Does the house mouse self-regulate its density in maturing sorghum and wheat crops?

Kaboodvandpour, Shahram and Leung, Luke K.-P. (2008) Does the house mouse self-regulate its density in maturing sorghum and wheat crops?. Journal of Animal Ecology, 77 5: 1030-1037. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01423.x

Author Kaboodvandpour, Shahram
Leung, Luke K.-P.
Title Does the house mouse self-regulate its density in maturing sorghum and wheat crops?
Journal name Journal of Animal Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-8790
Publication date 2008-09-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01423.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 77
Issue 5
Start page 1030
End page 1037
Total pages 8
Editor Dave Raffaelli
Graeme Hays
Kevin McCann
Rob Smith
Ken Norris
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publisher Wiley- Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Language eng
Subject C1
060208 Terrestrial Ecology
960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
Formatted abstract
# 1. One of the central questions in population ecology and management is: what regulates population growth? House mouse Mus domesticus L. populations erupt occasionally in grain-growing regions in Australia. This study aimed to determine whether mouse populations are self-regulated in maturing sorghum and wheat crops. This was assessed by examining food supply to mice (i.e. yield) and the relationship between initial mouse density (DI) and density at harvest (DH). Eight levels of DI ranging from 89 to 5555 mice ha−1 were introduced to sorghum at the hard dough stage and to wheat crops at the milky stage in mouse-proofed pens. DH was measured by trapping out mice 49 days after the introduction.

# 2. There were at least 3·11 tonnes ha−1 of wheat and 1·85 tonnes ha−1 of sorghum grain available for mice at harvest. The estimated relationship between DI and DH was asymptotic exponential, with DH initially increasing almost linearly with DI. When DI was above c. 500 mice ha−1, DH increased asymptotically with DI and then saturated at c. 3100 mice ha−1. The asymptotic increases in and saturation of DH was due partly to more young mice being born and recruited in pens treated with lower levels of DI.

# 3. Our findings indicated that mouse densities in maturing cereal crops were driven by a numerical response of mice to the abundant supply of grain, modified by some unknown self-regulation mechanism that reduced this numerical response of mice at higher mouse densities. The mechanism was possibly spacing behaviours. Although the nature of this self-regulation mechanism is not known our model is, nevertheless, useful for predicting increases and eruptions in mouse population density in sorghum and wheat crops. Understanding the nature of this mechanism may provide insights into population processes that can be exploited in controlling mice in cereal crops.
Keyword intraspecific competition
intrinsic population regulation
Mus domesticus
population eruption
rate of increase
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Additional Notes Published Online: 8 Jul 2008

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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Created: Thu, 16 Apr 2009, 19:53:23 EST by Mrs Kathy Bachmann on behalf of School of Animal Studies