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Title: Taxonomy and Distribution of Some American Shrews
Author: Findley, James S.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Volume 7, No. 14, pp. 613-618

June 10, 1955

Taxonomy and Distribution
of Some American Shrews





Editors: E. Raymond Hall, Chairman, A. Byron Leonard,
Robert W. Wilson

Volume 7, No. 14, pp. 613-618
Published June 10, 1955

Lawrence, Kansas



Taxonomy and Distribution of Some American Shrews

by James S. Findley

_=Sorex cinereus ohionensis=_ Bole and Moulthrop.--In their description of
this subspecies from Ohio, Bole and Moulthrop (1942:89-95) made no
mention of specimens in the United States Biological Surveys Collection
from Ellsworth and Milford Center, Ohio, which stand in the literature
(see Jackson, 1928:49) as _Sorex cinereus cinereus_. These two
localities lie south of the geographic range ascribed to _S. c.
ohionensis_ by Bole and Moulthrop. Examination of the two specimens,
United States Biological Surveys Collection, Catalogue No. 70566, and
United States National Museum, No. 19434, respectively, both of which
are alcoholics, reveals that they are referable to the subspecies
_ohionensis_ rather than to _S. c. cinereus_. This reference is made on
the basis of small size, short tail (33 and 31 millimeters,
respectively), and fourth upper unicuspid as large as third (the
specimen from Milford Center lacks the skull). The occurrence at Milford
Center provides a southward extension of known range for _S. c.
ohionensis_ of approximately 70 miles. _S. c. cinereus_ seems not to
occur in Ohio.

_=Cryptotis micrura=_ (Tomes).--Davis (1944:376) assigned a _Cryptotis_
from Boca del Río, Veracruz, to _Cryptotis parva berlandieri_ (Baird).
Comparison of this specimen, Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collections, No.
2765, with 8 specimens of _C. micrura_ from various parts of northern
Veracruz and with 9 _C. parva_ from southern Tamaulipas reveals that the
shrew from Boca del Río is referable to _Cryptotis micrura_. The series
of 8 specimens in the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History
from Altamira, Tamaulipas, provides the southernmost known record of
_Cryptotis parva berlandieri_. These 8 specimens are typical of _C. p.
berlandieri_ and show no approach to _C. micrura_. Average and extreme
cranial measurements of 7 specimens from 1 mi. S Altamira are:
condylobasal length, 15.6 (15.2-16.1); palatal length, 6.6 (6.4-6.7);
maxillary tooth-row, 5.7 (5.4-5.8); cranial breadth, 7.6 (7.4-8.0);
least interorbital breadth, 3.5 (3.4-3.7); maxillary breadth, 5.0
(4.8-5.2). Cranial measurements of 8 specimens of _C. micrura_ from
various localities in northern Veracruz (1 km. E Mecayucan, 1; 7 km. NNW
Cerro Gordo, 3; Teocelo, 2; 7 km. W El Brinco, 1; 5 km. N Jalapa, 1)
are: condylobasal length, 17.1 (16.6-17.4); palatal length, 7.1
(6.9-7.4); maxillary tooth-row, 6.2 (5.9-6.4); cranial breadth, 8.5
(8.3-8.6); least interorbital breadth, 3.7 (3.6-4.1); maxillary breadth,
5.3 (5.1-5.6). _C. parva_ and _C. micrura_ may intergrade but a distance
of 140 miles separates the geographic ranges as now known of the two
kinds and every specimen examined by me is clearly referable to one or
the other of the two named kinds and shows no evidence of

_=Notiosorex crawfordi crawfordi=_ Baird.--A specimen in the Museum of
Natural History from Jaumave, and one from Palmillas, Tamaulipas,
collected by Gerd Heinrich, provide records of the easternmost margin of
the range of this species in Mexico. Assignment is made to the
subspecies _crawfordi_ on geographic grounds. The two specimens differ
from a male from 13 mi. S and 15 mi. W Guadalajara, Jalisco, referred
(Twente and Baker, 1951:121) to _N. c. evotis_ (Coues) in slightly
larger size; however two skulls from owl pellets from 21 mi. SW
Guadalajara, also referred to _evotis_ (_loc. cit._), seem to me to
differ in no important way from skulls of the Tamaulipan specimens.
Measurements of the Tamaulipan specimens, both females, 54932 KU and
54933 KU, are respectively: condylobasal length, --, 16.7; palatal
length, --, 7.2; maxillary tooth-row, 6.6, 6.1; cranial breadth, 8.3,
8.1; least interorbital breadth, --, 3.5; maxillary breadth, --, 5.1;
total length, 90, 90; tail, 28, 30; hind foot, 11.0, 11.5; ear, 8, 8.

The only other eastern Mexican record of _N. crawfordi_ is based on two
skulls from owl pellets collected 3 mi. NW Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila
(Baker, 1953:253).

