HomeHHMI's BioInteractivePocket Mouse and Predation


Free Resources for Science Education

Pocket Mouse and Predation

More About Pocket Mouse and Predation

The rock pocket mouse is found in two color variants, or morphs: light and dark. In different environments, their visibility to predators such as owls varies. The dark morph is more vulnerable on light sandy desert, and the light morph on dark lava rock.

Pocket Mouse and Predation Background

The rock pocket mouse normally lives in sandy parts of the desert. Any naturally occurring dark-colored mice are at a disadvantage on this light-colored background because they are easier to spot by owls and other predators. Lava flows in some areas, however, have changed the desert landscape to a dark color. In this new environment, light-colored mice are at a disadvantage, and any naturally occurring dark-colored mice are better able to survive and breed. This selective advantage allows the dark-colored pocket mouse variant to rapidly replace the existing population (see "Pocket Mouse Evolution" animation).

From Lecture One of the 2005 Holiday Lectures Series "Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads"

Pocket Mouse and Predation Teaching Tips

The animations in this section have a wide variety of classroom applications. Use the tips below to get started but look for more specific teaching tips in the near future. Please tell us how you are using the animations in your classroom by sending e-mail to biointeractive@hhmi.org.

  1. Use the animations to make abstract scientific ideas visible and concrete.
  2. Explain important scientific principles through the animations. For example, the biological clocks animations can be used to demonstrate the fundamentals of transcription and translation.
  3. Make sure that students learn the material by repeating sections of the animations as often as you think necessary to reinforce underlying scientific principles. You can start, restart, and play back sections of the animations.
  4. Urge students to use the animations in accordance with their own learning styles. Students who are more visually oriented can watch the animations first and read the text later, while others might prefer to read the explanations first and then view the graphics.
  5. Incorporate the animations into Web-based learning modules that you create to supplement your classroom curricula.
  6. Encourage students to incorporate the animations into their own Web-based projects.


The 2005 Holiday Lectures Series "Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads "

Pocket Mouse Predation Credits

Director: Dennis Liu, Ph.D.

Scientific Direction: Sean B. Carroll, Ph. D.

Scientific Content: Satoshi Amagai, Ph.D.

Animator: Chris Vargas

Download this item

Related Scientists

Vice President, Science Education

Additional Materials

Bulletin Article
Bulletin Article