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Overview

Brief Summary

Description

"Elliot's Short-tailed Shrew occurs in much of the central Great Plains. Its fur is a nearly uniform brownish-gray, often with brown tips. It hunts for invertebrates - insects, other arthropods, and earthworms - in moist areas with good cover, such as along riverbanks and in ditches. Like other Blarina, it has venomous saliva, and will eat small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles if it catches them. This species of shrew typically lives for about eight months; very few live through two winters. In her short life, a female usually produces one or two litters. The six or seven young reach adult size and are weaned in about a month. Abdominal musk glands - which apparently taste as bad as they smell - protect this shrew from many potential mammalian predators. The musk glands do not deter owls, however."

Links:
Mammal Species of the World
  • Original description: Elliot, 1899.  Field Columbian Museum Publications, Zoological Series, 1:287.
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Distribution

endemic to a single nation

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Northeastern Colorado, southern Nebraska, southwestern Iowa, and Missouri south through Kansas and Oklahoma to central and coastal Texas (known from 3 counties; Davis and Schmidly, The Mammals of Texas, in press), Arkansas, and Louisiana (Hall 1981; Hutterer, in Wilson and Reeder 1993; Baumgardner et al. 1992).

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Range Description

This species occurs in northeastern Colorado, southern Nebraska, southwestern Iowa, and Missouri south through Kansas and Oklahoma to central and coastal Texas (known from three counties; Davis and Schmidly, The Mammals of Texas, in press), Arkansas, and Louisiana in the United States (Hall 1981; Hutterer, in Wilson and Reeder 1993; Baumgardner et al. 1992).
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Geographic Range

Elliot's short-tailed shrews are found from southern Nebraska and Iowa to southern Texas, east to Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, and throughout Oklahoma.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
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Geographic Range

Blarina hylophaga ranges from southern Nebraska and Iowa to southern Texas; east to Missouri and northwestern Arkansas; Oklahoma; extending into Louisiana.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Elliot's short-tailed shrews are 75 to 105 mm in length, and their tail is an additional 17 to 30 mm. They weigh 15 to 30 g. The fur on their back is silvery-gray to black, and their underside is only slightly paler. The have a robust body and a pointed muzzle that extends beyond the mouth. They have small eyes, ears hidden by the fur, and small front and hind limbs and feet. Males and females look the same. They also have 5 unicuspid teeth in their upper jaw. Females have 6 mammae.

Elliot's short-tailed shrews look very similar to Blarina carolinensis. Both are small, slate-gray to brown shrews with short tails and no external ears. Elliot's short-tailed shrews are more gray and less brown in color and also have a slightly larger head. They also look very similar to Blarina brevicauda. Because they are found in different ranges, members of this genus Blarina are generally easy to identify in the field.

Range mass: 13 to 16 g.

Range length: 92 to 121 mm.

Average length: 90.00 mm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

  • Benedict, R.A., Feb. 1999. Characteristics of a hybrid zone between two species of short-tailed shrew (Blarina). Journal of Mammology, 80: 135-141.
  • George, S. 1999. Elliot's short-tailed shrew, Blarina hylophaga. Pp. 51-52 in D Wilson, S Ruff, eds. The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
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Physical Description

Short-tailed shrews have a head and body length that ranges from 75 to 105 mm, a tail length that is 17 to 30 mm, and a body weight of 15 to 30 grams. Their fur is silvery-gray to black dorsally, and their underside is only slightly paler. The body is robust, with a pointed muzzle that extends beyond the mouth. They have small eyes, ears hidden by the fur, and small front and hind limbs and feet. There is not much sexual dimorphism. Blarina has five unicuspid teeth in the upper jaw. Females have six mammae.

Blarina hylophaga is very similar to Blarina carolinensis. Both are small, slate-gray to brown shrews with short tails and no external ears. However, B. hylophaga has slightly larger cranial measurements, and a noticeably larger fourth premolar. Blarina hylophaga is more gray in color, whereas B. carolinensis is tinged with brown.

In comparison to Blarina brevicauda, B. hylophaga is less robust. In a study done by Russell A. Benedict, the two animals were classified to species by a few characteristics, including hind foot measurement, total length, and weight. Blarina brevicauda were classified as such if having a hind foot measurement greater than or equal to 15.5 mm, a total length greater than 115 mm, and a weight greater than 15 g. On the other hand, B. hylophaga typically weighed less than 20 g, had less than 120 mm in total length, and had a hind foot less than or equal to 15 mm.

Range mass: 13 to 16 g.

Range length: 92 to 121 mm.

