Sorex minutissimus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Eulipotyphla Soricidae

Scientific Name: Sorex minutissimus Zimmermann, 1780
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Eurasian Least Shrew, Least Shrew, Least Siberian Shrew, Miniscule Shrew
French Musaraigne Naine, MUSARAIGNE NAINE
Spanish Musaraña Menuda, MUSARAÑA MENUDA

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-08-18
Assessor(s): Henttonen, H., Sheftel, B., Stubbe, M., Samiya, R., Ariunbold, J., Buuveibaatar, V., Dorjderem, S., Monkhzul, Ts., Otgonbaatar, M. & Tsogbadrakh, M.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
This species has a large range, within which it is widespread. It is rare and also very difficult to catch through normal trapping methods. The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population size criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. less than 10,000 mature individuals in conjunction with appropriate decline rates and subpopulation qualifiers). Although the population trend is not known, there are no major threats, and it is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, it is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The least shrew occurs from Fennoscandia through European Russia and Siberia to the Pacific coast and the islands of Hokkaido and Sakhalin (Corbet 1978, Sulkava 1999). In Europe, it occurs more or less continuously from northern Scandinavia through most of Finland to central and northern Russia. There are a small number of records from central Scandinavia (Grüner 1998, Sulkava 1999, Vaernesbranden and Larsen 2004), but this tiny and elusive shrew may be more widespread in central Scandinavia than the paucity of records would appear to suggest (Sulkava 1999). In Fennoscandia it occurs from sea level to above the tree line (0-1,600 m: J. van der Kooij in litt. 2006).

Mongolia: North-western Mongol Altai Mountain Range, Great Lakes Depression, Hövsgöl, Hangai and Hentii mountain ranges, and Mongol Daguur Steppe. Also recorded in steppe habitats in Middle Halh Steppe and Ikh Hyangan Mountain Range in eastern Mongolia (Sokolov et al., 1985; Dmitriev et al. 1992; Litvinov and Bazardorj, 1992).

Japan: Taiga zone from Norway, Sweden and Estonia to east Siberia; Sakhalin; Hokkaido, and perhaps Honshu (Japan); Mongolia; China; South Korea (Hutterer, in press). In Japan, the species is known only from Hokkaido, where there are a few records from the northern, central and eastern regions: Sarobetsu, Horonobe, Daisetsu, Shihoro, Nijibetsu, Shibetsu, Hichirippu, and Irikomanai (Abe, 2005).

China: Central S and NE China; extending from Scandinavia to E Siberia, South Korea, and the islands of Sakhalin and Hokkaido.
Countries occurrence:
China; Estonia; Finland; Japan; Mongolia; Norway; Russian Federation; Sweden
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In Europe, trapping results suggest that it occurs at much lower densities than other sympatric Sorex species (although reliable population density estimates are hard to obtain because of difficulties in trapping this species) (Sulkava 1990, 1999). The long-term population trend appears to be stable (Sulkava 1999). In Mongolia this species is widespread but has a low abundance. Known to be very rare in Hokkaido (Japan).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a very small species (possibly the smallest terrestrial mammal species, although the pygmy white-toothed shrew Suncus etruscus may be slightly smaller) and it is very difficult to catch, other than by pitfall traps. It occurs from the forest tundra zone in the north, through boreal coniferous forests to mixed forests and forest steppe at the southern limit of its range. Within these zones it prefers moist spruce-dominated woodland with thick moss, but it is also commonly found in bogs and mires, and even in dry pine forests and clear-felled areas (Sulkava 1990, 1999). It feeds on small insects, grubs, spiders and snails, consuming as much as 2-5 times its body weight over a 24 hour period (Sulkava 1990, Macdonald and Barrett 1993). Young are born May/August, with between 4 and 7 young in each litter (Sokolov and Orlov, 1980).
Generation Length (years):1

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats are known. Clear-cutting does not appear to have a negative impact on population densities (Sulkava 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention, and occurs in a number of protected areas. Approximately 11% of the species’ range in Mongolia occurs within protected areas.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Citation: Henttonen, H., Sheftel, B., Stubbe, M., Samiya, R., Ariunbold, J., Buuveibaatar, V., Dorjderem, S., Monkhzul, Ts., Otgonbaatar, M. & Tsogbadrakh, M. 2016. Sorex minutissimus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T29666A115171049. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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