birch mouse

birch mouse

rodent
      any of 13 species of small, long-tailed mouselike rodents (rodent). Birch mice live in the northern forests, thickets, and subalpine meadows and steppes (Steppe, the) of Europe and Asia. Their bodies are 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) long, excluding the semiprehensile tail that is longer than the head and body. Birch mice are brown or yellowish brown with slightly paler underparts, and some species have a dark stripe extending over the head and back. They eat both plant material and insects, live in burrows, and hibernate underground from fall into spring. All travel on the ground by leaping, but they are also good climbers, using their tails as additional support.

      For many years only six species of birch mouse were recognized; beginning in the 1970s, however, intensive study by Russian and Chinese scientists of populations in eastern Europe, Central Asia, and China revealed seven additional species. Birch mice are not “true mice” (family Muridae); they belong to a different family (Dipodidae) that includes the jumping mice (jumping mouse) of China and North America. Birch mice and jumping mice belong to different subfamilies within the family Dipodidae of the order Rodentia.

      Fossils have also provided knowledge about the species diversity and geographic distribution of birch mice. Relatives of birch mice once lived in North America during a 15-million-year period from the Middle Miocene (Miocene Epoch) to the Early Pleistocene Epoch. The evolutionary history of birch mice apparently began in Eurasia, where its closest relatives are represented by fossils of the extinct genera Plesiosminthus and Heterosminthus from 25-million–28-million-year-old sediments of the Oligocene Epoch. Sicista fossils have been found in Asia from as far back as the Late Miocene (11.2 million to 5.3 million years ago) and in Europe in the Late Pliocene (Pliocene Epoch) (3.6 million to 1.8 million years ago).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Birch mouse — Taxobox name = Birch mice regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Rodentia superfamilia = Dipodoidea familia = Dipodidae subfamilia = Sicistinae subfamilia authority = Allen, 1901 genus = Sicista genus authority = Gray, 1827 …   Wikipedia

  • Long-tailed Birch Mouse — Chinese Birch Mouse Conservation status Data Deficient (IUCN 3.1)[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Northern Birch Mouse — Sicista betulina Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Tien Shan Birch Mouse — Conservation status Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Southern Birch Mouse — Taxobox|name=Southern Birch Mouse status = LR/nt status system = IUCN2.3 regnum=Animalia phylum=Chordata classis=Mammalia ordo=Rodentia familia=Dipodidae genus= Sicista species= S. subtilis binomial = Sicista subtilis binomial authority= Pallas,… …   Wikipedia

  • Chinese Birch Mouse — Taxobox name = Chinese Birch Mouse status = EN | status system = IUCN2.3 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Rodentia familia = Dipodidae genus = Sicista species = S. caudata binomial = Sicista caudata binomial authority …   Wikipedia

  • Armenian Birch Mouse — Taxobox name = Armenian Birch Mouse status = CR | status system = IUCN2.3 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Rodentia familia = Dipodidae genus = Sicista species = S. armenica binomial = Sicista armenica binomial… …   Wikipedia

  • Caucasian Birch Mouse — Taxobox name = Caucasian Birch Mouse status = LR/lc | status system = IUCN2.3 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Rodentia familia = Dipodidae genus = Sicista species = S. caucasica binomial = Sicista caucasica binomial… …   Wikipedia

  • Kazbeg Birch Mouse — Taxobox name = Kazbeg Birch Mouse status = DD | status system = IUCN2.3 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Rodentia familia = Dipodidae genus = Sicista species = S. kazbegica binomial = Sicista kazbegica binomial… …   Wikipedia

  • Kluchor Birch Mouse — Taxobox name = Kluchor Birch Mouse status = DD | status system = IUCN2.3 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Rodentia familia = Dipodidae genus = Sicista species = S. kluchorica binomial = Sicista kluchorica binomial… …   Wikipedia

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