Sorex vagrans - Baird, 1858
Vagrant Shrew
Other English Common Names: Wandering Shrew, vagrant shrew
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sorex vagrans Baird, 1857 (TSN 179932)
French Common Names: musaraigne errante
Spanish Common Names: Una Musaraņa
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106262
Element Code: AMABA01070
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 vagrans
Taxonomic Comments: See George (1988) for an electrophoretic study of systematic relationships among Sorex species. S. monticolus (which now includes S. m. obscurus) is considered distinct from S. vagrans (Hennings and Hoffman 1977). Sorex vagrans sonomae (of California and Oregon) was elevated by Carraway (1990) to full species status (including 2 subspecies: sonomae and newly described tenelliodus). Sorex monticolus bairdii, which formerly has been included in Sorex vagrans, was regraded by Carraway (1990) as a distinct species, Sorex bairdii with 2 subspecies (bairdii and permiliensis). Jones et al. (1992) and Hutterer (in Wilson and Reeder 1993) followed Carraway (1990) in regarding S. vagrans, S. monticolus, S. bairdii, and S. sonomae as separate species. Carraway (1990) subsumed S. trigonirostris into S. vagrans and did not indicate that trigonirostris deserved even subspecific status.
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
Reasons: Widespread and abundant in western North America and central Mexico.
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 California (SNR), Idaho (S5), Montana (S4), Navajo Nation (S3?), Nevada (S4), Oregon (S4), Utah (S3S4), Washington (S5), Wyoming (S5)
Canada Alberta (S1), British Columbia (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Western North America; from southern British Columbia (Nagorsen 1996) and extreme southwestern Alberta (Smith 1988) south to coastal north-central California, the Sierra Nevada of California, central Nevada, the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, and western Wyoming; disjunct population at the southern end of the Mexican Plateau in central Mexico (Verts and Carraway 1998, Gillihan and Foresman 2004).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Densities as high as 58.2/ha have been recorded in the summer (Verts and Carraway 1998).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Western North America; from southern British Columbia (Nagorsen 1996) and extreme southwestern Alberta (Smith 1988) south to coastal north-central California, the Sierra Nevada of California, central Nevada, the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, and western Wyoming; disjunct population at the southern end of the Mexican Plateau in central Mexico (Verts and Carraway 1998, Gillihan and Foresman 2004).

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 CA, ID, MT, NN, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC

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: NatureServe, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Alameda (06001)*, Contra Costa (06013)*, San Mateo (06081)*, Santa Clara (06085)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 San Pablo Bay (18050002)+*, Coyote (18050003)+*, San Francisco Bay (18050004)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Pacific coast: tine present on anteriomedial edge of I1; tail distinctly bicolored in young, indistinctly bicolored in adults; never more than 4 pairs of friction pads on the second to fourth digits of hind feet; level of pigmentation at or below 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 may occur from March-September, but most activity occurs in spring between March and May. Average litter size is 5.2, but may range from 2-9. Gestation lasts approximately 20 days (van Zyll de Jong 1983).
Ecology Comments: In southern British Columbia, mean home range size was estimated at 1039 sq m for nonbreeding and 3258 sq m for breeding individuals. In an old field community in western Washington, annual crude density was estimated at 36.6 shrews/ha (van Zyll de Jong 1983).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Found in a wide variety of habitats: forest, meadow, and riparian, but usually mesic. Also found in saltmarsh habitat (Junge and Hoffman 1981). Known to nest in decayed logs. The nests are approximately 4" in diameter and are made of dry grass.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Primarily feeds on forest insects (eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults), slugs, earthworms, and other invertebrates. Occasionally may feed on salamanders and other small vertebrates.
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Active all year. Throughout the year most active at night. In spring, diurnal activity increases.
Length: 12 centimeters
Weight: 9 grams
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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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 28Feb2005
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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Coombs, E. M. [no date-1977?]. Wildlife observations of the hot desert region, Washington County, Utah, with emphasis on reptilian species and their habitat in relation to livestock grazing. A report to the Cedar City District, BLM by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

  • Durrant, S. D. 1952. Mammals of Utah, taxonomy and distribution. University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History 6: 1-549.

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

  • Gillihan, S. W. and K. R. Foresman. 2004. Sorex vagrans. Mammalian Species 744:1-5.

  • Gillihan, S. W., and K. R. Foresman. 2004. Sorex vagrans. Mammalian Species 744:1-5.

  • Hall, E. R. 1981. The mammals of North America. 2nd ed. John Wiley, New York. 2 vols.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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