size and shape of both mandibles and molars. Main conclusions, Mosaic evolution appears to characterize insular divergence. The molar seems to be more prone to change with reduced population size on small islands, whereas the mandible could be more sensitive to peculiar environmental conditions on large and remote islands. [source]


Genotoxicity in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) along a pollution gradient: Exposure-, age-, and gender-related effects

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY & CHEMISTRY, Issue 8 2006
Jan Scheirs
Abstract We investigated the effects of environmental pollution on genetic damage in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) by means of the comet assay, with special attention to the role of age and gender as potential confounding variables. The present study was carried out at four sites along a pollution gradient in the vicinity of Antwerp (Belgium), with a nonferrous smelter as the main pollution source. We measured the concentration of heavy metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb, and Zn) in mouse liver and kidney and the concentration of organochlorine compounds (polychlorinated biphenyls and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p -chlorophenyl)ethylene) in mouse muscle tissue to assess individual exposure. Cadmium exposure was very high at the sites closest to the smelter, and exposure to this metal decreased with increasing distance from the smelter. Exposure to the other pollutants was low to moderate at the different sites. Genetic damage was higher in mice from populations in the vicinity of the nonferrous smelter compared with that in the control populations. A significant increase in genetic damage with age was observed at the most polluted sites, but not at the control sites. Genetic damage was higher in male mice than in female mice at the most polluted site, but not at the other areas. Yet, no obvious relationship was found between individual pollutant levels and individual genetic damage levels. We conclude that the comet assay can be used to compare genotoxicity at the population level if the confounding variables of gender and age are taken into account. However, its use for individual health risk assessment remains questionable. [source]


Multiple Paternity and Similar Variance in Reproductive Success of Male and Female Wood Mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) Housed in an Enclosure

ETHOLOGY, Issue 10 2001
Susan Bartmann
The mating system and variance in individual reproductive success in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) were analysed genetically and using observational studies within a large cage system in an outdoor enclosure. Four experimental groups contained four males and four females, each individually marked with a transponder (small computer chips injected under the skin) allowing individual detection of animals underground or within nest boxes without disturbance. The probability of paternity was analysed by comparing frequencies of cohabitation of males and females. In addition, DNA microsatellite analysis revealed reproductive success of each individual. Multiple paternity was found in 85% of all litters, which were sired by up to all four males. Males with a greater body mass, possibly indicative of a higher rank, sired more offspring than those with lower body mass. Interestingly, variance in the reproductive success of males and females did not differ. There was no indication that paternity could be assessed by the time males resided with a female shortly before she became pregnant. Our results indicate wood mice probably have a promiscuous mating system. [source]


The effects of cowpox virus on survival in natural rodent populations: increases and decreases

JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, Issue 4 2002
Sandra Telfer
Summary 1The effect of cowpox virus on survival in two rodent hosts was investigated using nearly 4 years of longitudinal data from two sites. 2We investigated whether an individual's probability of infection influenced the probability of surviving the next month. We also investigated the effect at the population level, examining whether, in addition to seasonal effects, changes in cowpox prevalence explained further temporal variation in survival rates. 3In bank voles, but not wood mice, individuals with high probabilities of infection survived better than uninfected animals. 4At the level of the population, the effect of infection on survival varied through the year in both species. Survival rates in late summer increased with cowpox prevalence, whilst survival rates in winter decreased with cowpox prevalence. 5We discuss why parasites such as cowpox virus may increase or decrease host survival and why the effect may depend on the time of year. [source]


Mandibles and molars of the wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (L.): integrated latitudinal pattern and mosaic insular evolution

JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2007
Sabrina Renaud
Abstract Aim, The distinct nature of island populations has traditionally been attributed either to adaptation to particular insular conditions or to random genetic effects. In order to assess the relative importance of these two disparate processes, insular effects were addressed in the European wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (Linnaeus, 1758). Location, Wood mice from 33 localities on both mainland and various Atlantic and western Mediterranean islands were considered. This sampling covers only part of the latitudinal range of A. sylvaticus but included the two main genetic clades identified by previous studies. Islands encompass a range of geographical conditions (e.g. small islands fringing the continent through large and isolated ones). Methods, The insular syndrome primarily invokes variations in body size, but ecological factors such as release from competition, niche widening and food availability should also influence other characters related to diet. In the present study, the morphology of the wood mice was quantified based on two characters involved in feeding: the size and shape of the mandibles and first upper molars. The size of the mandible is also a proxy for the body size of the animal. Patterns of morphological differentiation of both features were estimated using two-dimensional outline analysis based on Fourier methods. Results, Significant differences between mainland and island populations were observed in most cases for both the mandibles and molars. However, molars and mandibles displayed divergent patterns. Mandible shape diverged mostly on islands of intermediate remoteness and competition levels, whereas molars exhibited the greatest shape differentiation on small islands, such as Port-Cros and Porquerolles. A mosaic pattern was also displayed for size. Body and mandible size increased on Ibiza, but molar size remained similar to mainland populations. Mosaic patterns were, however, not apparent in the mainland populations. Congruent latitudinal variations were evident for the size and shape of both mandibles and molars. Main conclusions, Mosaic evolution appears to characterize insular divergence. The molar seems to be more prone to change with reduced population size on small islands, whereas the mandible could be more sensitive to peculiar environmental conditions on large and remote islands. [source]


Adaptive latitudinal trends in the mandible shape of Apodemus wood mice

JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, Issue 10 2003
Sabrina Renaud
Abstract Aim Size and shape of the mandible are investigated across the latitudinal range of the European wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), in order to address the relative importance of genetic structure, insularity, and geographical gradient in patterning morphological variation. Results are compared with those on two Asiatic species of wood mice, A. argenteus and A. speciosus. Location The European wood mouse is sampled by a set of trapping localities including both, islands and mainland populations, as well as the four genetic groups identified in previous studies. The localities cover a latitudinal gradient from 55 N to 36 N. Methods Different Fourier methods are applied to the outlines of mandibles and their results compared in the case of A. sylvaticus. All provide similar results and allow a quantification of the size and shape variations across the geographical range of the European wood mouse. Using the method allowing for the best reduction of the informative data set, a comparison of the European wood mouse with the two Asiatic species was performed. Results Within the European wood mouse A. sylvaticus, a strong latitudinal gradient in mandible shape overrides the influence of insularity and genetic structure. Yet, random morphological divergence in insular conditions can be identified as a secondary process of shape differentiation. Size displays no obvious pattern of variation, neither with insularity or latitude. A comparison with two other species of wood mice suggests that a similar latitudinal gradient in mandible shape exists in different species, mandibles being flatter in the north and wider in the south. Main conclusion The latitudinal gradient in mandible shape observed in the three species of wood mice is interpreted as an intraspecific adaptive response to gradual changes in feeding behaviour. [source]


Mammals, agri-environment schemes and set-aside , what are the putative benefits?

MAMMAL REVIEW, Issue 4 2007
D. W. MACDONALD
ABSTRACT 1The impacts of agricultural intensification on farmland wildlife have been the subject of increasing concern, particularly over the last two decades. Population declines have occurred for a number of mammalian species, sometimes drastically so, and changes in farming practice are believed to be significant contributory factors. 2The major policy instruments for delivering environmental benefits on farmland are agri-environment schemes. These encourage farmers to adopt more environmentally sensitive farming practices to promote farmland biodiversity. Additionally, compulsory set-aside, which reduces agricultural surplus, could also have positive impacts on wildlife. In this paper we consider some of the putative benefits of agri-environment schemes and set-aside for mammals. 3We review how establishment and management options within agri-environment schemes and set-aside might affect habitat resources for mammals. For example, conservation headlands increase plant and invertebrate resources within the crop edge for mammals such as wood mice. Grassy field margins can support communities of smaller mammals, and hedgerows may act as important commuting and hunting routes. Their potential will depend on factors such as seed mixtures used, timing and severity of cutting, and length of time they have been in place. 4At a farm level, habitat heterogeneity may be increased through organic agriculture, which is supported by some agri-environment schemes. Studies suggest significant benefits to mammals, including wood mice and bats. However, it is increasingly recognized that effective conservation of farmland mammals must seek solutions at the landscape scale, addressing such issues as habitat connectivity between farms. One approach may be the better targeting of scheme agreements. 5We suggest that agri-environment schemes and set-aside can contribute to the conservation of mammals on farmland. Recent policy changes are likely to have further positive impacts on farmland wildlife but appropriate mammal monitoring programmes must be developed rigorously to assess their effects. [source]


