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- ITSES -
INSECTIVORE, TREE SHREW & ELEPHANT SHREW SPECIALIST GROUP


Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrews:
Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan
Published 1995


Soricinae | Anourosorex | Blarinella| B. quadraticauda | B. wardi | Chimarrogale | C. hantu| C. himalayica | C. phaeura | C. platycephala | C. styani | C. sumatrana | Nectogale elegans | Neomys | N. anomalus | N. fodiens | N. schelkovnikovi


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Sub-family Soricinae

The sub-family Soricinae is represented by seven genera (57 species) in Eurasia, as shown in Table 2.4.

Table 2. 4. Classification of the Eurasian
Soricidae - Sub-family Soricinae (Hutterer, 1993)
Genus
Species
Anourosorex

Blarinella

Chimarrogale





Nectogale
Neomys


Sorex
































Soriculus
A. squamipes

B. quadricauda
B. wardi
C. hantu
C. himalayica
C. phaeura
C. platycephala
C. styani
C. sumatrana
N. elegans
N. anomalus
N. fodiens
N. schelkovnikovi
S. alpinus
S. araneus
S. asper
S. bedfordiae
S. buchariensis
S. caecutiens
S. camtschatica
S. cansalus
S. coronatus
S. cylindricauda
S. daphaenodon
S. excelsus
S. gracillimus
S. granarius
s. hosonoi
S. isodon
S. kozlovi
S. leucogaster
S. minutissimus
S. minutus
S. mirabilis
S. planiceps
S. portenkoi
S. raddei
S. roboratus
S. sadonis
S. samniticus
S. satunini
S. shinto
S. sinalis
S. thibetanus
S. unguiculatus
S. volnuchini

S. caudatus
S. fumidus
S. hypsibius
S. lamula
S. leucops
S. macrurus
S. nigrescens
S. parca
S. salenskii
S. smithii


GENUS ANOUROSOREX - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

The genus Anourosorex contains just a single species of burrowing shrew which occurs in West and Central China, northern Myanmar, northern Thailand, Assam (India), Bhutan, North Vietnam, Taiwan and, possibly, Laos.

Mole shrew (Anourosorex squamipes) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Anourosorex squamipes Milne-Edwards 1872. A number of subspecies have been proposed but it is doubtful if these justify recognition (Corbet, 1992), apart from the insular form yamashinai on Taiwan.

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: This burrowing shrew measures some 85-108mm, with a short tail of 9-17mm. Eyes are minute and the ears are concealed in the fur. The fur is soft, dense and velvet in texture, being longest on the rump, forming an elevated tuft. There is often a mucilaginous exudate on these elongated hairs. Upper parts are dark olive-grey with paler underparts. The feet are short, broad, naked and scaled with comparatively long claws. The tail is also scaled and is slightly shorter than the hind foot. The nose is long and pointed.

Distribution: The single species in this genus A. squamipes, the mole shrew is found from West and Central China (from Shaanxi and Hubei to Yunnan) up to 3000m; northern Myanmar, northern Thailand, Assam, Bhutan, North Vietnam, and on Taiwan from 300-3000m. It may also occur in Laos.

Habitat: Through much of its range, this forest-dwelling species lives at elevations of 1500-3100m in areas of montane forest. It is semi-fossorial, burrowing in leaf litter and loose topsoil. Syntopic with Soriculus fumidus in Taiwan.

Ecology and behaviour: No information is available on the behaviour of this species.

GENUS BLARINELLA - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

The genus Blarinella comprises two species of burrowing shrews which are restricted to North Myanmar and parts of southern China. One of these species, the southern short-tailed shrew (Blarinella wardi), has only recently been recognised as a distinct species.

Northern short-tailed shrew (Blarinella quadraticauda) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Blarinella quadraticauda Milne-Edwards 1872.

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: The body form of Blarinella is somewhat modified for burrowing, with a stout body and short, slender tail. Body length is approximately 60-75mm, with a short tail measuring 30-40mm. The upper parts are brownish-grey with a silver or smoky-grey reflection. The dorsal fur is a paler colour. Claws on both fore and hind limbs are large and external bodily appendages are reduced, further suggesting that this is a burrowing species.