Average length: 90.00 mm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

  • Benedict, R.A., Feb. 1999. Characteristics of a hybrid zone between two species of short-tailed shrew (Blarina). Journal of Mammology, 80: 135-141.
  • George, S. 1999. Elliot's short-tailed shrew, Blarina hylophaga. Pp. 51-52 in D Wilson, S Ruff, eds. The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
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Size

Size in North America

Sexual Dimorphism: Males may be slightly larger than females.

Length:
Range: 92-121 mm

Weight:
Range: 13-16 g
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Diagnostic Description

Differs from B. CAROLINENSIS by having slightly larger cranial measurements (cranial breadth usually greater than 10.5 mm vs. usually less than 10. 5 mm), a noticeably larger fourth premolar, and by tending to be grayish in coloration rather than often tinged with brown; also, diploid number is 52 and fundamental number is 60, 61, or 62 in HYLOPHAGA, diploid number 37-46 and fundamental number 44 in CAROLINENSIS (Davis and Schmidly). See Carraway (1995) for a key to western North American soricids based primarily on dentaries.

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Recorded habitats include: mature parts of oak-elm floodplain forest, woody ravines, beneath decaying logs in wooded floodplain communities, grassy pastures adjacent to woody areas, savannalike areas, and grassy areas strewn with rocks (Caire et al. 1989, Baumgardner et al. 1992); also mottes of live oak trees on sandy soils, grassy vegetation with an overstory of loblolly pine, and grassy vegetation several meters from some post oak trees (Davis and Schmidly 1994). May burrow extensively under leaf litter, logs, and deeply into the soil, but ground cover is not required if soils afford easy burrowing (Davis and Schmidly 1994).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Recorded habitats for this species include mature parts of oak-elm floodplain forest, woody ravines, beneath decaying logs in wooded floodplain communities, grassy pastures adjacent to woody areas, savanna-like areas, and grassy areas strewn with rocks (Caire et al. 1989, Baumgardner et al. 1992); also mottes of live oak trees on sandy soils, grassy vegetation with an overstorey of loblolly pine, and grassy vegetation several metres from some post oak trees (Davis and Schmidly 1994). It may burrow extensively under leaf litter, logs, and deeply into the soil, but ground cover is not required if soils afford easy burrowing (Davis and Schmidly 1994).

It breeds from February to October in Arkansas. Gestation is about three weeks. The litter size is five to eight; and there are multiple litters per year (Caire et al. 1989). Most will live no more than two years. They will eat various invertebrates as well as small vertebrates and some plant material (Caire et al. 1989). Larger prey is subdued by toxic saliva.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Elliot's short-tailed shrews are found in various habitats. They prefer the damp soils of oak-hickory and other deciduous forests, grasslands, and the banks of rivers and lakes that allow easy burrowing. They avoid standing water, and, in soft soils, they often use the trails and burrows created by other small mammals. In deciduous forests, they most frequently are found near old decaying logs and at the bases of rock outcrops. They may burrow extensively under leaf litter, logs, humus of the forest floor, and deeply into the soil, but ground cover is not required. In addition, they may shelter in logs, stumps, or crevices of building foundations.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

Other Habitat Features: riparian

  • Davis, W., D. Schmidly. 1994. "The Mammals of Texas {Online Edition}" (On-line). Accessed September 30, 2001 at www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/.
  • Hutterer, R. 1993. "Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Mammal Species of the World" (On-line). Accessed October 7, 2001 at nmnhwww.si.edu/cgi-bin/wdb/msw.
  • The University of Kansas, 2001. "University of Kansas Key to Mammal Species in Kansas" (On-line). Accessed September 30, 2001 at www.ukans.edu/~mammals/.
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Blarina hylophaga is found in various habitats. The species prefers the damp soils of oak-hickory and other deciduous forests, grasslands, and the banks of rivers and lakes that allow easy burrowing. However, these shrews avoid standing water. They use the trails and burrows excavated by other small mammals in soft soils. In deciduous forests they most frequently are found near old decaying logs and at the bases of rock outcrops. They may burrow extensively under leaf litter, logs, humus of the forest floor, and deeply into the soil, but ground cover is not required. In addition, they may shelter in logs, stumps, or crevices of building foundations.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

Other Habitat Features: riparian

  • Davis, W., D. Schmidly. 1994. "The Mammals of Texas {Online Edition}" (On-line). Accessed September 30, 2001 at www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/.
  • Hutterer, R. 1993. "Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Mammal Species of the World" (On-line). Accessed October 7, 2001 at nmnhwww.si.edu/cgi-bin/wdb/msw.
  • The University of Kansas, 2001. "University of Kansas Key to Mammal Species in Kansas" (On-line). Accessed September 30, 2001 at www.ukans.edu/~mammals/.
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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Various invertebrates as well as small vertebrates and some plant material (Caire et al. 1989). Larger prey subdued by toxic saliva.

