Body length of these animals ranges between 110 and 155 mm. Tail length is between 49 and 89 mm. Hind foot length is 16 to 18 mm, and ear length is 5 to 7 mm. These animals weigh between 7 and 16 g. Size and body proportions vary geographically, but there is no consistent sexual dimorphism. (Davis and Schmidly, 1997; Easterla, 1967; Hazard, 1982; Jones and Birney, 1988; Monk and Jones, 1996; Thompson, 2002; Williams, 1999)
There is little information on the mating systems of.
Plains pocket mice have a breeding season that lasts from April through the late summer, with some variation depending on their location and climate. They have two to three litters per year, ranging in size from 2 to 7 young, although litter size on average is four young. The gestation period is approximately 25 to 26 days. Female young born in the early spring can breed at about ten to seventeen weeks. The young are born underground in a nest within the burrow. (Jones and Birney, 1988; Monk and Jones, 1996; Williams, 1999)
There is little information known about the parental care of the plains pocket mouse. Because they are mammals, we can infer that the mother provides the young with milk, protection, and grooming in the natal nest until the age of dispersal. The role of the male in the parental care of this species has not been documented.
It has been determined by tooth wear that plains pocket mice seldom live beyond one to two years, although they have been known to live slightly longer in captivity. (Monk and Jones, 1996; Williams, 1999)
Plains pocket mice are nocturnal, although they will forage during the day when skies are overcast. Their nocturnal activity is reduced when the moon is full and very bright, possibly as a means of escaping detection by nocturnal predators. These animals also either enter a torpor period or hibernate when the weather becomes extremely cold. Even though these animals are inactive in the cold, they will become active for short periods to feed on stored food. (Hazard, 1982; Jones and Birney, 1988; Williams, 1999)
There is little information known about how plains pocket mice communicate. However, we can infer that, as mammals, they use some combination of accoustic and visual signals. Tactile communciation is undoubtedly of importance between mothers and their offspring, between mates, and possibly between rivals during mating or feeding competition. It is likely that there is some scent based communication, as phermones are important in mammals, although there have been no specific reports of this in this species.
It has been observed that (Davis and Schmidly, 1997; Hazard, 1982; Jones and Birney, 1988; Monk and Jones, 1996; Thompson, 2002; Williams, 1999; Davis and Schmidly, 1997; Hazard, 1982; Jones and Birney, 1988; Monk and Jones, 1996; Thompson, 2002; Williams, 1999)has the ability to climb stalks and stems of plants to retrieve seeds and fruits.
Plains pocket mice obtain most of their water from the seeds that they digest. However, it is thought that they also will lick dew and green plants to maintain their body fluids at an acceptable level. (Davis and Schmidly, 1997; Hazard, 1982; Jones and Birney, 1988; Monk and Jones, 1996; Thompson, 2002; Williams, 1999; Davis and Schmidly, 1997; Hazard, 1982; Jones and Birney, 1988; Monk and Jones, 1996; Thompson, 2002; Williams, 1999)
There is very little information about how this species negatively affects humans. These mice may be seen as a pest for agriculture because they have the ability to climb up stalks and stems to obtain seeds and fruits from crops. ()
This species is not listed by CITES or IUCN. It is not endangered within the United States.
There has been a recent debate as to whether P. apache and are two different species, or if they should be considered subspecies of . (Williams, 1999)
The genus name Perognathus is comes from the Greek words pera, meaning pouch, and gnathus, meaning jaw. It describes the fur-lined cheek pouches that are characteristic of this genus. The species name flavescens comes from a Latin word meaning yellowish, which describes the pelage of this species. (Monk and Jones, 1996)
Victoria Spencer (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor, instructor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
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.
uses sound to communicate
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
in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.
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.
union of egg and spermatozoan
Referring to a burrowing life-style or behavior, specialized for digging or burrowing.
an animal that mainly eats seeds
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.
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
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
digs and breaks up soil so air and water can get in
places a food item in a special place to be eaten later. Also called "hoarding"
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.
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
Brown, L. 1966. The first record of Perognathus flavescens in Wyoming. Journal of Mammalogy, 47: 118.
Burt , W., R. Grossenheider. 1976. A Field Guide to the Mammals (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Davis , W., D. Schmidly. 1997. "Plains Pocket Mouse" (On-line ). Accessed 10/02/02 at http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/perflave.htm.
Easterla, D. 1967. First specimens of plains pocket mouse from Missouri. Journal of Mammalogy, 48: 479-480.
Hazard, E. 1982. The Mammals of Minnesota. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Jones, J., E. Birney. 1988. Handbook of Mammals of the North-Central States. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Monk, R., J. Jones. 1996. Perognathus flavescens. Mammalian Species, 525: 1-4.
Thompson, J. 2002. "Plain Pocket Mouse" (On-line ). Playa Wetlands. Accessed 11/02/02 at http://www2.tltc.ttu.edu/msw/Classroomsupport/Mammals/mammals/plain_pocket_mouse/plains_pocket_mouse.htm.
Williams, D. 1999. Plains pocket mouse (The Smithosonian Book of North American Mammals. Washington and London: The Smithsonian Institution Press.). Pp. 498-499 in D Wilson, S Ruff, eds.