Russian Journal of Ecology

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 268–273 | Cite as

Ecophysiology of Steppe Mouse Subspecies Mus spicilegius spicilegus, Peteni, 1883 (Rodentia, Mammalia) at the South Boundary of its Distribution

  • M. Beltcheva
  • R. Metcheva


Diet, food preferences and main ecophysiological characteristics such like energy requirements and thermoregulation characteristics of Mus spicilegus spicilegus (Petenyi, 1882) were studied. The most preferred foods for the mice were seeds of weed species that composed more than 85% of their diet. The results of food selection experiments shows that the total daily consumption by mice is 2.77 ± 0.76 g/animal/day or 5.5 kJ/g/day or 84.9 kJ/animal/day. From the total daily energy consumption 16.4% go back to nature in the form of feces and urine and the rest 83.6% animals utilized for assimilation. The results of the temperature preferences for Mus s. spicilegus shows preferred temperature zone from around 26 to 36°C where mice spent about 72% of the experimental time. The lowest value of oxygen consumption for resting metabolism rate (RMR) was registered at 30°C–3.20 ± 0.71 cm3 O2/g/h. It is possible to consider that the thermoneutral zone is around these temperature values. The obtained results give reason to conclude that from an ecophysiologycal point of view the climate in the south boundary of distribution provides optimal conditions for species development. The main cause for population decreasing probably is the loss of open habitats including natural steppe grasslands.


Mus s. spicilegus diet energy requirements thermoregulation oxygen consumption 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem ResearchBulgarian Academy of SciencesSofiaBulgaria

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