The lesser white-toothed shrew is a medium-sized shrew. The upperparts of the body and side grayish or reddish brown in color. Tail relatively long. Tail color varies from grayish to brownish above, paler below with bristles dispersed along the entire length. Distinctive line dividing the upperparts from the underparts. Underparts and feet whitish. Snout broad. Ears small but distinguished. Eyes small.
Distribution in Egypt
Narrow (Sinai and Mediterranean coast).
Length: 55–63 mm. Tail length: 25–37 mm.
Catalog Number: USNM 105801
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): E. Zollikofer
Year Collected: 1900
Locality: Zuberwangen, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland, Europe
- Type: Miller, G. S. 1901 Jun 27. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 14: 95.
Habitat and Ecology
In southwest Asia it has been collected from habitats with long dry grasses; thick vegetation along streams, river edges and vegetation channels; around houses and in forested areas (Bates and Harrison 1989, Tez 2000). Its main requirement is enough vegetation and moisture to support its insect prey, and in arid areas it tends to be more common near springs and oases; however, it is more tolerant of dry conditions than many of its congeners (Qumsiyeh 1996).
The gestation period is 28 days and life expectancy one year; a female may have 10-12 litters, each with one to seven young, although usually four (Qumsiyeh 1996).
The lesser white-toothed shrew found in a variety of habitats, among shrubs in coastal sand dunes or dense plants in rocky deserts, humid or arid conditions.
Life History and Behavior
Diurnal animal with maximum activity from 5 to 8 pm, otherwise hiding between shrubs or under rocks. Feeds on snails, earthworm and arthropods, especially insects. Lesser white-toothed shrew secretes pheromones to communicate with other individuals. It is typically a solitary species. Lesser white-toothed shrew breeds from one to seven times throughout the year, but mainly from March to May. Female gives birth to five litters each containing from one to six young after a gestation period of around 28 days. The young open their eyes at 10 days and reaches sexual maturity after 3 months. Lesser white-toothed shrew can live for 2.5 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Crocidura suaveolens
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 15
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Status in Egypt
Lesser white-toothed shrew
The Lesser White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura suaveolens) is a tiny shrew with a widespread distribution in Africa, Asia and Europe, but not in most of Spain, north–west France and mainland Great Britain. Its preferred habitat is scrub and gardens and it feeds on insects, worms, slugs, snails, newts and small rodents. The closely related Asian Lesser White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura shantungensis) was once included in this species, but is now considered to be a separate species.
Like the common shrew, a female lesser white-toothed shrew and her young may form a "caravan" when foraging for food or seeking a place of safety: each shrew grips the tail of the shrew in front so that the group stays together.
The Scilly Shrew
The population found on the Isles of Scilly, off the southwest coast of England, was once thought to be a sub-species, Crocidura suaveolens cassiteridum, and is known as the Scilly Shrew. Skull and tooth measurements of individuals from Scilly are found to be intermediate in size of those in the Channel Islands and the darker fur of the Scilly specimens is not considered a valid reason for the naming of a sub-species. It is unusual in that it can be found on the islands' beaches. Archaeological remains indicate that it was present on the islands in the bronze age, so it may have been present before the Isles of Scilly became separated from the European continent, or may have migrated from the Channel Islands or Europe onboard ships.
In July 1924 W N Blair found an unknown species of shrew on Gugh and sent it to the mammal expert, Mr Hinton, at the British Museum. This specimen, held at the museum, is the type for the species. Ten years earlier H N Robinson found an unknown rodent at Old Town St Mary's and sent it to Mr F W Smalley "who had the largest collection of rodents in the country". The Scillonian name for the animal is "teak" or "teke". In 2010, a Scilly shrew made headlines on BBC Cornwall when it stowed away on the passenger ferry RMV Scillonian III. It was only discovered as the ship was about to arrive in Penzance. The shrew was flown back to the Isles of Scilly the next day on a Skybus plane and then released back into its natural environment.
- Hutterer, R. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Insectivore Specialist Group (1996). Crocidura suaveolens. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 2006-05-12. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
- "Lesser white-toothed shrew". ARKive. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- Harris, S; Yalden, D. W. "Mammals of the British Isles". The Mammal Society.
- Lord D (2009). In CISFBR, ed. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (2nd ed.). Praze-an-Beeble: Croceago Press. pp. 402–417. ISBN 978-1-901685-01-5.
- "Scilly shrew". Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- Blair, W.N. (1926) Blair's White-toothed Shrew. Scillonian 5:164-5.
- Robinson, H.W. (1925) A New British Animal Discovered in Scilly. Scillonian 4: 123-4
- Cornish ferry stowaway shrew flown home, 17 June 2010 (accessed 2011-08-16)
The Gueldenstaedt's shrew (Crocidura gueldenstaedtii) is a species of mammal in the Soricidae family. It is found in Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia (country), Greece, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
- Insectivore Specialist Group 1996. Crocidura gueldenstaedtii. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 30 July 2007.
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