Birch mouse

Birch mice (genus Sicista) are small jumping rodents that resemble mice with a long tufted tail and very long hind legs, allowing for remarkable leaps. They are native to Eurasian forests and steppes. All variants possess a long tail of 65 to 110 mm (2.6 to 4.3 in) of length and weigh about 6 to 14 g (0.21 to 0.49 oz). Head and body length of 50 to 90 mm (2.0 to 3.5 in) and hind foot length of 14 to 18 mm (0.55 to 0.71 in).[1] The skin color is light brown or dark-brown to brownish yellow on the upper side and paler on the underside, but generally brownish.[1] Birch mice have a vast geographic distribution in that they inhabit a wide variety of habitats, from semiarid areas to subalpine meadows.[2]

Birch mice
Sicista betulina 03.JPG
Sicista betulina
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Dipodidae
Subfamily: Sicistinae
Allen, 1901
Genus: Sicista
Gray, 1827

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There are 13 species listed in Mammal Species of the World (2005).[3]


All species of Sicista cluster into five major lineages: “betulina,” “caucasica,” “caudata,” “tianschanica,” and “concolor.”[4]


  1. ^ a b Ronald M. Nowak (1999). Walker's mammals of the world. JHU Press. pp. 1329–. ISBN 978-0-8018-5789-8. Retrieved 4 January 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Cserkész, T., Fülöp, A., Almerekova, S. et al. J Mammal Evol (2019) 26: 147.
  3. ^ Holden, M.E.; Musser, G.G. (2005). "Subfamily Sicistinae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 886–890. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^ Lebedev, Vladimir; Rusin, Mikhail; Zemlemerova, Elena; Matrosova, Vera; Bannikova, Anna; Kovalskaya, Yulia; Tesakov, Alexey (August 2019). "Phylogeny and evolutionary history of birch mice Sicista Griffith, 1827 (Sminthidae, Rodentia): Implications from a multigene study". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 57 (3): 695–709. doi:10.1111/jzs.12279.