The prevalence of gall stones (100% cholesterol) in a deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) population located in Siskiyou County, California (USA) was studied on a monthly basis from February 1985 through January 1988. During each year we documented a pronounced annual cyclicity with peak prevalence (31 to 53%) during the winter and low prevalence (2 to 3%) during late summer. Gall stone prevalence was not related to sex or age of the animal. The earliest onset of gall stone production and the maximum prevalence achieved were associated with the greatest abundance of deer mice; lower levels of population abundance were associated with later onset of gall stone production and lower peak prevalences. This association of gall stone prevalence with both season and population abundance levels suggests that the causative factor(s) is/are related to the quality and availability of the diet.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4