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A Reproductive Riddle

Scanning electron micrographs of the penis from a fawn hopping mouse (left) and spinifex hopping mouse (right) showing the narrower shaft but much larger spines that enable the spinifex hopping mouse’s penis to lock into place during mating.

Scanning electron micrographs of the penis from a fawn hopping mouse (left) and spinifex hopping mouse (right) showing the narrower shaft but much larger spines that enable the spinifex hopping mouse’s penis to lock into place during mating.

By Bill Breed

They look cute and even like to cuddle, but what do the small testes and spikey penis of the spinifex hopping mouse tell us about their ability to survive and thrive between periods of drought and flooding rain?

Bill Breed is a Professor at The University of Adelaide and co-author of Native Mice and Rats (CSIRO Publishing, 2007).

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