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Crocidura trichura

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA EULIPOTYPHLA SORICIDAE

Scientific Name: Crocidura trichura
Species Authority: Dobson in Thomas, 1889
Common Name(s):
English Christmas Island Shrew
Taxonomic Notes: This taxon has been elevated to full species status by Hutterer (2005). It was originally regarded as "a local variety" of the southeast Asian C. fuliginosa. Based on morphological characteristics, Jenkins (1976) described it as a subspecies of C. attenuata. Corbet and Hill (1992) questioned the validity of it being conspecific with C. attenuata based on morphological characteristics. Ruedi (1995) studied 11 specimens and concluded that they were different from C. attenuata.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Lumsden, L. & Schulz, M.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Stuart, S.N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species is listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) given that its extent of occurrence is likely to be less than 100 km2, it is found in one location, and its habitat is suffering continuing declines in quality given increasing numbers and extent of invasive alien predator and competitor species. Given that the species has not definitely been seen since 1985, despite surveys, it may be possibly extinct.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Christmas Island (Australia).
Countries:
Possibly extinct:
Christmas Island
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: C. trichura was common in 1900 (Andrews 1900) but already rare in 1909 (Andrews 1909). The most recent specimens (two animals) were found in 1985. Several unconfirmed reports occurred between 1996 and 1998 but a survey undertaken in 2000 to determine the status of the shrew were not successful in finding any individuals (Meek 2000). C. trichura formed part of the endemic mammal fauna of the Christmas Island, along with Rattus nativitatis and R. macleari, both of which are now extinct (Meek 2000). It is possible that C. trichura is also now extinct.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The most recent records are from tall plateau rainforest in deep soils, and terrace rainforest with shallow soils (Schulz 2002). It is not known whether or not this species can tolerate secondary growth, but there appear to be no records around human settlements on the island (Schulz 2002). It was recorded using holes in rocks and roots of trees as shelter, and foraging predominantly on small beetles (Andrews 1900).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The reasons for the reduction of the population on Christmas Island are unknown. Schulz (2002) lists the following potential threats in the Recovery Plan for this species: disease; the introduced yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) which is a dangerous threat for many terrestrial animals on Christmas Island; habitat loss; habitat alteration (in part through the spread of invasive weeds); predation by both introduced and natural predators (including cats and black rats); small population size; and mortality due to road traffic.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: On Christmas Island, there were a number of survey for this species s in the 1980s and 1990s. Further surveys appropriate to the problems of the island (destruction of traps by Coconut Crabs) are needed. If populations are found, there is a need for investigation of the taxonomic status, and - dependent on results of this - a captive insurance colony and other in-situ conservation measures.

There is a Recovery Plan for this species (Schulz 2002), which outlines the following needed actions: investigate the taxonomic status of the shrew; investigate current status and distribution; develop wildlife management program for potential habitat outside the Christmas Island National Park; control abundance and spread of the yellow crazy ant; implement a community awareness programme; establish a captive breeding population; implement effective management of any remaining wild populations; identify and describe critical habitat; and identify threatening processes. This Recovery Plan also outlines the following Management Practices: "No removal of primary plateau rainforest within Christmas Island National Park; implementation of the Invasive Ants on Christmas Island Action Plan; ensure tight quarantine controls to prevent accidental introductions of new diseases and exotic pests; implement feral cat and black rat control programmes within primary plateau and terrace rainforest; and maintainenance of existing habitat quality or primary rainforest through strategies to minimize spread of exotic weeds following the Weed Management Strategy".

Citation: Lumsden, L. & Schulz, M. 2008. Crocidura trichura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 November 2014.
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