Sorex monticolus - Merriam, 1890
Dusky Shrew
Other English Common Names: Montane Shrew, dusky shrew
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sorex monticolus Merriam, 1890 (TSN 179950)
French Common Names: musaraigne sombre
Spanish Common Names: Una Musaraņa
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101738
Element Code: AMABA01080
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: 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/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sorex monticolus
Taxonomic Comments: There has been disagreement over whether S. monticolus is distinct from S. vagrans at the species level; most recent studies recognize S. monticolusas a distinct species (e.g., Jones et al. 1992; Hutterer, in Wilson and Reeder 1993; Smith and Belk 1996). S. obscurus, formerly regarded as a subspecies of Sorex vagrans, was considered a subspecies of S. monticolus by Hennings and Hoffman (1977), Carraway (1990), and Hutterer (in Wilson and Reeder 1993). Taxa formerly known as S. monticolus bairdii and S. monticolus permiliensis were regarded by Carraway (1990) as subspecies of Sorex bairdii. Subspecies setosus formerly was included in Sorex vagrans by some authors.

Alexander (1996) conducted a morphometric analysis of skulls and determined that the shrew heretofore known as Sorex obscurus neomexicanus, Sorex vagrans neomexicanus, or Sorex monticolus neomexicanus should be recognized as a distinct species, S. neomexicanus. The North American mammal checklist by Baker et al. (2003) followed Alexander in recognizing S. neomexicanus as a distinct species. Sorex neomexicanus was considered a subspecies of Sorex monticolus by George, in Wilson and Ruff (1999).


Subspecies calvertensis may be synonymous with S. m. elassodon; further study is needed (Alexander 1996).

See George (1988) for an electrophoretic study of systematic relationships among Sorex species.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 01Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (01Jan2018)

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 (S5), Arizona (S4), California (SNR), Colorado (S5), Idaho (S5), Montana (S5), Navajo Nation (S3?), Nevada (S3), New Mexico (S4), Oregon (S4), Utah (S3S4), Washington (S4), Wyoming (S5)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S5), Manitoba (S3), Northwest Territories (S5), Nunavut (SNR), Saskatchewan (S5), Yukon Territory (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Alaska to southern California, east to western Manitoba, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico (not south-central), Chihuahua, and Durango; many populations exist on relatively isolated mountain ranges in the southern half of the range ( Hutterer, in Wilson and Reeder 1993; Smith and Belk 1996). See Alexander (1996) for information on distributions of subspecies.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Alaska to southern California, east to western Manitoba, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico (not south-central), Chihuahua, and Durango; many populations exist on relatively isolated mountain ranges in the southern half of the range ( Hutterer, in Wilson and Reeder 1993; Smith and Belk 1996). See Alexander (1996) for information on distributions of subspecies.

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: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NN, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NT, NU, SK, YT

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 Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan (CA) (02201), Wrangell-Petersburg (CA) (02280)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
19 Prince of Wales (19010103)+, Kuiu-Kupreanof-Mitkof-Etolin-Zarembo-Wrangell Isla (19010202)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Pacific coast: pelage gray brown; median tine on anteriomedial edge of I1 usually large and robust; tail indistinctly bicolored; 5 or 6 pairs of friction pads on second to fourth digits of hind feet; level of pigmentation above level of median tine on I1; body size small to medium; U5 triangular, body of U1s not touching, P4 overlapping U5; zygomatic process of maxillary pointed (Carraway 1990).
Diagnostic Characteristics: See Carraway (1995) for a key to western North American soricids based primarily on dentaries.
Reproduction Comments: Breeding season extends from April-August. Average litter size is about 5, but ranges up to 7 (van Zyll de Jong 1983). Information on reproduction from different parts of the range is needed.
Ecology Comments: Most individuals probably do not live longer than 18 months. Mean home range estimates = 1227 sq m for nonbreeders, 4020 sq m for breeders (van Zyll de Jong 1983). Apparently not territorial in breeding season; may move widely (van Zyll de Jong 1983)
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Montane boreal and coastal coniferous forest and alpine areas; various habitats including damp meadows surrounded by coniferous forest, in grass among spruce-fir, mid-elevation fir-larch, along streams and rivers in high prairie, mossy banks of small streams, alpine tundra, sphagnum bogs.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds primarily on insects and other small invertebrates (worms, sowbugs, molluscs, etc.). Also consumes some vegetable matter.
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Active throughout the year.
Length: 13 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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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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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 23Nov1993

