Physical characteristics

The murid species in these subfamilies vary widely in size and other physical features. Most species are small and mouse-sized, usually with moderately long tails and a generally brownish fur color. However, many species have adopted fos-sorial modes of life, becoming large and robust, with reduced eyes and ears, and teeth and limbs modified for digging. Others, in particular the gerbillines, have become adapted to a nocturnal existence in primarily arid landscapes. These species are capable of jumping locomotion as a result of enlarged and modified hind limbs. They also have greatly enlarged auditory bullae, resulting in an extraordinarily keen sense of hearing. Species in several of the subfamilies strongly resemble other murid rodents such as voles (Arvicolinae) and hamsters (Cricetinae), and members of other rodent families such as pocket gophers (Geomyidae), dormice (Gliridae), jumping mice (Zapodidae), and jerboas (Dipodidae), illustrating the evolutionary plasticity of these groups.

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