Population biology of the urban mouse (Mus domesticus) in the UK
  Key Words  
  Mus domesticus, population dynamics
  R.G. Murphy, H. Williams and G. Hide
  Chronic infestations of house mice (Mus domesticus) are a common problem in urban areas within the UK, but little is known about the population dynamics of such populations. As a result of the high number of mouse infestations reported by local residents, an inner city area of Manchester, UK, was selected as a study site. The study area contained 254 domestic properties that varied in age and property type, but was representative of a typical inner city area. Intensive trapping of mice in domestic properties was undertaken as part of a control programme and 200 mice were captured. DNA samples were extracted from the mice and analysed using eight mouse microsatellite markers. Analysis of heterozygosity frequencies, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and Bayesian clustering methods indicated that each block represented individual breeding units and that migration rates between blocks were very low. Mice were easily moving between adjoining properties (such as semi-detached houses or terraces-defined as housing blocks) but that between the housing blocks there was very little movement. These results have important implications for the approaches to control of house mouse infestations in areas suffering from chronic infestations and confirm that reactive treatment regimes, targeting individual properties within a block, are unlikely to result in long term control as migration from adjoining properties is probable, enabling mice to exploit the niches opened up by the removal of mice during control programmes. Whilst ‘block’ control may be more resource intensive in the short term, without such a strategic approach chronic infestations are likely to persist in urban areas.