Global warming threatens to expand the range of field mice in Eurasia

In the coming decades, the range of field mice, a dangerous pest of agricultural crops, may significantly expand by 80% towards the north and east. This conclusion was made by Russian and American researchers based on climate change models. As a result of global warming, which leads to an increase in average annual temperatures and changes in climate belts, flora and fauna are forced to migrate to new habitats or change their behavior. Ecologists have turned their attention to field mice, one of the most common rodent species in Eurasia.

Field mice (Apodemus agrarius) are dangerous pests of cereal crops and carry many diseases dangerous to humans, including hemorrhagic fever. Currently, they inhabit mainly Eastern Europe and the European part of Russia. However, according to research, the range of these rodents could expand significantly if temperatures on Earth rise by more than two degrees Celsius by 2100.

Scientists analyzed the habitat conditions of field mice and their response to climate change. The research showed that with rising temperatures and decreasing precipitation levels, the range of field mice could expand by about 80%. The main direction of range expansion will be towards Siberia and the Russian Far East, while some existing habitats in the south, in the steppe zone of Russia, may be abandoned due to too hot and dry climate.

Ecologists believe that such an expansion of field mice range could lead to serious reorganization of ecosystems and increase the risk of infectious diseases. Therefore, the authorities of the regions that will become the new habitat of these rodents should take timely measures to limit their spread and prevent the introduction of infections.

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