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Food Habits

Elliot's short-tailed shrews feed primarily on insects and also frequently eat arthropods and earthworms. Many other invertebrates, small vertebrates, and some plant material, particulary seeds, are also eaten. They capture food by searching ground litter, digging superficial burrows in the ground, and using echolocation by high-pitched calls. Elliot's short-tailed shrews also have specialized teeth from which submaxillary glands secrete poison. This poison immobilizes small animals, making it possible for shrews to quickly and efficiently kill prey larger than themselves, such as mice.

Animal Foods: mammals; amphibians; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Plant Foods: seeds, grains, and nuts

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Food Habits

Shrews feed primarily on insects. Many other invertebrates, small vertebrates, and some vegetable material, particulary seeds, are also eaten. Insects, arthropods, and earthworms are more frequently eaten. They capture food by searching ground litter, digging superficial burrows in the ground, and using echolocation by high-pitched calls. Blarina hylophaga has specialized teeth from which submaxillary glands secrete poison. This poison immobilizes small animals, making it possible for shrews to kill prey larger than themselves, such as mice, fast and efficiently.

Animal Foods: mammals; amphibians; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; terrestrial worms

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Members of the genus Blarina, including Elliot's short-tailed shrews are the most fossorial of American shrews, living underground. Their movement underground loosens soil, allowing air into the soil. Elliot's short-tailed shrews use surface and subsurface runways and burrows of small mammals. They also use leaf litter and decomposing trees to burrow and nest. Members of this genus, including this species, serves an important role in controlling the population size of Pristiphora erichsonii and other destructive insects.

Ecosystem Impact: biodegradation ; soil aeration

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Predation

The skin of Elliot's short-tailed shrews contains glands that secrete odors repugnant to predators. Carnivorous mammals often capture these shrews but seldom eat them due to these foul-smelling skin glands. Predators include Strigiformes, Accipitridae, Serpentes, and Felis silvestris.

Known Predators:

  • owls (Strigiformes)
  • hawks (Accipitridae)
  • snakes (Serpentes)
  • domestic cats (Felis_silvestris)

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Ecosystem Roles

Blarina are the most fossorial of American shrews, aiding in soil aeration. They use surface and subsurface runways and burrows of small mammals. They also use leaf litter and decomposing trees to burrow and nest. Blarina serves an important role in controlling the population size of larch sawflies and other destructive insects.

Ecosystem Impact: biodegradation ; soil aeration

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Predation

The skin of B. hylophaga contains glands that secrete odors repugnant to predators. Carnivorous mammals often capture B. hylophaga, but seldom eat them due to these foul-smelling skin glands.

Known Predators:

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Known predators

Blarina hylophaga is prey of:
Strigiformes
Serpentes
Accipitridae
Felis silvestris

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known prey organisms

Blarina hylophaga preys on:
non-insect arthropods

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Elliot's short-tailed shrews use scent for communication of reproductive and territorial information. It is likey that tactile cues are important during mating and between a mother and her offspring. They also use echolocation to help navigate underground and to hunt.

Communication Channels: tactile ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic ; echolocation

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Communication and Perception

These animals use scent for communication of reproductive and territorial information. It is likey that tactile cues are important during mating and between a mother and her offspring.

Communication Channels: tactile ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Few wild Blarina individuals survive more than a year. However, captive individuals have survived to 33 months.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
33 (high) months.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
1 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
2.8 years.

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Lifespan/Longevity

Few wild Blarina individuals survive more than a year. However, captive individuals have survived to 33 months.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
33 (high) months.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
1 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
<1 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
2.8 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 2.8 years (captivity) Observations: In captivity, these animals have reportedly lived for nearly 2.8 years (Ronald Nowak 1999).
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Reproduction

Breeds February-October in Arkansas. Gestation about 3 weeks. Litter size 5-8; multiple litters per year (Caire et al. 1989). Most live no more than 2 years.

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Elliot's short-tailed shrews are thought to be polygynandrous, meaning males and females have multiple mates.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Elliot's short-tailed shrews are usually solitary, but individuals come together from early spring to early autumn in order to reproduce. The estrous cycle is 2 to 4 days. Gestation averages from 21 to 22 days. Females produce 2 to 3 litters per year. Litters range from 4 to 10 individuals, though they usually contain 5 or 6 young. Elliot's short-tailed shrews are born hairless, pink, and wrinkled. Nests are constructed of leaves, grasses, and plant fibers, and they are usually made under logs, in burrows, or, rarely, on top of the ground.