_=Sorex oreopolus emarginatus=_ Jackson.--A first-year female _Sorex_, KU
54346, obtained by Rollin H. Baker from 7 mi. SW Las Adjuntas, 8900 ft.,
Durango, seems closest, among Mexican shrews that I have examined, to
two specimens of _S. emarginatus_ from Plateado, 7600 to 8500 ft.,
Zacatecas. Measurements of the Las Adjuntas specimen are: total length,
88; tail, 39; hind foot, 13; palatal length, 7.2; maxillary tooth-row,
6.4; maxillary breadth, 4.9; least interorbital breadth, 3.6.

_Sorex emarginatus_ previously was known only from Plateado and the type
locality, Bolanos, Jalisco. Comparison of these three specimens with
specimens of other species of Mexican shrews of the _S. saussurei_ group
leads me to conclude that the group contains two species rather than
four as was previously thought. _Sorex emarginatus_, _S. ventralis_, and
_S. oreopolus_ seem to me to be conspecific. All three nominal species
are relatively small, short-tailed shrews. The skulls of the three kinds
resemble one another in relatively short rostrum and in dental details.
Slight differences in cranial proportions differentiate the three and
they should, until more specimens of each are obtained and studied,
retain subspecific rank. The specific name, _Sorex oreopolus_ Merriam
1892, should apply to the three kinds since it antedates the names
_ventralis_ and _emarginatus_. The two names last given, therefore,
should stand as _Sorex oreopolus ventralis_ Merriam and _Sorex oreopolus
emarginatus_ Jackson. The two species, the large _S. saussurei_, and the
small _S. oreopolus_, as the latter is here understood, occur together
over an extensive region in southern Mexico. In other parts of North
America a large and a small species of _Sorex_ often occur together in a
given area.

The Las Adjuntas specimen was taken only 10 miles southwest of El Salto,
Durango, the type locality of _S. durangae_ Jackson. Jackson (1928:101)
placed _durangae_ in the _Sorex vagrans-obscurus_ species group, but the
two specimens available to him were second year adults with the teeth so
much worn that diagnostic characters are not visible on them. I have
examined these two specimens (United States Biological Surveys
Collection 94539 and 94540) and find that in bodily and cranial
proportions they resemble _Sorex s. saussurei_, and I so assign them.

_=Sorex milleri=_ Jackson.--Koestner (1941:10) reported 5 _Sorex_ from
Cerro Potosí, near La Jolla, Municipio de Galeana, Nuevo Leon, as _Sorex
emarginatus_. Comparison of 4 of these specimens (Chicago Museum of
Natural History, 48227, 48228, 48229, 48230) with two _S. emarginatus_
from Plateado, Zacatecas, and specimens of other species of _Sorex_
indicates that the Cerro Potosí shrews differ in many features from
_emarginatus_, but closely resemble, in size and cranial characters, a
specimen (F. W. Miller, No. 20) of _S. milleri_ from Sierra del Carmen,
Coahuila, and seems to be referable to that species which was not named
when Koestner (_loc. cit._) recorded his specimen. The range of _S.
milleri_ is therefore extended southwestward to western central Nuevo

Comparison of _S. milleri_ with specimens of other species of North
American _Sorex_ leads me to conclude that _S. milleri_ is most closely
related to_ S. cinereus_ Kerr, and should be included in the _S.
cinereus_ group rather than in the _S. vagrans-obscurus_ group. _Sorex
cinereus_ and _S. milleri_ are alike, and both differ from even the
smallest _S. vagrans_ in relatively long and narrow rostrum, narrow
teeth, smaller skull, and in having the third upper unicuspid more often
equal to or smaller than, rather than larger than, the fourth unicuspid.

I judge _S. milleri_ to be a relict population of _S. cinereus_,
isolated in the mountains of northeastern Mexico, probably in the late
Pleistocene. _Sorex cinereus_ reported from Pleistocene deposits in San
Josecito Cave, Nuevo Leon (Findley, 1953:635), probably represents a
population ancestral to the modern _S. milleri_. _Sorex milleri_ should
retain specific status because of constant cranial differences from _S.
cinereus_, particularly relatively broader rostrum.



     1953. Mammals from owl pellets taken in Coahuila, Mexico. Trans.
     Kansas Acad. Sci., 56:253-254.


     1942. The Ohio Recent mammal collection in the Cleveland Museum of
     Natural History. Sci. Publs. Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist., 5:83-181,
     September 11.


     1944. Notes on Mexican mammals. Jour. Mamm., 25:370-403, December


     1953. Pleistocene Soricidae from San Josecito Cave, Nuevo Leon,
     Mexico. Univ. Kansas Publ., Mus. Nat. Hist., 5:635-639, December 1.


     1928. A taxonomic review of the American long-tailed shrews (Genera
     Sorex and Microsorex). N. Amer. Fauna, 51:I-VI, 1-238, 13 pls., 24
     text figs., July 24.


     1941. An annotated list of mammals collected in Nuevo Leon, Mexico,
     in 1938. Great Basin Nat., 2:9-15, February 20.

TWENTE, J. H., and R. H. BAKER.

     1951. New records of mammals from Jalisco, Mexico, from barn owl
     pellets. Jour. Mamm., 32:120-121, February 15.


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