Effects of environmental pollution on microsatellite DNA diversity in wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) populations

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY & CHEMISTRY, Issue 11 2005
Veerle Berckmoes
Abstract Ten microsatellite DNA loci were surveyed to investigate the effects of heavy metal pollution on the genetic diversity and population genetic structure of seven wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) populations along a heavy metal pollution gradient away from a nonferrous smelter in the south of Antwerp (Flanders, Belgium). Analysis of soil heavy metal concentrations showed that soil Ag, As, Cd, Cu, and Pb decreased with increasing distance from the smelter. Genetic analyses revealed high levels of genetic variation in all populations, but populations from the most polluted sites in the gradient did not differ from those of less-polluted sites in terms of mean observed and expected heterozygosity level and mean allelic richness. No correlation was found between measures of genetic diversity and the degree of heavy metal pollution. However, an analysis of molecular variance and a neighbor-joining tree suggested a contamination-related pattern of genetic structuring between the most polluted and less polluted sites. Pairwise FST values indicated that populations were significantly genetically differentiated, and assignment tests and direct estimates of recent migration rates suggested restricted gene flow among populations. Additionally, genetic differentiation increased significantly with geographical distance, which is consistent with an isolation-by-distance model. We conclude that, at least for our microsatellite DNA markers, genetic diversity in the studied wood mouse populations is not affected greatly by the heavy metal pollution. [source]


ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Extinction of the autochthonous small mammals of Mallorca (Gymnesic Islands, Western Mediterranean) and its ecological consequences

JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, Issue 6 2008
Pere Bover
Abstract Aim, To investigate the chronology, causes and consequences of the extinction of the autochthonous Pleistocene small mammals of Mallorca. Location, Mallorca (Gymnesic Islands, Balearics, Western Mediterranean). Methods, We have obtained the first direct 14C ages from the bone collagen of selected samples of two extinct endemic small mammals from Mallorca: the Balearic dormouse, Eliomys morpheus (Rodentia: Myoxidae) and the Balearic shrew, Asoriculus hidalgoi (Soricomorpha: Soricidae). We also present evidence for the absence of both endemics from the earliest Mallorcan archaeological sites and for the introduction of the garden dormouse, Eliomys quercinus, and the wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus. Combined information from direct dating of bone collagen of E. quercinus and A. sylvaticus and from cultural associations provides an adequate framework to establish the chronology of the faunal change and to compare it with the chronological information available on climatic change and the first arrival of humans on the islands. Results, The chronological record includes the latest evidence available for the survival of endemic species and the earliest introduction of small mammals into Mallorca. We present ,uncertainty periods for extinction' (UPEs) of both endemic mammals based on the chronology of their last occurrence and on the inferred timing of their extinction (restricted UPEs). Main conclusions, Possible causes for the extinction of autochthonous small mammals on Mallorca are discussed. Once we have discarded climatic causes, predation by invasive species, competition with newcomers and habitat deterioration, the introduction of diseases emerges as the most reasonable explanation for these extinctions. Based on the identification of changes in keystone species in Mallorcan ecosystems, we propose a tentative schedule of key ecological changes that have taken place over the past 5 millennia. [source]


