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Blarina brevicauda

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA EULIPOTYPHLA SORICIDAE

Scientific Name: Blarina brevicauda
Species Authority: (Say, 1823)
Common Name(s):
English Northern Short-tailed Shrew
Taxonomic Notes: Blarina carolinensis shermani may be an isolated subspecies of B. brevicauda or a distinct species (George et al. 1986). B. brevicauda was regarded as conspecific with B. carolinensis and B. hylophaga by Hall (1981). Blarina b. telmalestes was regarded as a distinct species by Hall (1981) but not by Jones et al. (1986) or in most other recent accounts.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): NatureServe (Hammerson, G.)
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Chanson, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern because this is a widespread and abundant species that is not experiencing any decline in population.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs throughout southern Canada, west to central Saskatchewan and east to south east Canada, and south to Arkansas and Georgia in the United States.
Countries:
Native:
Canada; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is widespread and abundant. Population density estimates range from 1.6/ha to about 121/ha (George et al. 1986). In a 14 year study in Illinois, the northern short-tailed shrew displayed annual but not multiannual population fluctuations; annual peak occurred in July or in October in different habitats; average minimum density about 1-6/ha in winter, average peak density about 10-20/ha in summer or early fall; none survived more than 10 months following first capture (Getz 1989).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: it is most abundant in hardwood forests with deep leaf-litter and abundant food, and avoids areas with little cover and extremes of temperature and moisture. It is semifossorial; and digs tunnels or uses existing ones. It constructs elaborate underground nest. Nests are placed under logs or stumps, or underground. It breeds mainly in early February or March through to September; and peaks may occur in spring and late summer or early fall. Gestation length is three weeks, and litter size is three to 10, average four to six. They have three or more litters per year, and are weaned by 25 days. They sexually mature in one to two months. (George et al. 1986).

Home ranges of this species can be more than twice the size of those of most shrews. Estimates of home range size average about 2.5 ha; and ranges generally overlap (George et al. 1986). The northern short-tailed shrew is a carnivore and invertivore. It eats earthworms, slugs, snails, insect larvae, millipedes, other invertebrates, and small vertebrates (especially mice in winter). It may hoard food (especially snails).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in protected areas throughout its range.

Bibliography [top]

George, S. B., Choate, J. R. and Genoways, H. H. 1986. Blarina bravicauda. Mammalian Species 261: 1-9.

Getz, L. L. 1989. A 14-year study of Blarina brevicauda in east-central Illinois. Journal of Mammalogy 70: 58-66.

Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.


Citation: NatureServe (Hammerson, G.) 2008. Blarina brevicauda. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 December 2014.
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