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(Mus musculus), a mammal of the family Muridae of the order Rodentia. The body measures 7-10.8 cm long and the tail, 4.2-10.2 cm. The house mouse is distributed almost throughout the world, except the arctic and antarctic. It is a wild species of southern origin. It utilizes the foodstuffs and domiciles of man, as a result of which it has extended its natural area of distribution greatly, living almost everywhere. Under natural conditions it digs short simple burrows or uses those of other rodents. The female gives birth to five-seven offspring. The house mouse is omnivorous. Under favorable wintering conditions and when there is abundant food, massive reproduction is possible and its numbers increase enormously. It is a pest of grain crops and destroys and fouls foodstuffs. Further, it harbors the carriers of plague; in southern regions it is the chief source of human infection with tularemia. The house mouse served as the starting point for breeding pure strains of mice used in genetic and other experimental work as laboratory animals.
REFERENCESArgiropulo, A. I. Semeistvo Muridae—myshi. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940. (Fauna SSSR. Mlekopytaiushchie, vol. 3, fasc. 5.)
Tupikova, N. V. “Ekologiia domovoi myshi srednei polosy SSSR.”
In Materialy k poznaniiu fauny i flory SSSR; fasc. 2: Fauna i ekologiia gryzunov. Moscow, 1947.
Freye, H. A., and H. Freye. Die Hausmaus. Wittenberg, 1960.
N. V. TUPIKOVA