Three loci in the genome of the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus, were examined for the presence or absence of orthologous copies of the retrovirus-like element mys using polymerase chain reaction. We examined these loci in 28 mice collected throughout the P. leucopus species range. Mys insertions were present in only one of the individuals examined at the mys-1 and mys-7 loci. Conversely, the mys-6 element was found in several individuals, but the presence of this element was limited to northern latitudes. Because the long terminal repeats (LTRs) of a given element are expected to be identical at the time of retrotransposition into the genome, and to accumulate changes over evolutionary time, within-element LTR sequence comparisons can be used to estimate the relative age of insertions. Within-element LTR differences are greater in mys-6 than in mys-1 or mys-7. The LTRs from orthologous mys-6 elements of six mice were sequenced. The alignment revealed 13 of the 22 differences between the right and left LTRs that were shared by all orthologous mys-6 sites, suggesting that relative to its time of insertion into the genome, mys-6 has only recently spread across the northern part of the species range.