Sorex alaskanus - Merriam, 1900
Glacier Bay Water Shrew
Synonym(s): Sorex palustris alaskanus
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sorex alaskanus Merriam, 1900 (TSN 179934)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100248
Element Code: AMABA01370
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Other Mammals
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Soricomorpha Soricidae Sorex
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Jones, C., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, M. D. Engstrom, R. D. Bradley, D. J. Schmidly, C. A. Jones, and R. J. Baker. 1997. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1997. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University 173:1-20.
Concept Reference Code: B97JON01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sorex alaskanus
Taxonomic Comments: The taxonomic validity of this species is suspect (Denver Museum of Nature & Science, K. Hildebrandt, pers. comm.; Hutterer 2005; MacDonald and Cook 2009) (Hope et al. 2014). Preliminary molecular evidence bearing on the taxonomic status of S. alaskensis suggests full species status is unwarranted (K. Hildebrandt, UAM, pers. comm, cited in MacDonald and Cook 2009). Recognized as a distinct species, S. alaskanus, by Jackson (1928). Some literature regard alaskanus as a subspecies of S. palustris (Junge and Hoffman 1981; Jarrel and MacDonald 1989; Jones et al. 1992; Harris, in Wilson and Ruff 1999), whereas other authors have regarded S. alaskanus as a distinct species (Hall 1981; Beneski and Stinson 1987; George 1988; Hutterer, in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005; Carraway 1995; Baker et al. 2003, Bradley et al. 2014). Inadequate material has prevented conclusive studies (Cook et al. 1997).

Fumagalli et al. (1999) present a phylogenetic analysis of the genus Sorex based on partial mitochondrial cytochrome b DNA sequences.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GHQ
Global Status Last Reviewed: 03Oct2008
Global Status Last Changed: 03Oct2008
Rounded Global Status: GH - Possibly Extinct
Reasons: Very restricted range in a small area of Alaska; abundance and population trend are unknown; taxonomy is uncertain, based on only a few specimens; perhaps should be included in Sorex palustris.
Nation: United States
National Status: NH (05Sep1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (SH)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: DD - Data deficient

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Known distribution is limited to flats around Gustavus (Home 1973) and Bartlett Cove, Alaska. Type locality is Cooper's Notch muskeg behind Point Gustavus, Glacier Bay, Alaska.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from just a couple locations, based on specimens collected in 1899 and 1970.

Population Size: Unknown
Population Size Comments: Unknown.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: No current threats to habitat are known, but the poorly known distribution prevents an adequate evaluation. Urban development in the Gustavus area could potentially result in reduction and loss of habitat.

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Unknown.

Long-term Trend: Unknown

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Extensive population surveys of the Gustavus Peninsula area are needed.

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Known distribution is limited to flats around Gustavus (Home 1973) and Bartlett Cove, Alaska. Type locality is Cooper's Notch muskeg behind Point Gustavus, Glacier Bay, Alaska.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AK Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon (CA) (02232)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
19 Glacier Bay (19010302)+*, Icy Strait-Chatham Strait (19010500)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A water shrew.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Jackson (1928) distinguished Sorex (palustris) alaskanus from S. p. navigator by cranial measurements. He noted that alaskanus skulls are shorter, heavier, more angular, and have a shorter rostrum. The sagittal and lambdoidal crests are also more pronounced.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, MEDIUM RIVER
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Presumably the habitat includes wet areas, bogs, and streams typical of S. palustris elsewhere (Beneski and Stinson 1987).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: This species is not currently being monitored. Factors affecting population size and distribution are unknown. Present research needs include: 1. Clarification of taxonomic status. 2. Population trend estimates. 3. Precise delineation of distribution. 4. Habitat preference studies. 5. Long-term viability analysis.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Shrews

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: An area of suitable habitat where there is evidence of presence (or historical presence), with potential for continued presence; evidence minimally including a specimen or, in the case of certain species, a determination by a reliable observer of a live specimen in the hand.
Separation Barriers: Arbitrarily set at rivers wider than 50 meters at low water. Some shrews are relatively strong, active swimmers (notably SOREX PALUSTRIS, S. BENDIRII, SOREX ALASKANUS). No data on dispersal or other movement across water barriers.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Dispersal distances of shrews are poorly known, but these mammals are mobile enough to cover fairly large distances. Mature males especially may wander widely (Hawes 1977). Separation distance for suitable habitat attempts to reflect the small home range size of shrews, their secretive habits and consequent apparent absence in areas where they do in fact occur, and the seemingly low probability that two occupied locations separated by a gap of less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent populations.