Distribution: This species has a restricted range in the mountains and highlands of China, specifically Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi and southern Gansu provinces, at altitudes of 2000-3500m (Hoffmann, 1987). Several isolated populations may occur within this region.

Habitat: This specialised species is only found in montane taiga forest.

Southern short-tailed shrew (Blarinella wardi) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Blarinella wardi Thomas 1915. Formerly considered a subspecies of B. quadraticauda, but separated from it by Hutterer (1993) on the basis of much smaller size.

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Near Threatened).

Description: A slightly smaller species than B. quadraticauda which may be distinguished by the much shorter tail length - about half that of the head and body (Hoffmann, 1987).

Distribution: Northern Myanmar and Yunnan (China).

Habitat: The preferred habitat of this species is unknown; it is probably montane forest.

Ecology and behaviour: No additional information is available on this species at the present time.

GENUS CHIMARROGALE - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

The Asiatic water shrews (Genus Chimarrogale) are a predominantly Oriental genus of five (Hoffmann, 1987) or six species (Hutterer, 1993). In appearance, all are relatively large shrews which, as their name suggests, are modified for an aquatic life. In all species, the eyes are small and the reduced ears have a valvular flap which seals the ear when submerged. The feet are fringed with stiff hairs on both lateral edges of the digits. The tail is relatively long. All members of this genus have a swollen area at the bases of the vibrissae. As in other semiaquatic insectivores their dense fur is water repellent and considerable time must be spent grooming to ensure that this is maintained in good condition. These shrews usually inhabit streams in mountain forests at altitudes of up to 3300m. They are apparently able to swim well under water and are occasionally caught in fish traps (Walker, 1991). Their diet consists of insects, aquatic larvae, crustaceans, and possibly small fish.

Malayan water shrew (Chimarrogale hantu) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Chimarrogale hantu Harrison 1958. Formerly included in C. himalayica by Medway (1977), and considered a subspecies of C. phaeura by Hoffmann (1987) and Corbet (1992); but see Hutterer (1993).

IUCN Category of Threat: Critically Endangered (B I and 2c).

Distribution: This species has only been recorded from the Malay Peninsula, specifically the Ulu Langat Forest Reserve, Selangor.

Himalayan water shrew (Chimarrogale himalayica) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Crossopus himalayicus Gray 1842. Body size decreases from the Himalayas through south-west China, towards south-east China and Taiwan.

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: Body colour is dark grey-brown with conspicuous silvery guard hairs on the hindquarters. Feet are fringed with short, rather stiff hairs, a feature unique to this species. Head and body length ranges from 80-135mm, while tail length is 60-126mm. Body weight ranges from 25-40g.

Distribution: This species is widely distributed throughout southern and western China, as well as in the Himalayan region west to Kashmir, northern Myanmar, Laos, North Vietnam and Taiwan (Jones and Mumford, 1971). Its distribution has recently been mapped by Zheng and Wang (1985).

Habitat: This species frequents mountain streams, at altitudes of 800-1500m in the Himalayas.

Ecology and behaviour: No information is available at the present time.

Borneo water shrew (Chimarrogale phaeura) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Chimarrogale phaeura Thomas 1898. This species has previously been included in C. platycephala (Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951) but has been designated a separate species both by Hoffmann (1987) and Corbet (1992).

IUCN Category of Threat: Endangered (Bl and 2c).

Description: Probably similar in size and appearance to C. himalayica.

Distribution: This species is only known from Mt Kinabalu and Mt Trus Madi, northern Borneo.

Habitat: A semi-aquatic species, it lives in mountain streams from an altitude of 460-1700m.

Ecology and behaviour: No information available.


Chimarrogale platycephala - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: C. platycephala Temminck 1842. This species has frequently been included with C. himalayica but is treated here as a separate species, following Hoffmann (1987).

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: Appearance similar to C. himalayica. Head and body length ranges from 103-133mm; tail length from 94-105mm.

