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Sorex alpinus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA EULIPOTYPHLA SORICIDAE

Scientific Name: Sorex alpinus
Species Authority: Schinz, 1837
Common Name(s):
English Alpine Shrew
French Musaraigne Alpine
Spanish Musaraña Alpina

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hutterer, R., Amori, G., Kryštufek, B., Meinig, H., Bertolino, S., Spitzenberger, F. & Zima, J.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
The species has a fairly wide but very fragmented distribution. In the core of the range the population appears to be stable but declines are occurring in some isolated populations at the edges of the range. Overall, there is a slow population decline, but not at a rate high enough to trigger a threatened category. The extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are above the thresholds for Criterion B (>20,000 km² and >2,000 km² respectively), although the area of occupancy may not be much greater than 2,000 km² and there is ongoing habitat loss and degradation. Assessed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies as threatened under criterion B2.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Alpine shrew is endemic to Europe, where it has a disjunct range in the Alps, the Balkans, the Carpathians, and a number of isolated mountains in Germany, Czech Republic and Poland (Spitzenberger 1999, Meinig 2004). It previously occurred in the Pyrenees, where it is thought to have gone extinct in the early 20th century, and in the Harz (Spitzenberger 1999). Its vertical range is from 200 to 2,500 m (Spitzenberger 1999).
Countries:
Native:
Albania; Austria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Czech Republic; France; Germany; Hungary; Italy; Liechtenstein; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Switzerland; Ukraine
Possibly extinct:
Spain
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: More data are needed to be able to determine population trends. It is widespread but local in the Alps, where populations are thought to be stable. Small, isolated populations at the edge of the species' range may be declining, and there have been subpopulation extinctions (for example in the Pyrenees). In the Harz, the northernmost population in Europe, it appears to have disappeared (last record was in 1954 despite intensive studies to find the species there). It is still present in Germany. Some of the other remaining populations are considered evolutionarily significant units because of their long period of isolation (Meinig 2004).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: In the mountains, it tends to be found in open habitats (meadows, rocky areas with sparse vegetation, and banks of mountain streams), where it lives in cracks and crevices under rocks and in stone walls. At lower altitudes, it prefers cool, damp, shaded areas, such as densely-vegetated ravines and holes under mossy rocks, tree-roots and logs in forests (Spitzenberger 1990, 1999). It mainly feeds on arthropods and molluscs (Spitzenberger 1990).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Loss of alpine water courses due to water abstraction and hydroelectric power is also a threat, as is loss of habitat owing to intensification of winter tourism in the Alps. Human land use is a direct threat and climate change may be a future indirect threat as a result of range shifts in other species that may be direct competitors with S. alpinus when ranges overlap.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention. A major part of the alpine shrew's range in the Carpathians is covered by the Carpathians Reserve (about 45,000 ha) and National Park (about 70,000 ha). There is a need for monitoring, particularly of isolated subpopulations.

Citation: Hutterer, R., Amori, G., Kryštufek, B., Meinig, H., Bertolino, S., Spitzenberger, F. & Zima, J. 2008. Sorex alpinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 November 2014.
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