Home ranges small: for breeding SOREX VAGRANS in British Columbia, 338 - 5261 square meters (Hawes 1977); in California, mean of about 372 square meters (Ingles 1961); for breeding S. MONTICOLUS (=OBSCURUS) in British Columbia, mean of 4020 square meters (Hawes 1977); for S. ARANEUS in England, a fall and winter home range of about 2800 square meters, with females occupying exclusive ranges (Buckner 1969).

Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 09Jan2008
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: West, E. W., G. Hammerson, and T. Gotthardt.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 23May1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Baker, R. J., L. C. Bradley, R. D. Bradley, J. W. Dragoo, M. D. Engstrom, R. S. Hoffman, C. A. Jones, F. Reid, D. W. Rice, and C. Jones. 2003a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 2003. Museum of Texas Tech University Occasional Papers 229:1-23.

  • Beneski, J. T., Jr., and D. W. Stinson. 1987. Sorex palustris. Am. Soc. Mamm., Mammalian Species 296:1-6.

  • Bradley, R.D., L.K. Ammerman, R.J. Baker, L.C. Bradley, J.A. Cook. R.C. Dowler, C. Jones, D.J. Schmidly, F.B. Stangl Jr., R.A. Van den Bussche and B. Würsig. 2014. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 2014. Museum of Texas Tech University Occasional Papers 327:1-28. Available at: http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/publications/opapers/ops/OP327.pdf

  • Buckner, C. H. 1969. Some aspects of the population ecology of the common shrew, Sorex araneus, near Oxford, England. Journal of Mammalogy 50:326-332.

  • Carraway, L. N. 1995. A key to Recent Soricidae of the western United States and Canada based primarily on dentaries. Occasional Papers of the Natural History Museum, University of Kansas (175):1-49.

  • Cook, J. A., C. J. Conroy, and J. D. Herriges, Jr. 1997. Northern record of the water shrew, Sorex palustris, in Alaska. Canadian Field-Naturalist 111:638-640.

  • Fumagalli, L., P. Taberlet, D. T. Stewart, L. Gielly, J. Hausser and P. Vogel. 1999. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of Sorex shrews (Soricidae: Insectivora) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 11: 222-235.

  • George, S. B. 1988. Systematics, historical biogeography, and evolution of the genus Sorex. J. Mammalogy 69:443-461.

  • Hall, E. R. 1981a. The Mammals of North America, second edition. Vols. I & II. John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York. 1181 pp.

  • Hawes, M. L. 1977. Home range, territoriality and ecological separation in sympatric shrews, Sorex vagrans and Sorex obscurus. Journal of Mammalogy. 58:354-367.

  • Home, S. 1973. The mammals of Glacier Bay. National Park Service. Gustavus, AK. 49 p.

  • Hope, A.G.,  N. Panter, J. A. Cook, S.L. Talbot, and D.W. Nagorsen. 2014. Multilocus phylogeography and systematic revision of North American water shrews (genus: Sorex). Journal of Mammalogy 95(4) 722-738.

  • Ingles, L. G. 1961. Home range and habitats of the wandering shrew. Journal of Mammalogy 42:455-462.

  • Jackson, H. H. 1961. Mammals of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 504 pp.

  • Jackson, H.H. 1928. A taxonomic review of the North Americanlong tailed shrews (genera Sorex and Microsorex). N. Amer. Fauna. 51:1-238.

  • Jarrell, G.H., and S.O. MacDonald. 1989. Checklist to the mammals of Alaska. Univ. of Alaska Museum, Fairbanks, AK. 4 p.

  • Jones, C., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, M. D. Engstrom, R. D. Bradley, D. J. Schmidly, C. A. Jones, and R. J. Baker. 1997. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1997. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University 173:1-20.

  • Jones, J. K., Jr., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, C. Jones, R. J. Baker, and M. D. Engstrom. 1992a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1991. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University, 146:1-23.

  • Junge, J. A., and R. S. Hoffmann. 1981. An annotated key to the long-tailed shrews (genus Sorex) of the United States and Canada, with notes on the Middle American Sorex. Occas. Pap. Univ. Kansas Mus. Nat. Hist. 94:1-48.

  • MacDonald, S. O., and J. A. Cook. 2009. Recent mammals of Alaska. University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks, Alaska. 387 pp.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. Available online at: http://vertebrates.si.edu/msw/mswcfapp/msw/index.cfm

  • Wilson, D. E., and S. Ruff. 1999. The Smithsonian book of North American mammals. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 750 pp.

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