(order Rodentia, suborder Myomorpha)
A large and very successful family that comprises the hamsters, voles, lemmings, gerbils, and the New World rats and mice. The family is almost certainly paraphyletic. Most are terrestrial (and some of these are burrowing) but others are semi-aquatic. Their form varies according to their adaptation to a particular way of life. Peromyscus leucopus is the white-footed deer mouse of N. America, which bears a striking resemblance to the field mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) of Europe, which belongs to the Muridae. The family also includes Mesocricetus auratus (golden hamster), and Ondatra zibethicus (musk-rat or musquash). Their distribution is world-wide except for Australasia and Malaysia. There are about 97 genera, with some 567 species.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.