Breeding interval: Elliot's short-tailed shrews can breed 2 or 3 times per year.

Breeding season: Breeding takes place from early spring to early autumn.

Range number of offspring: 4 to 10.

Average number of offspring: 5 or 6.

Range gestation period: 21 to 22 days.

Range weaning age: 18 to 20 days.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 6 to 12 weeks.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 6 to 12 weeks.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization ; viviparous

Average number of offspring: 6.5.

Female Elliot's short-tailed shrews provide parental care to their young. Young leave the nest at 18 to 20 days and are weaned a few days after. Females attain sexual maturity at 6 weeks of age and males at 12 weeks of age. It is possible for a female shrew born in early spring to breed by late summer or autumn of the same year. Males generally do not breed until the spring after their birth.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

  • Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • The University of Kansas, 2001. "University of Kansas Key to Mammal Species in Kansas" (On-line). Accessed September 30, 2001 at www.ukans.edu/~mammals/.
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Mating is reported to be polygynandrous.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Blarina hylophaga is usually solitary, but individuals come together from early spring to early autumn in order to reproduce. The estrous cycle is 2 to 4 days. Gestation averages from 21 to 22 days. Litter size ranges from 4 to 10, with usually 5 or 6 young. The babies are born hairless, pink, and wrinkled. Nests are constructed of leaves, grasses, and plant fibers. They are usually made under logs, in burrows, or even rarely, on top of the ground. Females produce 2 to 3 litters per year.

Breeding interval: These shrews can breed two or three times per year.

Breeding season: Breeding takes place from early spring to early autumn.

Range number of offspring: 4 to 10.

Average number of offspring: 5 or 6.

Range gestation period: 21 to 22 days.

Range weaning age: 18 to 20 days.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 6 to 12 weeks.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 6 to 12 weeks.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization ; viviparous

Average number of offspring: 6.5.

Parental care is provided by the females. The young of B. hylophaga leave the nest at 18 to 20 days and are weaned a few days after. Females attain sexual maturity at 6 weeks of age, and males at 12 weeks of age. It is possible for a female shrew born in early spring to breed by late summer or autumn of the same year. Males, most often, do not breed until the spring after their birth.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

  • Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • The University of Kansas, 2001. "University of Kansas Key to Mammal Species in Kansas" (On-line). Accessed September 30, 2001 at www.ukans.edu/~mammals/.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Blarina hylophaga

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
NatureServe (Hammerson, G.)

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern because it is widespread, abundant and it is not currently in decline.
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Elliot's short-tailed shrews are common, abundant, and widespread in their range. Some populations, however, are at risk because of human development and habitat loss, as well as predation by domestic cats. The subspecies Blarina hylophaga plumbea is known by 7 specimens on the Texas coast at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, where small groups have been recently discovered.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

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Blarina hylophaga has a Global Heritage and National Heritage status rank of G5 and N5 respectively by the U.S. ESA. Both these rankings describe the species' status as secure, meaning individuals are common, abundant, and widespread in its range. Blarina species have been wiped out by human development and habitat loss, as well as predation by domestic cats. The subspecies B. hylophaga plumbea is known by 7 specimens on the Texas coast at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, where small groups of B. hylophaga have been recently discovered.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
This is an abundant species.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Comments: Moved out of or avoided areas subject to experimental prairie fire (Clark and Kaufman 1990).

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Major Threats
There are no major threats to this species.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species occurs in protected areas throughout its range.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Elliot's short-tailed shrews have been known to bite humans, and their venom has negative effects though it is not life-threatening. This species of shrew may also be a nuisance when sheltering in crevices of building foundations, especially because they produce a foul smell.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings, venomous ); household pest

  • Vaughn, T.A., R., Czaplewski, N.J.. 2000. Mammology. New York: Saunder's College Publishing.
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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Elliot's short-tailed shrews help control populations of Pristiphora erichsonii and other destructive insects.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

The venomous saliva of B. hylophaga has negative effects on humans when they are bitten, although the venom is not life-threatening. This shrew may also be a nuisance when sheltering in crevices of building foundations, especially because they produce a foul smell.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings, venomous ); household pest

  • Vaughn, T.A., R., Czaplewski, N.J.. 2000. Mammology. New York: Saunder's College Publishing.
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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Blarina hylophaga serves as a check on larch sawflies and other destructive insects.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Elliot's short-tailed shrew

Elliot's short-tailed shrew (Blarina hylophaga) is a small, slate grey, short-tailed species of shrew. Its common name comes from Daniel Giraud Elliot, who first described the species in 1899.

