Peromyscus polionotus - (Wagner, 1843)
Oldfield Deermouse
Other English Common Names: oldfield deermouse
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Peromyscus polionotus (Wagner, 1843) (TSN 180290)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106418
Element Code: AMAFF03060
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae Peromyscus
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
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:
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Peromyscus polionotus
Taxonomic Comments: Genetic heterozygosity levels among populations inhabiting the Gulf Coast barrier beaches and islands are only about 1/3 to 1/2 those recorded for mice on adjacent mainland (Selander et al. 1971). The systematics of P. polionotus is in need of critical review (Carleton 1989).
Conservation Status

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), Florida (S5), Georgia (S5), Mississippi (S2), North Carolina (S1), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S3)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Comments on USESA: Subspecies AMMOBATES in Alabama, TRISSYLLEPSIS in Alabama/Florida, and ALLOPHRYS, PHASMA, and PENINSULARIS in Florida (USFWS 1998), are listed by USFWS as Endangered; Florida subspecies NIVEIVENTRIS is listed by USFWS as Threatened.
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Southeastern U.S., 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).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Southeastern U.S., 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).

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: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN

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

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AL Baldwin (01003)
FL Bay (12005), Brevard (12009), Escambia (12033), Gulf (12045), Indian River (12061), Okaloosa (12091), St. Johns (12109), St. Lucie (12111), Walton (12131)
MS Clarke (28023), Harrison (28047), Jasper (28061), Lauderdale (28075), Lowndes (28087)*, Tishomingo (28141), Wayne (28153)
NC Mecklenburg (37119), Rutherford (37161)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper Catawba (03050101)+, Upper Broad (03050105)+, Daytona - St. Augustine (03080201)+, Cape Canaveral (03080202)+, Vero Beach (03080203)+, St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays (03140101)+, Choctawhatchee Bay (03140102)+, Pensacola Bay (03140105)+, Perdido Bay (03140107)+, Middle Tombigbee-Lubbub (03160106)+*, Sucarnoochee (03160202)+, Mobile Bay (03160205)+, Chunky-Okatibbee (03170001)+, Upper Chickasawhay (03170002)+, Lower Leaf (03170005)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+
06 Pickwick Lake (06030005)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
General Description: A small whitish to pale cinnamon mouse with a white belly, white feet, and membranous ears; adult total length 122-153 mm, tail 40-60 mm, hind foot 15-19 mm, ear (dry) 11.6-16.5 mm (Hall 1981).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from P. GOSSYPINUS, P. LEUCOPUS, and P. FLORIDANUS in being paler and/or smaller (GOSSYPINUS is 160-205 mm in total length, 68-97 tail length; LEUCOPUS is 156-205 in total length, 63-97 mm tail; FLORIDANUS is 186-221 mm in total length, 80-95 mm tail) (Hall 1981). OCHROTOMYS NUTTALLI is bright golden-cinnamon and larger (150-190 mm total length, 68-93 mm tail).
Reproduction Comments: May breed all year. Much breeding activity on Gulf Coast occurs November-January. Produces 2 or more litters per year. Gestation averages 23-24 days (nonlactating) or 28-29 days (lactating). Litter size averages 3-4 (USFWS 1988). Young are weaned in about 18 days. Minimum age at conception is 5 weeks. Apparently monogamous mating system (Kirkland and Layne 1989).
Ecology Comments: Population densities of up to 6 per acre have been recorded (Burt and Grossenheider 1976). Home range size is up to 3 acres.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Subspecies ammobates: Based on recaptures in traps, mean home range size was 3,586 square meters; mean dispersal distance of subadults was 160 m (= 2.4 home range diameters), but a siginificant number of mice dispersed more than 5 home range diameters (Swilling and Wooten 2002). Trapping data likely underestimate dispersal distance.

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Sand/dune, Shrubland/chaparral
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil
Habitat Comments: Favors dry sandy fields and beaches with grass/shrub cover; at Merritt Island, Florida, usually 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.
Adult Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: 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).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Primarily nocturnal.
Length: 22 centimeters
Weight: 33 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 18Mar2005
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).


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