Oryzomys palustris - Harlan, 1837
Marsh Rice Rat
Other English Common Names: Marsh Oryzomys, marsh rice rat
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Oryzomys palustris (Harlan, 1837) (TSN 180336)
Spanish Common Names: Un Ratón Arrozalero
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104423
Element Code: AMAFF01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae Oryzomys
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Oryzomys palustris
Taxonomic Comments: Analysis of cranial variation in Oryzomys by Humphrey and Setzer (1989) indicated that O. argentatus should be included in this species. Only two subspecies were recognized by Humphrey and Setzer (1989): O. p. palustris (includes former subspecies palustris and texensis) and O. p. natator (includes former subspecies natator , coloratus, planirostris, and sanibeli, and former species O. argentatus). Goodyear (1991) reinstated O. argentatus as a species, but this was not followed by Baker et al. (2003), and Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder (1993, 2005) cited the more thorough study by Humphrey and Setzer (1979) in not accepting argentatus as a species (though they did state that the status of argentatus merits further study using genetic techniques).

Oryzomys palustris and O. couesi formerly were considered to be conspecific (Hall 1981); they were regarded as separate species by Honacki et al. (1982), Jones et al. (1986, 1992), and Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005), following Benson and Gehlbach (1979). An electrophoretic study by Schmidt and Engstrom (1994) also concluded that O. palustris and O. couesi are distinct species. The taxonomic scope of the genus Oryzomys is unsettled, as are the taxonomic limits of some of the species included in the genus Oryzomys (Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Nov1996
Global Status Last Changed: 08Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S5), Delaware (S3), Florida (S5), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S2), Kentucky (S4), Louisiana (S5), Maryland (S4), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (SU), New Jersey (S3), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SH), Oklahoma (S2), Pennsylvania (SX), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S4), Virginia (S5)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Comments on USESA: Lower Florida Keys population (west of Seven Mile Bridge) is listed by USFWS as Endangered. See Oryzomys palustris pop. 3.
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Eastern Texas to southeastern Kansas, east to southern New Jersey/Delaware and Florida (Honacki et al. 1982). Formerly recognized species O. ARGENTATUS, now included in O. PALUSTRIS, is known to occur on nine islands in the lower Florida Keys and probably occurs on several others (Goodyear 1987, 1992).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Eastern Texas to southeastern Kansas, east to southern New Jersey/Delaware and Florida (Honacki et al. 1982). Formerly recognized species O. ARGENTATUS, now included in O. PALUSTRIS, is known to occur on nine islands in the lower Florida Keys and probably occurs on several others (Goodyear 1987, 1992).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, IL, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, OH, OK, PAextirpated, SC, TN, TX, VA

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2005; Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Lee (12071)*, Monroe (12087)
IL Alexander (17003), Franklin (17055), Hamilton (17065)*, Jackson (17077), Johnson (17087), Massac (17127), Perry (17145), Pope (17151)*, Pulaski (17153), Saline (17165), Union (17181), White (17193), Williamson (17199)
MO Bollinger (29017)*, Cape Girardeau (29031), Dunklin (29069)*, Mississippi (29133)*, New Madrid (29143), Pemiscot (29155)*, Scott (29201), Stoddard (29207), Wayne (29223)
OK Bryan (40013)*, McCurtain (40089), Murray (40099)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+, Caloosahatchee (03090205)+*, Charlotte Harbor (03100103)+*
05 Little Wabash (05120114)+, Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203)+*, Saline (05140204)+, Lower Ohio (05140206)+
07 Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+, Big Muddy (07140106)+, Whitewater (07140107)+*, Cache (07140108)+
08 New Madrid-St. Johns (08020201)+, Upper St. Francis (08020202)+, Lower St. Francis (08020203)+, Little River Ditches (08020204)+*
11 Middle Washita (11130303)+, Bois D'arc-Island (11140101)+*, Pecan-Waterhole (11140106)+, Upper Little (11140107)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeding may occur throughout the year, particularly early spring. At the northern end of the range in Delaware, breeding begins in late winter and extends into late summer (sometimes into fall) (Edmonds and Stetson 1993). Gestation lasts 21-28 days. Litter size is 4-6 (range 1-7). Several litters per year, up to 6 known. Young are weaned within 2 weeks.
Ecology Comments: Population densities range from less than 1 to 7 per acre in marginal, perhaps atypical sedge-shrub habitat (Negus et al. 1961). In Florida swamps, density was 20 per acre (Smith and Vrieze 1979).

Average home range is 1 acre (Negus et al. 1961, Birkenholz 1963).

This species is an effective disperser over water and a good colonizer of barrier islands (Loxterman et al. 1998).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous
Special Habitat Factors: Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Prefers saltwater and freshwater marshes (semi-aquatic). May also be found in swamps and moist meadows. Uplands bordering wetlands may be important as refuges during high tides (Kruchek 2004). Able to move between adjacent islands by swimming across salt water; in Virginia, ten movements between two islands separated by 50 m and one movement between two islands separated by 300 m were documented (Forys and Dueser 1993, Forys and Moncrief 1994). Nests are placed in grassy vegetation under debris, or woven in aquatic emergents a foot or more above the high water line.
Adult Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Prefers rice, seeds of herbaceous plants. When available (in season), arthropods make up 75% of diet (Negus et al. 1961).
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Primarily nocturnal.
Length: 31 centimeters
Weight: 78 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Small Murid Rodents

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Mapping Guidance: Separate sites separated by less than 1000 meters should be mapped as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: Barriers include: wide highways with heavy traffic (subjective determination) and highways with continuous solid barriers that prevent rodent passage; major water bodies, arbitrarily set at those greater than 50 meters across in ice-free areas and those greater than 200 meters wide if frozen regularly.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Home ranges may be quite small, but at least some species exhibit good dispersal ability that may take them several kilometers from their natal area (Maier 2002). Peromyscus that have been displaced up to 3 km may return home within a few days (see Maier 2002). Displaced Neotoma fuscipes dispersed up to at least 1.6 km from their release point in five nights (Smith 1965). A male Dicrostonyx richardsoni moved more than 3 kilometers per day several times (Engstrom, in Wilson and Ruff 1999). Some species can traverse significant distances of unsuitable habitat. For example, Peromyscus leucopus may move between wooded areas separated by a deforested agricultural gap of up to at least 2 km (Krohne and Hoch 1999). In New Brunswick, a tagged subadult male Peromyscus maniculatus was captured at locations 1.77 km apart after a period of 2 weeks in September, suggesting that dispersal may extend at least this far (Bowman et al. 1999). In Kansas, individual Peromyscus maniculatus were captured at trap sites up to 1.32 km apart (Rehmeier et al. 2004). Dispersal can play a key role in the population dynamics of murid rodents.

Patterns of genetic (DNA) variation indicate that gene flow can be low among subpopulations of Neotoma magister and that effective dispersal is limited among subpopulations separated by as little as 3 km (Castleberry et al. 2002).

Separation distance for suitable habitat is a compromise between the typical small home range sizes of these mammals and their sometimes considerable dispersal ability and the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent populations.

Roads, especially divided highways, are major barriers to dispersal in small mammals (Oxley et al. 1974, Wilkins 1982, Garland and Bradley 1984).

Date: 08Mar2005
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Notes: Group contains most members of the family Muridae: mice, voles, lemmings, woodrats, etc.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 07Mar2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
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