Elephantulus rupestris


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Elephantulus rupestris
Species Authority: (A. Smith, 1831)
Common Name(s):
English Western Rock Sengi, Western Rock Elephant-shrew
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): Perrin, M., FitzGibbon, C., Stuart, 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 abundant, it is widespread in suitable habitats over an area greater than 450,000 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 Western Rock 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 Western Rock Sengi. Intensive goat and sheep grazing, resulting in localized desertification, also may adversely impact relatively small areas. Mineral extraction activities, such as around the town of Springbok in South Africa, can also alter sengi habitats. However, these disturbances are 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 might adversely alter habitats that these sengis occupy, and these processes should be monitored for possible negative impacts on sengi populations. The species is 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 found mainly in South Africa and Namibia, but also extreme southern Botswana (Smithers 1971) and south-western Angola (Corbet and Hanks 1968; Skinner and Chimimba 2005).
Namibia; South Africa
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no data on the population status of E. rupestris, but it is likely to be locally common and it can be expected that populations will vary greatly in the arid habitats that it occupies.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occupies arid habitats, including deserts, dry savannas, and dry shrublands. It is especially associated with rocky ridges and outcrops or koppies.
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: Perrin, M., FitzGibbon, C., Stuart, C., Griffin, M. (IUCN SSC Afrotheria Specialist Group) & Smit, H. (Stellenbosch University) 2008. Elephantulus rupestris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 27 March 2015.
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