Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Island mouse comes under scrutiny

St Kilda field mouse
The field mouse is heavier than its mainland relative

Researchers are to carry out a three-year study into the habits and lifecycle of the rare St Kilda field mouse.

The University of Edinburgh team aim to shed new light on the mammals' behaviour and population.

The mouse is heavier and has a different hair colouration on its belly to mainland field mice.

St Kilda's house mouse died out shortly after the remote island archipelago was abandoned by people in 1930.

Tom Black, the PhD student undertaking the research, said it was a "very exiting" to have the opportunity to study a little known British mammal.

He added: "Being able to address so many questions about the ecology and evolution of these mice within a single study and in a location as incredible as St Kilda is a rare privilege."

St Kilda is a dual Unesco World Heritage site and owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

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