Navigation Menu+

Murines Five Ways

Posted on Jul 20, 2012 by in Rodents | 8 comments


Numbers 405, 406, 407, 408, and 409

Here are three rats and two mice from the Old World rats and mice subfamily of the rodent order. Clockwise from the top right, may I introduce Tokudaia muenninki, Muennink’s spiny rat or the Okinawan spiny rat; Apodemus sylvaticus, the wood mouse or long-tailed field mouse; Arvicanthis niloticus, the African grass rat; Apomys datae, the Luzon montane forest mouse; and Micaelamys namaquensis, the Namaqua rock rat?

About a tenth of all mammals are in the Old World rats and mice subfamily, which is called Murinae. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals says, “If exuberant radiation of species and the ability survive, multiply, and adapt quickly are criteria for success, then the Old World rats and mice must be regarded as the most successful of all mammals.” As a group, they are called murines, and they are found on all “the major Old World land masses, from immediately south of the Arctic Circle to the tips of the southern continents,” again quoting the Princeton Encyclopedia.

The Okinawan spiny rat is endemic to the island of Okinawa and is listed by the IUCN as critically endangered. The other four species are all listed as being of least concern. The wood mouse lives throughout Europe and into northern Africa, the African grass rat lives in sub-Saharan Africa but also on the Arabian peninsula, the Luzon montane forest mouse lives only in the Philippines, and the Namaqua rock rat lives in southern Africa.

Today, let’s love all the mammals, especially our fellow humans.


  1. cute little guys!

  2. I empathize with you about the seemingly infinite number of mice and rats you have to draw and I think you have a good solution in drawing groups. So would that mean 500 species to describe? (aren’t there around 5,000 total mammal species ?)

    • Yes, around 500 murines—but 40 percent of mammals are rodents, and a whole lot of them look a lot like this. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals says “More than a quarter of all species of mammals can loosely be described as mouselike rodents.” Eek! But the multiples help a lot, I think. Otherwise, it’s really hard for me to make myself draw them.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly, Jennifer — let’s love ALL mammals, and have only confusion and pity toward those mammals that would want to hurt fellow mammals. Love wins out, if we refuse any other outcome.

  4. Great to see you posting again! These chaps are excellent as always. Also, the phrase “exuberant radiation” is awesome.

    • Yes! I love “exuberant radiation” too! It’s so evocative. And thank you.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.