Crocidura canariensis 

Scope: Global, Europe & Mediterranean
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Eulipotyphla Soricidae

Scientific Name: Crocidura canariensis Hutterer, Lopez-Jurado & Vogel, 1987
Common Name(s):
English Canarian Shrew, Canarian Shrew, Canary Shrew
French Crocidure des Canaries
Spanish Musaraña Canaria
Taxonomic Notes: It has been argued, on the basis of mandibular measurements, that Crocidura canariensis should be treated as a subspecies of C. sicula (Sarà 1996). However, other morphological, ecological, palaeontological and molecular evidence supports specific status (Michaux et al. 1991, Hutterer et al. 1992). Genetic distances suggest that C. canariensis and C. sicula diverged approximately five million years ago (Vogel et al. 2003).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hutterer, R.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
C. canariensis has a very small extent of occurrence (5,000 km²), which is severely fragmented, and presumably declining as a result of habitat loss and degradation caused by urbanisation and desertification. Consequently it qualifies as Endangered.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Canary shrew Crocidura canariensis is endemic to the eastern Canary Islands, where it is currently found on Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Lobos and Mount Clara. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is less than 5,000 km². Recent fossils indicate that it previously occurred on Graciosa and Alegranza (Hutterer 1999), but it has never been trapped on either of these islands and is presumed to have gone extinct there (Palomo and Gisbert 2002). Canary shrew remains have been found in owl pellets collected on Graciosa and Alegranza, but this is believed to result from the movement of owls between different islands (Palomo and Gisbert 2002).
Countries occurrence:
Spain (Canary Is.)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Numbers and population trends are unknown. Mount Clara has a tiny population, which is unlikely to number more than a hundred individuals. The habitat of C. canariensis is severly fragmented as a result of anthropogenic habitat loss and natural barriers to dispersal (R. Hutterer pers. comm. 2006).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Canary shrew's main habitat is the malpaís (barren lava fields), and it seems to be adapted to the hot and dry conditions of these plains (Hutterer et al. 1992, Stone 1995). It feeds on snails and insects in lava tubes, and it is cool inside its burrows even when temperatures reach 60ºC outside. The shrew is also sometimes found in gardens and abandoned arable land adjacent to lava fields, as well as in rocky gullies and sandy areas with rocks and vegetation (Palomo and Gisbert 2002). On Mount Clara, the species is restricted to a single coastal sand dune. More suitable habitat is found on other islands, however, there is a lot of urbanisation and industry.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has a highly restricted distribution. Rapid urbanisation and infrastructure development in and around its range are causing loss and fragmentation of suitable habitat, and desiccation may also be a problem (Hutterer 2004). Introduced cats Felis catus sometimes depredate Canary shrews (Palomo and Gisbert 2002). Other introduced species, e.g. rats and mice, are also present but are not known to have any effect on the Canary shrew. Of these threats, habitat loss is considered to be the most important (Palomo and Gisbert 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: C. canariensis is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive, and is also protected under Spanish law. It is found within a number of National Parks in Fuerteventura. Research is needed to determine the ecological and conservation requirements of this species (Stone 1995). Recommended conservation measures include controlling feral cats and preventing further introductions of alien species to small islands such as Mount Clara (Palomo and Gisbert 2002).

Citation: Hutterer, R. 2008. Crocidura canariensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T5560A11333820. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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