SREL Reprint #0176




Coat Color and Survival of Displaced Wild and Laboratory Reared Old-field Mice


Michael H. Smith, Ronald W. Blessing, James L. Carmon and John B. Gentry



Wild and laboratory reared mice from central Florida and South Carolina were released into enclosures on the significantly darker South Carolina soils. The lighter southern mice disappeared at the same rate as the darker northern form, as did the males and females from both localities. Prior experience with field conditions was associated with a large selective advantage; the laboratory reared mice disappeared much faster than the wild mice. The correlation between soil and pelage color implies a selective advantage for mice to match the soil but this advantage must be relatively small because the light form did not disappear at a higher rate than did the darker mice. The relationship between reflectivity and wavelength was linear for both pelage and soil samples. This probably means that the evolution of the dorsal pelage color in this species takes place by modifications in the slope or the intercept of the pelage line.


SREL Reprint #0176

Smith, M.H., R.W. Blessing, J.L. Carmon, and J.B. Gentry. 1969. Coat color and survival of displaced wild and laboratory reared old field mice. Acta Theriologica 14:1-9.

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