A sharp incisor tool for predator house mice back to the wild

Authors: Renaud, S., Delepine, C., Ledevin, R., Pisanu, B., Quere, J.-P. and Hardouin, E.

Journal: Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

ISSN: 0947-5745

DOI: 10.1111/jzs.12292


The house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus), as a successful invasive species worldwide, has to forage a variety of resources. Subantarctic mice display among the most notable diet shift from the usual omnivorous–granivorous diet, relying on a larger proportion of terrestrial animal prey. In agreement, a recent study of their mandible morphology evidenced an evolution of their mandible shape to optimize incisor biting and hence seize preys. Here, the incisors themselves are the focus of a morphometric analysis combined with a 3D study of their internal structure, aiming at a comparison between subantarctic populations (Guillou island, Kerguelen archipelago) with a range of western European continental, commensal mice. The predatory foraging behavior of Guillou mice was indeed associated with a sharper bevel of the lower incisor, which appears as an efficient morphology for piercing prey. The incisor of these mice also displays a reduced pulp cavity, suggesting slower eruption counterbalancing a reduced abrasion on such soft food material. The dynamics of the ever‐growing incisor may thus allow adaptive incisor sculpting and participate to the success of mice in foraging diverse resources.


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