The Texas mouse populates rocky portions of central Texas, northward into Oklahoma and extends into southern Kansas, Missouri and western Arkansas. These regions are the only natural habitats for Peromyscus attwateri (Sugg, et al 1990).
Peromyscus attwateri inhabits rocky areas including cliffs and limestone outcrops with woody vegetation, such as the Edwards plateau of Texas (Davis & Schmidly 1994). Due to the threat of predators the Texas mouse can often be found in crevices along cliffs, under logs, fallen grass, weeds, and in heaps of driftwood. Junipers are the dominant vegetation in the rocky areas that they inhabit (Engstrom et al. 1989). (Davis and Schmidly, 1994; Engstrom, et al., 1989)
The Texas mouse is a medium sized Peromyscus. It is not distinctly bicolored, but does have a lighter shade on its underside; its ankles are usually darker or dusky, the dorsal color is brown with darker and mixed with blackish marks along the midline. The mouse's side is a pinkish cinnamon and it has a pure white underbelly. Peromyscus attwateri is about 198 mm in total length with the tail usually about 103 mm. Hind feet are 24 to 27 mm and adults usually weigh from 25 to 35 grams (Davis & Schmidly, 1994). (Davis and Schmidly, 1994)
Reproduction occurs during September through late winter in north Texas (Davis & Schmidly, 1994). The average number of young per litter is four, but can range from one to six. (Davis and Schmidly, 1994)
At birth, the mouse has a mass of about 1.5 g. The young are born hairless with wrinkled, pink skin, closed eyes, and a pinnae that is folded over their ear. Juvenile hair begins to develop on the second day after birth. On the third day, the pinnae unfold with the ear canal opening after a week and a half. Eyes open after two weeks, and the young are weaned anywhere from day 25 to 35. At this time, the young usually leave the nest to live on their own, however, sometimes the mother will allow some young to live there for longer periods. Once weaned, the young usually leave the nest and become independent of their mother, although sometimes the mother will tolerate their presence for longer periods (Margulis 1998). (Margulis, 1998)
When P. attwateri shares habitats with other species of mice, such as Peromyscus pectoralis, it has been found to be a generalist using the full range of its available microhabitats. While P. pectoralis was a specialist, only exploiting certain microhabitats (Engstrom et al. 1989).
The Texas mouse has several morphological adaptations for climbing and movement in trees; it has a long, tufted tail to use as a prop when climbing and for balancing. It also has relatively long hind feet. According to a study done by Engstrom et al. (1989), the P. attwateri that were followed travelled in the trees approximately 70% of the time. Evidence was also found that the species frequently took refuge in nests in trees. (Engstrom, et al., 1989)
The Texas mouse is omnivorous. It will eat a wide variety of plant and animal matter depending on what is available; seeds, fruits, flowers, nuts, and other plant products are the primary source of nutrition. It will also feed on grasshoppers, camel crickets, and beetles (Davis & Schmidly, 1994). (Davis and Schmidly, 1994)
Texas mice, like other Peromyscus species, are common prey for a wide variety of predators including raptors, snakes, and foxes.
Texas mice are important and abundant small prey for predators in the ecosystems in which they live. Their predation on seeds impacts plant communities.
Texas mice are important members of the ecosystems in which they live.
The Texas mouse is presently abundant in its natural habitat and is a healthy species.
Peromyscus attwateri was classified as a subspecies of Peromyscus boylii until 1974. It was then classified by Schmidly to be a full species due to chromosomal differences and a difference in molar structure (Davis & Schmidly 1994).
John Saari (author), Southwestern University, Stephanie Fabritius (editor), Southwestern University.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
active at dawn and dusk
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
Davis, W., D. Schmidly. 1994. The Mammals of Texas. Texas: Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Engstrom, M., D. Etheredge, R. Stone. 1989. Habitat discrimination between sympatric populations of Peromyscus attwateri and Peromyscus pectoralis in west-central Texas. Journal of Mammology, 70, no. 2: 300 - 307.
Margulis, S. 1998. Relationships among parental inbreeding, parental behavior and offspring viability in oldfield mice. Animal Behaviour, 55, no. 2: 427 - 438.
Sugg, D., M. Kennedy, G. Heidt. 1990. Genetic variation in the Texas mouse, Peromyscus attwateri. Journal of Mammology, 70, no. 3: 309 - 317.