Biological Invasions

, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 1743–1754 | Cite as

Review of impacts of the introduced house mouse on islands in the Southern Ocean: are mice equivalent to rats?

  • Andrea Angel
  • Ross M. Wanless
  • John Cooper
Invasive Rodents on Islands


Research on the impacts of house mice Mus musculus introduced to islands is patchy across most of the species’ global range, except on islands of the Southern Ocean. Here we review mouse impacts on Southern Ocean islands’ plants, invertebrates, land birds and seabirds, and describe the kinds of effects that can be expected elsewhere. A key finding is that where mice occur as part of a complex of invasive mammals, especially other rodents, their densities appear to be suppressed and rat-like impacts have not been reported. Where mice are the only introduced mammal, a greater range of native biota is impacted and the impacts are most severe, and include the only examples of predation on seabird eggs and chicks. Thus mice can have devastating, irreversible and ecosystem-changing effects on islands, impacts typically associated with introduced rats Rattus spp. Island restoration projects should routinely include mouse eradication or manage mouse impacts.


Ecosystem impacts Introduced mammals Invasive alien species Islands Mus musculus Southern Ocean 



John Parkes, Peter Ryan and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Part of the research and literature review was funded by the UK Overseas Territories Environment Programme. RMW is supported by the University of Cape Town, the (South African) National Research Foundation and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CORE InitiativesRondeboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick InstituteUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.Animal Demography Unit, Department of ZoologyUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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