Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is known from Kenya and northern Tanzania. It is present on Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, the Ngorongoro crater, and in the highlands of southwestern Kenya. It is thought to occur at elevations of 2,000 to 4,000 m asl.
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Physical Description

Type Information

Type for Crocidura allex
Catalog Number: USNM 163089
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): J. Loring
Year Collected: 1909
Locality: Mount Kenia [= Kenya], W slope, Kenya, Africa
Elevation (m): 3048
  • Type: Heller, E. 1910 Jul 22. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 56 (9): 5.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Crocidura allex is a montane species found in alpine grassland and swamp areas, including above the treeline. Little additional information is available on the natural history of this species.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Associations

East African Montane Moorlands Associates

The Vulnerable East African Highland Shrew (Crocidura allex) is a near endemic to the East African Montane Moorlands ecoregion, and is also found in upper elevation portions of the adjacent East African montane forests ecoregion. The East African montane moorlands ecoregion is a specialized habitat occurring above 3000 metres in elevation in equatorial East Africa. Soils here are acidic and the climate is harsh, with year around nightly frost, accompanied by intense daytime solar insolation and heat. Glaciers cover the upper elevations of the ecoregion.

The King Mole Rat (Tachyoryctes rex) is an endemic mammal to the ecoregion; this is a burrowing rodent that is known only to the higher elevations of Mount Kenya. There are a number of other endemic small mammals to the East African montane moorlands; another endemic mammal to the ecoregion is the Mount Kenya Mole Shrew (Surdisorex polulus), which is found only at the higher elevations of Mount Kenya; however, this Vulnerable Mole Shrew is not a strict associate to all the other ecoregion fauna, since its range is not overlapping with most of the animals of this ecoregion. Another imputed endemic mammal to the ecoregion is Peter's Musk Shrew (Crocidura gracilipes).

A number of endemic anurans are found within the East African montane moorlands. The Marsabit Clawed Frog (Xenopus borealis) is a near endemic anuran, which is also found in the upper elevations of the adjacent East African montane forests ecoregion. Another near endemic amphibian is the Molo Frog (Amietia wittei), which is found only in the Kenyan central highlands and northern Tanzania in the East African montane moorlands and slightly lower in elevation in the East African montane forests. The near endemic Mountain Reed Frog (Hyperolius montanus) is found only in the Kenyan highlands of the ecoregion and also in the adjacent East African montane forests ecoregion. The Tigoni Reed Frog (Hyperolius cystocandicans) is a Vulnerable near endemic, found only in Kenya in this ecoregion and the adjacent East African montane forests.

The Mount Kenya Side-striped  Chameleon (Triceros schubotzi) is an endemic reptile forund in the ecoregion; a second member of this genus, Triceros sternfeldi, is also endemic to the East African montane moorlands. The High-casqued Chameleon (Triceros hoehnelii) is a near endemic reptile to the East African montane moorlands; it is also found in higher elevations of the adjacent East African montane forests ecoregion. The Kenya Montane Viper (Montatheris hindii) is a near endemic that occurs only in the Kenyan part of the ecoregion and at slightly lower elevations in parts of the Kenyan East African montane moorlands.  Special status reptiles found in the ecoregion include the Vulnerable Alpine Meadow Lizard (Adolfus alleni), a near endemic found only at high altitudes (above 2700 meters) on Mount Elgon, Mount Kenya, Cheragani Hills and the Aberdare Mountains.

There are a number of endemic plant groups within the ecoregion, likely driven by the extreme geographic isolation of these alpine patches. The giant groundsels are one prominent group of flowering plant species present; this unusual plant group achieves tree-like stature with some unusual methods of cold weather adaptation, even though they are members of the herbaceous family Asteraceae.

Certain giant lobelias occur in the East African montane moorlands. For example, Lobelia deckenii, found on Mount Kenya is characterised by small stores of water retained in its basal rosettes; although this retained water freezes each night, the frozen water protects the apical meristem held in a rather dense central leaf bud.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Hutterer, R., Jenkins, P. & Baxter, R.

Reviewer/s
Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Vulnerable because its extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 km², it is known from fewer than ten locations, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat

History
  • 2004
    Least Concern
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
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Population

Population
Although this species is generally considered to be relatively rare, it appears to be quite common in the afro-alpine zone at 3,500 m asl on Mount Kilimanjaro (Shore and Garbett 1991).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
On Mount Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro crater, this species is threatened by habitat loss resulting from small-holder farming and possibly disturbance from tourism. It is also probable that it is threatened by agricultural expansion in other parts of its range. It is suspected that global warming may become a threat in the near future to the mountain habitats of this species. The glacier on Kilimanjaro has significantly already significantly retreated.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species occurs in protected areas on Kilimanjaro and Meru. There are current plans to survey the Kenyan populations in near future (Nick Oguge pers. comm.). Further studies are needed into the distribution, abundance, breeding biology and general ecology of this species. Further information is also required on the status of its habitat to monitor the potential impacts of climate change.
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Wikipedia

East African highland shrew

The East African highland shrew (Crocidura allex) is a species of mammal in the Soricidae family. It is found in Kenya and Tanzania. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, and swamps.

References

  1. ^ Hutterer, R., Jenkins, P. & Baxter, R (2008). Crocidura allex. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
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