Description[edit]

Elliot's short-tailed shrew is similar in appearance to the closely related southern short-tailed shrew, although slightly larger on average, and was long thought to belong to the same species. It is a heavily built shrew with short legs and tail, and a long, pointed snout with long whiskers.[3] The ears and eyes are both small, the eyelids being permanently closed in some individuals, a feature otherwise unknown among shrews.[4]

The fur is velvety in texture, and uniformly colored greyish to brown. Adults range from 9 to 12 cm (3.5 to 4.7 in) in total length, including the 2-to-3 cm (0.79-to-1.18 in) tail, and weigh 13 to 16 g (0.46 to 0.56 oz).[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Elliot's short-tailed shrew is found in lowland environments with heavy vegetation from southern Iowa and Nebraska in the north to parts of Texas and northern Louisiana in the south, including much of the states of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and the northeastern corner of Colorado.[2] Two subspecies are currently recognised:

The species inhabits a diverse range of habitats, including grasslands, agricultural land, and woodland. Although it generally prefers well watered environments with plenty of ground litter, it is also known from relatively dry and sandy terrain in Texas and Colorado, often with minimal ground cover.[3]

Behavior and diet[edit]

Like other shrews, this species is insectivorous, its diet consisting primarily of beetles and slugs, along with other insects, spiders, and earthworms. They may also eat a small quantity of plants and fungi, and have been reported to eat North American deermice on occasion. Predators include owls, hawks, snakes, and swift foxes.[3]

Elliot's short-tailed shrew is generally a solitary, nocturnal animal, spending the day sleeping in burrows in soft soil or leaf litter. The burrows may contain nests made from grass or leaves, and are surrounded by a network of trackways that the shrew uses while hunting for prey. They have been reported to travel across home ranges of anything from 0.06 to 0.55 hectares (0.15 to 1.36 acres), and to travel mostly around dawn and sunset. Having poor eyesight, they hunt primarily by means of echolocation. They are active throughout the year, and do not hibernate.[3]

Reproduction[edit]

The shrew breeds from early spring to late summer, and may be able to raise two or three litters per in a year. Gestation lasts 21 or 22 days, and results in the birth of four to seven hairless young. The young are weaned, with a full coat of fuzzy hair, by one month of age, not receiving the adult coat until they have reached adult size. Individuals can live for up to two years.[3]

Taxonomy and evolution[edit]

Elliot's short-tailed shrew was originally described as a subspecies of Blarina brevicauda, and was only identified as a separate species in 1981. Genetic analysis to determine its precise relationship to other members of the genus has been ambiguous, with some studies placing it as the closest relative to the southern short-tailed shrew,[5] and others showing it as being basal to the other species.[6] The oldest fossils of the species date from the last Ice Age, and the two subspecies may have diverged as recently as one thousand years ago.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hutterer, R. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b Hammerson, G. (2008). "Blarina hylophaga". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Thompson, C.W. et al. (2011). "Blarina hylophaga (Soricomorpha: Soricidae)". Mammalian Species 43 (1): 94–103. doi:10.1644/878.1. 
  4. ^ Jones, M.C. et al. (2007). "Texas shrews (Blarina hylophaga) lacking external eye openings". Southeastern Naturalist 6 (4): 752–754. doi:10.1656/1528-7092(2007)6[752:tsbhle]2.0.co;2. 
  5. ^ Reilly, S.M. et al. (2011). "Systematics of isolated populations of short-tailed shrews (Soricidae: Blarina) in Texas". Journal of Mammalogy 86 (5): 887–894. doi:10.1644/1545-1542(2005)86[887:SOIPOS]2.0.CO;2. 
  6. ^ Brant, S.V. & Orti, G. (2002). "Molecular phylogeny of short-tailed shrews, Blarina (Insectivora: Soricidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 22 (2): 163–172. doi:10.1006/mpev.2001.1057. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Treated as a synonym of Blarina brevicauda carolinensis by Hall (1981), who cited Elliot's original spelling as hulophaga. Elliot corrected the original spelling to hylophaga in 1905. George et al. (1981), Jones et al. (1992), and Hutterer (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) regarded B. hylophaga as a distinct species.

Blarina brevicauda and B. hylophaga may hybridize in narrow contact zones, but genetic exchange appears to be limited (Benedict 1999).

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