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Deer mouse        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The deer mouse -- with its dark eyes, big ears, neat white belly, and bicolored furred tail -- is probably the most widely distributed North American mammal, occurring from coast to coast and from below sea level in Death Valley to above 4,000 meters on the nearby Sierra Nevada.   Consequently these abundant mice have been extensively studied for adaptations to high altitude; more recently they have become somewhat notorious as the natural carriers of Sin Nombre virus, the pathogen responsible for the often-lethal Hantaviral pulmonary disease.   Fortunately, Hanta seems to be hard to catch.   These deer mice came from the White Mountains of eastern California. I set up a little studio in my lab and used electronic flash to provide illumination and freeze (at least partially) the quick movements of the whiskers.

  • Canon 10D, 100 mm Canon macro lens or 70-200 f4L lens with extension tubes, electronic flash (2004)