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)
Listed as Least Concern because this is a widespread and abundant species that is not experiencing any decline in population.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

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 occurrence:
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).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

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.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

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 2008: e.T41451A10475594. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided