Perdido Key Experience!
Mouse that lives at the beach?
PERDIDO KEY BEACH MOUSE
Photo Credit: Nick R. Holler
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Peromyscus polionotus
OTHER NAMES: None.
DESCRIPTION: Shares physical characteristics with the Alabama beach
mouse (Hall 1981b), but is lighter in color, with more white on the face
and cheeks (Bowen 1968). Boundary between dorsal and ventral pelage does not
extend as far down laterally as in the Alabama beach mouse. Dorsal tail stripe
is most commonly absent. The subspecies name, trissylepsis, derives from
the hypothesis that the subspecies arose from hybridization of nearby Alabama
and Santa Rosa beach mice with an inland subspecies of P. polionotus
DISTRIBUTION: Restricted to Perdido Key. Historically, distributed
along entire length of island (27.4 km [17 mi.]) starting in Alabama at Florida
Point and continuing eastward to the Pensacola Bay inlet (Holler 1992). At the
time of its listing, the only known population was at Florida Point. The
subspecies had apparently been extirpated from all other portions of the island
following Hurricane Fredrick in 1979 (Holliman 1983). By 1986, the number of
mice remaining was believed to be less than 30 animals, earning it the
unfortunate designation as the Most Endangered Small Mammal In North America.
Between November 1986 and April 1988, 15 pairs of Perdido Key beach mice were
relocated to the Johnson Beach Unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore (Holler et
al. 1989). Shortly afterward, following a series of storm events, the
population at Florida Point declined and was eventually lost. Predation by
domestic cats contributed significantly to the demise of this population.
Starting in 2000, a new population was reestablished on Perdido Key State
Recreation Area. The Johnson Beach and Perdido Key Recreation Area populations
are the only remaining sites known to be inhabited.
HABITAT: Similar to the Alabama beach mouse. Perdido Key is a
narrow barrier island and contains only limited areas of scrub habitat. In
occupied habitats, found in all areas from the frontal dunes to within several
feet of the northern bay.
LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: Despite distinct morphological and genetic
differences, the ecology of this subspecies is similar if not identical to the
Alabama beach mouse. Captive breeding of the subspecies has proven difficult,
which is unusual for this species and small behavioral differences have been
reported. Reproduction, food choice, and activity patterns are similar to other
subspecies. Marked variation between the Florida Point population and the
reestablished Johnson Beach population was observed for some characteristics.
Subadults at Johnson Beach dispersed an average of 675.9 meters (2,217 feet)
while at Florida Point the average was 173.1 meters (568 feet). Other estimates,
including neighborhood size and seasonal movements yielded similar differences.
These differences are believed to reflect variation in habitat quality. The
Johnson Beach site was heavily impacted by storm damage and has been slower to
BASIS FOR STATUS CLASSIFICATION: As with the Alabama beach mouse, loss
of habitat to real estate development was the primary underlying factor
resulting in this subspecies being listed as endangered. Starting with Hurricane
Fredrick in 1979, extensive human-induced habitat fragmentation has overridden
the Perdido Key beach mouse’s natural ability to reestablish itself after
storm events, thus resulting in reduced population numbers. Listed as endangered
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1986.
Author: Michael C. Wooten
Best Swimming: Perdido Key State Park (Florida)
America's Best Beaches
|Perdido Key (Perdido Chamber of Commerce)
Sugar-white sands, clean water, and great body surfing: The beach on Perdido
Key is a prime spot for jumping in and getting wet. While not exactly a
secret from condo developers, this super swimming hole is still a
get-out-the-magnifying-glass dot on the map. A 247-acre barrier island on the
Gulf of Mexico's Florida/Alabama border, the Key offers wide, white, sandy
beaches, rolling sand dunes covered with sea oats, and wildlife like the osprey,
dolphin, and loggerhead turtle.
How great is this beach? Stephen P. Leatherman (also known as Dr. Beach),
America's beach guru and a professor at Florida International University of
Miami, ranked it among America's best in 2000. His factors? Everything that's
important to a swimmer and beachcomber: sand softness, wave size and current
strength, water color and quality, and lifeguard protection.
Welcome to Perdido Key State Park
Barrier islands protect the Florida mainland from the harsh
effects of storms and provide habitats for shorebirds and other coastal animals.
Perdido Key is a 247-acre barrier island near Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico.
White sand beaches and rolling dunes covered with sea oats make this park a
favorite destination for swimmers and sunbathers. Surf fishing is another
popular activity. Boardwalks from the parking lot allow visitors to access the
beach without causing damage to the fragile dunes and beach vegetation. Covered
picnic tables overlooking the beach provide a great place for family outings.
Located 15 miles southwest of Pensacola, off State Road 292.
Contact me with any information you need for Pensacola, Fl
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