Mandibles and molars of the wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (L.): integrated latitudinal pattern and mosaic insular evolution

JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2007
Sabrina Renaud
Abstract Aim, The distinct nature of island populations has traditionally been attributed either to adaptation to particular insular conditions or to random genetic effects. In order to assess the relative importance of these two disparate processes, insular effects were addressed in the European wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (Linnaeus, 1758). Location, Wood mice from 33 localities on both mainland and various Atlantic and western Mediterranean islands were considered. This sampling covers only part of the latitudinal range of A. sylvaticus but included the two main genetic clades identified by previous studies. Islands encompass a range of geographical conditions (e.g. small islands fringing the continent through large and isolated ones). Methods, The insular syndrome primarily invokes variations in body size, but ecological factors such as release from competition, niche widening and food availability should also influence other characters related to diet. In the present study, the morphology of the wood mice was quantified based on two characters involved in feeding: the size and shape of the mandibles and first upper molars. The size of the mandible is also a proxy for the body size of the animal. Patterns of morphological differentiation of both features were estimated using two-dimensional outline analysis based on Fourier methods. Results, Significant differences between mainland and island populations were observed in most cases for both the mandibles and molars. However, molars and mandibles displayed divergent patterns. Mandible shape diverged mostly on islands of intermediate remoteness and competition levels, whereas molars exhibited the greatest shape differentiation on small islands, such as Port-Cros and Porquerolles. A mosaic pattern was also displayed for size. Body and mandible size increased on Ibiza, but molar size remained similar to mainland populations. Mosaic patterns were, however, not apparent in the mainland populations. Congruent latitudinal variations were evident for the size and shape of both mandibles and molars. Main conclusions, Mosaic evolution appears to characterize insular divergence. The molar seems to be more prone to change with reduced population size on small islands, whereas the mandible could be more sensitive to peculiar environmental conditions on large and remote islands. [source]


Adaptive latitudinal trends in the mandible shape of Apodemus wood mice

JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY, Issue 10 2003
Sabrina Renaud
Abstract Aim Size and shape of the mandible are investigated across the latitudinal range of the European wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), in order to address the relative importance of genetic structure, insularity, and geographical gradient in patterning morphological variation. Results are compared with those on two Asiatic species of wood mice, A. argenteus and A. speciosus. Location The European wood mouse is sampled by a set of trapping localities including both, islands and mainland populations, as well as the four genetic groups identified in previous studies. The localities cover a latitudinal gradient from 55 N to 36 N. Methods Different Fourier methods are applied to the outlines of mandibles and their results compared in the case of A. sylvaticus. All provide similar results and allow a quantification of the size and shape variations across the geographical range of the European wood mouse. Using the method allowing for the best reduction of the informative data set, a comparison of the European wood mouse with the two Asiatic species was performed. Results Within the European wood mouse A. sylvaticus, a strong latitudinal gradient in mandible shape overrides the influence of insularity and genetic structure. Yet, random morphological divergence in insular conditions can be identified as a secondary process of shape differentiation. Size displays no obvious pattern of variation, neither with insularity or latitude. A comparison with two other species of wood mice suggests that a similar latitudinal gradient in mandible shape exists in different species, mandibles being flatter in the north and wider in the south. Main conclusion The latitudinal gradient in mandible shape observed in the three species of wood mice is interpreted as an intraspecific adaptive response to gradual changes in feeding behaviour. [source]


Non-invasive genetic identification of small mammal species using real-time polymerase chain reaction

MOLECULAR ECOLOGY RESOURCES, Issue 6 2008
S. MORAN
Abstract DNA identification of non-invasive samples is a potentially useful tool for monitoring small mammal species. Here we describe a novel method for identifying five small mammal species: wood mouse, bank vole, common shrew, pygmy shrew and water shrew. Species-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction primers were designed to amplify fragments of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene from hair and scat samples. We also amplified nuclear DNA from scats, demonstrating their potential as a source of DNA for population genetic studies. [source]