Distribution: This species has only been reported from Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, Japan (Abe, pers. comm.). See also Hoffmann (1 987) and Imaizumi (1 970).

Habitat: This species usually inhabits the banks of clear streams and the basins of waterfalls in mountain regions, as high as 1500m (Abe, pers. comm.).

Ecology and behaviour: C. platycephala feeds mainly on aquatic insects and small fish. They are active throughout the day. No information is available on their social behaviour.

Styan's water shrew (Chimarrogale styani) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Chimarrogale styani de Winton 1899.

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: Body colour predominantly grey, lacking the brown colours of other members of this genus. C. styaniis also slightly smaller than other species, measuring an average of 108mm.

Distribution: This species has been recorded from southwest China in Sichuan, South Shaanxi, south-east Qinghai, eastern Tibet, West Yunnan and in north-east Myanmar. Its distribution has been mapped by Zheng and Wang (1985).

Habitat: Clear, unpolluted mountain streams at altitudes of 1570-3100m (in Myanmar).

Ecology and behaviour: No information available at the present time.

Sumatra water shrew (Chimarrogale sumatrana) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Chimarrogale sumatrana Thomas 1912. Considered a subspecies of C. phaeura by Hoffmann (1987) and Corbet (1992); but see Hutterer (1993).

IUCN Category of Threat: Critically Endangered (Bl and 2c).

Distribution: This species has only been recorded from the Padang highlands, West Sumatra.


GENUS NECTOGALE - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

A single species, the elegant water shrew (Nectogale elegans), is represented in this Asian genus. A highly distinctive species, it frequents high altitude mountain streams.

Elegant/Tibetan water shrew (Nectogale elegans)

Taxonomy: Nectogale elegans Milne-Edwards 1870. One variant, N. sikhimensis was based on its larger size and brown pelage. The latter, however, is not judged to be a separate species (Hoffmann, 1987; Corbet, 1992).

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: This attractive species was first described to science by the missionary Père Armand David. These shrews have a soft fur which is slate grey on the head, sides and back, and silver-white on the underside. The long tail (89-110mm) is generally black in colour with two lateral fringes of white hairs which come together and continue along the undersurface to the tip. Two other lateral fringes begin at the first third section of the tail and fade out at the terminal third. Finally, a dorsal fringe of stiff white hairs begins at about the beginning of the terminal third and continues to the tip. Altogether, this gives the tail a four-sided appearance at the base, triangular in section in the middle and laterally compressed towards the tip.

Distribution: The web-footed, elegant, ortibetanwater shrew is found only in the mountain streams of southwest China (South Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan), southeast Tibet, northern Myanmar and the Himalayas west to Sikkim and to eastern Nepal (McNeely, pers. comm.).

Habitat: The elegant water shrew inhabits clean mountain streams at altitudes of about 900-2270m.

Ecology and behaviour: This species swims and dives remarkably well and shelters in burrows in stream banks. Its diet is composed of small fish and aquatic invertebrates. No other details are available at present.


GENUS NEOMYS - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

A clearly defined genus confined to the Palaearctic region. Three species are recognised, each distinguished from other shrews by their dark dorsal fur, red-tipped teeth, presence of four pairs of upper unicuspid teeth and smooth, unlobed first lower incisors. All are semi-aquatic species.

Southern water shrew (Neomys anomalus) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Neomys anomalus Cabrera 1907.

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: Slightly smaller (head and body length 65-85mm) than N. fodiens. Distinguished from N. fodiens by the lesser development of the keel of specialised hairs under the tail. Such a keel is either absent or confined to the terminal third of the tail. Underside of the body is also more consistently pale than in N. fodiens.

Distribution: A wide but discontinuous range in the mountains of west and central Europe: in Portugal, Spain, the Massif Central of France, Alps, Italy, Germany (west of the Eifel), Belgium, Balkans, the lowlands of eastern Europe east to Crimea and the River Don; perhaps west to Asia Minor (Osborn, 1965) and, perhaps, Iran. In eastern Europe, it is more common on low ground.

Habitat: Similar to N. fodiens. Both species may occur together.