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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  • Alexander, L. F. 1996. A morphometric analysis of geographic variation within Sorex monticolus (Insectivora: Soricidae). University of Kansas Natural History Museum Miscellaneous Publication No. 88.

  • 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.

  • Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. 438 pp.

  • Banfield, A.W.F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

  • Beck, W.H. 1958. A guide to Saskatchewan mammals. Special Publication No. 1. Saskatchewan Natural History Society, Regina, Saskatchewan.

  • 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. 1990. A morphologic and morphometric analysis of the "Sorex vagrans species complex" in the Pacific coast region. Texas Tech Univ. Mus. Spec. Publ. (32):1-76.

  • 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.

  • Carriere, S. 1998. Small mammal survey in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Manuscript Report No. 115. Northwest Territories Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development.

  • Churchfield, S. 1992. The Natural History of Shrews. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. 192 pp.

  • Clark, Tim W. and Mark R. Stromberg. 1987. Mammals in Wyoming. University Press of Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas.

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

  • Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT). 2000. NWT Species Monitoring - Infobase. Available online: http://www.nwtwildlife.rwed.gov.nt.ca/monitor (June 2001). Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, GNWT, Yellowknife, NT.

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

  • Hennings, D. and R.S. Hoffmann. 1977. A review of the tax- onomy of the SOREX VAGRANS species complex from western North America. Occas. Pap. Mus. of Nat. Hist. of the Univ. of Kansas, 68:1-35.

  • Hoffmeister, D. F. 1986. Mammals of Arizona. University of Arizona Press and Arizona Game and Fish Department. 602 pp.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Keinath, D.A. 2005. Supplementary mammal inventory of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Unpublished report prepared by Wyoming Natural Diversity Data Base for USDI National Park Service Greater Yellowstone Inventory and Monitoring Program Bozeman, Montana.

  • Long, C.A. 1965. The mammals of Wyoming. University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History 14: 493-758.

  • Mammalian Species, nos. 1-604. Published by the American Society of Mammalogists.

  • Naughton, D. 2012. The natural history of Canadian mammals. University of Toronto Press, Toronto: 784 pp.

  • Parks Canada. 2000. Vertebrate Species Database. Ecosystems Branch, 25 Eddy St., Hull, PQ, K1A 0M5.

  • Slough, B.G. 1999. Status recommendation for Yukon mammals and amphibians. IN Hoefs, M. (ed.) Status assessment and proposed "at risk" designations of Yukon's vertebrate species - a technical analysis. Yukon Fish and Wildlife Branch unpubl. report.

  • Smith, M. E., and M. C. Belk. 1996. SOREX MONTICOLUS. Mammalian Species (528):1-5.

  • Wildlife Management Information System (WMIS). 2006+. Geo-referenced wildlife datasets (1900 to present) from all projects conducted by Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada.  Available at http://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/programs/wildlife-research/wildlife-management-information-services

  • 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/.

  • Youngman, P.M. 1975. Mammals of the Yukon Territory. Publications in Zoology, No. 10., National Museums of Canada, Ottawa. 192 pp.

  • van Zyll de Jong, C.G. 1983. Handbook of Canadian mammals. 1. Marsupials and insectivores. National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Canada. 210 pp.

  • van Zyll de Jong, C.G., 1983, Handbook of Canadian Mammals Volume 1: Marsupials and Insectivores. National Museums of Canada.

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