Peromyscus polionotus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae

Scientific Name: Peromyscus polionotus (Wagner, 1843)
Common Name(s):
English Beach Mouse, Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse, Oldfield Mouse
Taxonomic Notes: The systematics of P. polionotus is in need of critical review (Carleton 1989).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-08-18
Assessor(s): Cassola, F.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Linzey, A.
Listed as Least Concern because it is very widespread, locally abundant and there are no major threats to the species overall.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in the southeastern United States, from northeastern Mississippi to western South Carolina, south through Alabama and Georgia and to western and most of peninsular Florida (Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 1993).
Countries occurrence:
United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is considered secure in its range (NatureServe). Population densities of up to six per acre have been recorded (Burt and Grossenheider 1976).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It favours dry sandy fields and beaches with grass/shrub cover; at Merritt Island, Florida, it is usually found among clumps of palmetto and sea grape with expanses of open sand or among dense palmetto-sea grape-wax myrtle. Occupies underground burrows when inactive; entrances in clumps of grass or beneath sheltering vegetation (Matthews and Moseley 1990). Young are born in underground burrows.

It may breed all year. Much breeding activity on the Gulf Coast occurs from November-January. Produces two or more litters per year. Gestation averages 23-24 days (non lactating) or 28-29 days (lactating). Litter size averages 3-4. Young are weaned in about 18 days. Minimum age at conception is five weeks. Apparently monogamous mating system (Kirkland and Layne 1989).

Feeds mainly on grass/weed seeds and insects; also eats blackberries and wild pea. Beach populations eat fruits and seeds of dune plants, especially sea oats and sea rocket; feeds on invertebrates when seeds are scarce (Matthews and Moseley 1990). It is primarily nocturnal.
Generation Length (years):1-2

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species overall.

Of the 16 subspecies, eight coastal forms are of conservation concern. P. p. decoloratus is Extinct; P. p. trissyllepsis (Perdido Key beach mouse) is Critically Endangered; P. p. allophrys (Choctawatchee beach mouse), P. p. ammobates (Alabama beach mouse), P. p. peninsularis (St. Andrews beach mouse), and P. p. phasma (Anastasia Island beach mouse) are considered Endangered; and P. p. leucocephalus (Santa Rosa beach mouse) and P. p. niveiventris (Southeastern beach mouse) Near Threatened. All eight subspecies have restricted distributions and are threatened by habitat loss and associated pressures due to tourism and development.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The range of the species includes many protected areas.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.2. Marine Intertidal - Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.3. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Sand Dunes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

Bibliography [top]

Burt, W. H. and Grossenheider, R. P. 1976. A field guide to the mammals. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA, USA.

Carleton, M. D. 1989. Systematic and evolution. In: G. L. Kirkland and J. N. Layne (eds), Advances in the Study of Peromyscus (Rodentia), Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock.

Hafner, D.J., Yensen, E. and Kirkland, G.L., Jr. 1998. Status survey and conservation action plan - North American Rodents. IUCN/SSC Rodent Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2017).

Kirkland Jr., G. L. and Layne, J. N. 1989. Advances in the study of Peromyscus (Rodentia). Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, Texas, USA.

Matthews, J. R. and Moseley, C. J. (eds). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 1. Plants, Mammals. pp. 560 pp.. Beacham Publications, Inc., Washington, DC, USA.

Musser, G.G. and Carleton, M.D. 1993. Family Muridae. In: D.E. Wilson and D.A. Reeder (eds), Mammal species of the world: A taxonomic and geographic reference, pp. 501-736. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

Swilling, W. R. and Wooten, M. C. 2002. Subadult dispersal in a monogamous species: the Alabama beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates). Journal of Mammalogy 83: 252-259.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1988. Proposed endangered status for the Anastasia Island beach mouse and threatened status for the southeastern beach mouse. Federal Register 53: 25185-25190.

Wilson, D.E. and Ruff, S. 1999. The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Cassola, F. 2016. Peromyscus polionotus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42654A115199876. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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