Reproductive ecology of the golden mouse (Ochrotomys nuttalli) and the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus)
Pratt, Nathan Lee
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Patterns of seasonal reproduction for golden mice (Ochrotomys nuttalli) and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) are nearly identical, revealing a trend for summer breeding in northern populations and winter breeding in southern populations. It appears that there exists a geographic transition point around 35° north latitude, where mean annual temperature decreases below 15.6°C (60°F), and where reproductive strategy changes for both species. Despite their similarities, O. nuttalli tend to be more social than P. leucopus, frequently nesting with conspecifics. Laboratory breeding of golden mice was conducted to evaluate the ability of golden mice bred in captivity to survive and reproduce in natural deciduous forest habitat and to compare survivorship and reproduction in mice released in autumn and spring. Laboratory-breeding was expected to reduce fecundity and survivorship for golden mice reared in captivity and released into a natural riparian forest habitat compared to a native population of golden mice.