Ecology and behaviour: Probably similar to N. fodiens, although this species has not been well studied.




Neomys anomalus

The southern water shrew (Neomys anomalus) has a discontinuous range in the mountains of west and central Europe. (Photo by Peter Vogel)



Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Neomys fodiens Pennant 1771.

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: One of the largest (head and body length 70-90mm; weight 12-18g) and darkest of the European shrews. Theupperside is almostblackwhilethe underside is very variable in colour - sometimes pale silvery-grey, but usually suffused with brown and occasionally black. The tail has a prominent keel of stiff silvery hairs extending the whole length of the underside. The hind feet have similar fringes.

Distribution: Neomys fodiens is found throughout most of Europe except Iceland, Ireland and most of Iberia (apart from the Pyrenees and northern Spain). It also occurs on most Mediterranean islands, and has been recorded from Albania, Greece and Turkey. Further cast, it ranges through western Siberia as far as the Yenesei River and Lake Baikal, and south to northern Asia Minor, Tien Shan and north-western Mongolia. In east Siberia it has an apparently disjunct population from north-eastern China, North Korea and Vladivostok to the mouth of the Amur. It has also been recorded from the island of Sakhalin.

Habitat: Rivers, streams and lakes with abundant riparian vegetation, as well as ponds, marshes, water-cress beds and on boulder-strewn sea shores. Occasionally found far from water. Recorded up to 2500m in the Alps.

Ecology and behaviour: Essentially a solitary species outside of the breeding season. In captivity it exhibits a marked territorial behaviour. Home ranges extend from 20-30m2 on land, to 60-80m2 (including water surface) along brooks in Germany (Illing et al., 1981). It appears to spend only a brief time (a few months) in one area before moving on, exhibiting an intermittent nomadic existence with frequent shifts of home range (Churchfield, 1984; Pitt, 1945; Shillito, 1963). Neomys fodiens displays a preference for living along the banks of clear, fast-flowing unpolluted rivers and streams, but is also found by ponds and drainage ditches. The species occasionally occurs far from water (up to 3km) in deciduous woodland, hedgerows and grassland (Churchfield, 1991). In Poland, it has also been found in coniferous woodland (Dehnel, 1950). The Eurasian water shrew is active by day and night but with an apparent preference for darkness. Peak activity occurs just before dawn and it is least active in the late morning (Crowcroft, 1954). Usually establishes a burrow system which it creates itself. Foraging is conducted in the water and on the land surface, feeding on a wide range of invertebrates, as well as frogs, newts and small fish. This species paralyses large prey with venomous saliva. In Europe, the diet overlaps considerably with that of Sorex araneus and S. minutus. The breeding season extends from April to September, reaching a peak in May and June (Price, 1953). Two litters are generally produced each breeding season.

Neomys fodiens

The Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens) is one of the largest and most easily recognised of all shrews. (Photo by Peter Vogel)

Neomys fodiens foraging

Equally at home on land and in water the Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens) forages for aquatic snails and insect larvae amongst the detritus on stream beds. (Photo by Peter Vogel)

Neomys fodiens nest

Juvenile Eurasian water shrews (Neomys fodiens) are cared for entirely by their mother. (Photo by Peter Vogel)


Transcaucasian water shrew (Neomys schelkovnikovi) - Return to Top of Page | Table of contents

Taxonomy: Neomys schelkovnikovi Satunin 1913.

IUCN Category of Threat: Lower Risk (subcategory Least Concern).

Description: Dorsal surface velvet brown-black in appearance; ventral parts dark grey. Longer fur than other water shrews. Length of body and head 80mm; tail 62mm. Tip of tail completely white.

Distribution: The only records of this species are from Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. It may also occur in adjacent Turkey and Iran.





CITATION:
IUCN. 1995. Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrews - Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. (Compiled by Stone, R. David, IUCN/SSC Insectivore, Tree Shrew and Elephant Shrew Specialist Group). IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. vii + 164 pp. ISBN 2-8317-0062-0


Online version: http://members.vienna.at/shrew/itsesAP95-cover.html

Copyright © 1995 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources


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