The genus Eligmodontia consists of five or six species of South American sigmodontine mice restricted to Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Species of Eligmodontia occur along the eastern side of the Andes Mountains, in Patagonia, and in the Chaco thorn forest of South America. They can be found in arid and semiarid habitats and in both high and low elevation areas. These rodents are commonly known as gerbil mice or by their local name lauchas. Sometimes they are also called silky desert mice, highland desert mice or silky-footed mice. The closest living relatives are probably the chaco mice (Andalgalomys), the leaf-eared mice (Graomys, Paralomys and Phyllotis), and Salinomys.