Osmoregulatory traits of broad-toothed field mouse (Apodemus mystacinus) populations from different habitats

Michael Scantlebury, Uri Shanas, Keren Or-Chen, Abraham Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One mechanism for physiological adjustment of small mammals to different habitats and different seasons is by seasonal acclimatization of their osmoregulatory system. We examined the abilities of broad-toothed field mice (Apodemus mystacinus) from different ecosystems ('sub-alpine' and 'Mediterranean') to cope with salinity stress under short day (SD) and long day (LD) photoperiod regimes. We compared urine volume, osmolarity, urea and electrolyte (sodium, potassium and chloride) concentrations. Significant differences were noted in the abilities of mice from the two ecosystems to deal with salinity load; in particular sub-alpine mice produced less concentrated urine than Mediterranean mice with SD- sub-alpine mice seeming to produce particularly dilute urine. Urea concentration generally decreased with increasing salinity, whereas sodium and potassium levels increased, however SD- sub-alpine mice behaved differently and appeared not to be able to excrete electrolytes as effectively as the other groups of mice. Differences observed provide an insight into the kinds of variability that are present within populations inhabiting different ecosystems, thus how populations may be able to respond to potential changes in their environment. Physiological data pertaining to adaptation to increased xeric conditions, as modelled by A. mystacinus, provides valuable information as to how other species may cope with potential climatic challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-556
Number of pages6
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dmitri Rozenband for his assistance in caring for the animals and Laura Buckley with help in the laboratory. This project was funded in part by the University of Haifa Research Authorities to AH and a Royal Society Post Doctoral Visiting Fellowship to MS.


  • Environmental challenge
  • Evolution
  • Photoperiod
  • Rodent
  • Salinity
  • Thermoregulation
  • Urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology


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