Macroscelides proboscideus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Macroscelides proboscideus
Species Authority: (Shaw, 1800)
Common Name(s):
English Round-eared Sengi, Round-eared Elephant-Shrew, Short-eared Elephant-Shrew
Sorex proboscideus Shaw, 1800
Taxonomic Notes: In the past the single family was included in the order Insectivora, but now the family is in the monophyletic order Macroscelidea and the newly created super-cohort Afrotheria. Currently, there are 17 living species recognized in four genera. The soft-furred sengis or elephant-shrews include three genera: Macroscelides and Petrodromus are each monospecific, while Elephantulus contains 11 species. The four species of giant sengis belong to the genus Rhynchocyon. The common name "sengi" is being used in place of elephant-shrew by many biologists to try and disassociate the Macroscelidea from the true shrews (family Soricidae) in the order Soricomorpha. See the Afrotheria Specialist Group web site for additional information.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Stuart, C., Perrin, M., FitzGibbon, C., Griffin, M. (IUCN SSC Afrotheria Specialist Group) & Smit, H. (Stellenbosch University)
Reviewer(s): Rathbun, G. (Afrotheria Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Although this species is not locally abundant, it is widespread in suitable habitats over an area considerably greater than 500,000 km². Because it occupies habitats that are very arid that will not support most development without the availability of water, there are no known threats to the vast majority of the habitats occupied by the Round-eared Sengi. Areas close to rivers or reliable sources of water may have been developed, or may be developed in the future, as agricultural and urban areas. For example, a narrow area adjacent to and along the Orange River between Namibia and South Africa has been developed, but this is a relatively small area compared to the overall distribution of the Round-eared Sengi. Relatively small areas also may be impacted by mineral extraction activities, such as around the town of Springbok in South Africa. Again, this disturbance is confined to a relatively small area compared to the overall distribution of the species. Past, current, and future development in this region of Africa is not expected to have a significant impact on this sengi or its habitats. On the other hand, bush encroachment and desertification, especially related to localized intensive goat and sheep grazing, might adversely alter habitats that these sengis occupy, and these processes should be monitored for possible negative impacts on sengi populations. The species is thus listed as Least Concern.
2006 Least Concern (IUCN 2006)
2006 Least Concern
2003 Least Concern (IUCN 2003)
2003 Least Concern
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: A widespread species occurring in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa (Corbet and Hanks 1968; Skinner and Chimimba 2005).
Botswana; Namibia; South Africa
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is believed that over much of its range its numbers are relatively low (Corbet and Hanks 1968; Skinner and Chimimba 2005). There are no data on population dynamics of this species, but it is expected that populations will vary greatly in the arid habitats that it occupies, and there are no reasons to believe that these variations, if they indeed occur, are abnormal.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Round-Eared Sengi occupies arid areas, such as deserts, dry grasslands and shrublands (Skinner and Chimimba 2005). Home range areas can be up to one square kilometer. The presence of this sengi is often indicated by long, straight trails composed of small oval bare spots where it lands while racing along the paths. The trails are used to swiftly travel between preferred areas within its home range (Sauer and Sauer 1972).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats to the species. Habitat modification to relatively small areas may occur near rivers and human population centres due to small-holder and industrial agriculture, mineral extraction, and urban development. Changes in habitats due to desertification and bush encroachment may adversely alter habitats for sengis, but at present these changes do not appear widespread or serious.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in protected areas. Because of the very minor conservation problems facing this taxon, no conservation measures are needed or recommended at present or in the foreseeable future.

Citation: Stuart, C., Perrin, M., FitzGibbon, C., Griffin, M. (IUCN SSC Afrotheria Specialist Group) & Smit, H. (Stellenbosch University) 2008. Macroscelides proboscideus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 25 May 2015.
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