Mus musculus (mammal)
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).
M. musculus may pose the greatest present threat to Gough bunting (see Rowettia goughensis in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) through competition and predation. R. goughensis is much less abundant on Gough than other bunting species on nearby mouse-free islands. Recent research from Gough Island suggest that mice may be a significant predator of breeding seabirds. Buntings are found at low density where mice are abundant on Gough Island, and predation rates of dummy eggs by mice suggests that predation rates may be higher where buntings are scarce (Birdlife International, 2004).
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