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   Mus musculus (mammal) français     
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         General Impact

    House mice are major economic pests, consuming and despoiling crops and human foodstuffs, and they are host to a range of diseases and parasites infectious to humans, the most serious being bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis) and salmonella (Salmonella spp.). However, mice are considered relatively unimportant as vectors for their transmission to humans.

    Mice have also been implicated in extirpations and/or extinctions of indigenous species in ecosystems they have invaded and colonised which are outside their natural range. Angel et al (2009) reviewed mouse impacts on islands in the Southern Ocean and found that mice had negative impacts on plants, invertebrates, land birds and sea birds. An important finding of this review is that when mice are the only introduced species on an island their behaviour is more similar to that of rats and has a much larger impact on the native ecosystem. When mice are part of a complex of invasive species their densities are suppressed and their impacts are not as great. On Juan de Nova Island in the Mozambique Channel cats have a major impact on the sooty tern (Sterna fuscata) colonies through predation. Peck et al (2008) found that introduced mice and rats supported the cat population through the tern non-breeding season meaning the cat population was large throughout the year. This effect is known as hyperpredation and the authors suggest removing mice andsand rats may help preserve the tern colony.

    Recent research and video evidence from Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean, has shown conclusively that mice are responsible for widespread breeding failures and that predation of seabird chicks by mice occurs at levels that are probably driving population decreases. Please follow this link to view the video Wanless mouse attack on albatross chick recorded by Ross Wanless and Andrea Angel on Gough Island (Viewer discretion is advised).
    Please follow this link for terms and conditions of use of the video.

    Species affected on Gough Island include the 'Crtically endangered (CR)' Tristan albatross (see Diomedea dabbenena) and the 'Endangered (EN)' Atlantic petrel (see Pterodroma incerta). Other species believed to be subject to mouse predation include the two winter breeders - the 'Near Threatened (NT)' grey petrel (see Procellaria cinerea) and the great-winged petrels (see Pterodroma macroptera) (Wanless et al. 2007). M. musculus may pose the greatest present threat to the 'Critically endangered (CR)' Gough bunting (see Rowettia goughensis) through competition and predation (Birdlife International, 2004).

    A study of seed predation by mice in a New Zealand forest found that mice were able to consume almost the entire seed crop of some species therefore having important implications for tree population dynamics (Wilson et al 2007). Another study in New Zealand found that mice were predating upon lizards and that adults were more susceptible than juveniles (Newman 1994).




         Location Specific Impacts:
    Macquarie Is. (sub-Antarctic) (Australia) English 
    Ecosystem change: Despite sporadic work on the impacts of house mice (Mus musculus) on Macquarie Island, little is known of their direct ecological impact. Research on their typical food sources shows that they feed on invertebrates plus some plants and seeds. They are distributed throughout the island including the upland fellfield and grassland communities.
    Despite video evidence of mice eating albatross chicks on (sub-Antarctic) Gough Island, this behaviour has not been recorded on Macquarie Island. However mice are not a part of a natural ecological system on Macquarie Island and are likely to mainly effect invertebrate populations and plant associations.
    Cayman Brac (Cayman Islands) English 
    Threat to endangered species: The house mouse, Mus musculus is implicated in the extinction of a number of native species of small mammals, birds and reptiles (Morgan, 1994 in Varnham, 2006).
    Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands) English 
    Threat to endangered species: The house mouse, Mus musculus is implicated in the extinction of a number of native species of small mammals, birds and reptiles (Morgan, 1994 in Varnham, 2006).
    Little Cayman (Cayman Islands) English 
    Threat to endangered species: The house mouse, Mus musculus is implicated in the extinction of a number of native species of small mammals, birds and reptiles (Morgan, 1994 in Varnham, 2006).
    Kerguelen Is. (sub-Antarctic) (French Southern Territories) français  English 
    Ecosystem change: Mus musculus can have a significant impact on the invertebrate community and on the functioning of the entire trophic network (Le Roux et al, 2002). However, M. musculus could also have a positive effect on the control of the exotic beetle, Oopterus soledadinus, which also threatens arthropod species such as the endemic wingless fly Anatalanta aptera.
    Martinique français  English 
    Agricultural: Populations of Mus musculus can be abundant in agroecosystems, particularly in sugar cane plantations, where they cause significant losses (Pascal et al., 2004).
    Grand Terre Is. (New Caledonia) (New Caledonia (Nouvelle Caledonie)) français  English 
    Disease transmission: Mus musculus is a potential reservoir of the bacterial agent of leptospirosis. The prevalence of this disease is 200 times higher in New Caledonia than in metropolitan France (Pascal et al., 2006).

    Reduction in native biodiversity: Possible impacts on populations of indigenous invertebrates and species that are associated with them (birds, reptiles) (Pascal et al., 2006).
    Saint Helena English 
    Reduction in native biodiversity: House mouse, Mus musculus are highly omnivorous, and are known to eat seeds, flowers and invertebrates, including giant ground beetles (Ashmole and Ashmole, 2000 in Varnham, 2006). They may predate on the 'Critically Endangered (CR)' endemic wirebird's (see Charadrius sanctaehelenae in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) eggs (known to eat eggs of ground nesting birds elsewhere in the world) (McCulloch and Norris, undated in Varnham, 2006).

    Threat to endangered species: House mouse, Mus musculus are implicated in the decline of endemic snails (Succinea spp.) , the 'Critically Endangered (CR)' giant earwig (see Labidura herculeana in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) and other endemic invertebrates on the island (McCulloch and Norris, undated in Varnham, 2006).
    Sao Tome and Principe English 
    Predation: The Guinea Lidless Skink (see Afroablepharus africana) is classified as 'Vulnerable (VU)' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is restricted to three location on the islands of Sâo Tomé, Principé, and Rolas in the Gulf of Guinea. The main threats to this species are suspected to be loss of habitat through deforestation and predation by introduced mammals. Introduced mammals on these islands include the African civet, Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), ship rat (Rattus rattus), house mouse (Mus musculus), Mona monkey (Cercopithecus mona) and weasel (Mustela nivalis) (Ineich 2010).

    Predation: Declining populations of three endemic and 'Critically Endangered (CR)' birds the Sao Tome Ibis (see Bostrychia bocagei); the Sao Tome Canary (see Neospiza concolor) and the Sao Tome Fiscal (see Lanius newtoni) are under threat of loss of habitat and potential predation by introduced mammals that include the African civet, ship rat (Rattus rattus), house mouse (Mus musculus), Mona monkey (Cercopithecus mona) and weasel (Mustela nivalis) (BirdLife International 2009; BirdLife International 2010; BirdLife International 2011). Feral pigs are also present and could be a threat (BirdLife International 2010).



ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland