Cryptotis mexicanus (Coues, 1877)

Russell A. Mittermeier & Don E. Wilson, 2018, Soricidae, Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volume 8 Insectivores, Sloths and Colugos, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 332-551 : 427-428

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.6870843


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Cryptotis mexicanus


89. View On

Small Mexican Small-eared Shrew

Cryptotis mexicanus

French: Musaraigne du Mexique / German: Kleine Mexikanische Kleinohrspitzmaus / Spanish: Musarana de orejas pequenas de México pequena

Other common names: Mexican Short-tailed Shrew

Taxonomy. Blarina (Soriciscus) mexicana Coues, 1877 ,

“ Xalapa [= Jalapa] , Mexico.” Restricted by L. N. Carraway in 2007 to “latitude 19-51°N, longitude 96-91°W.” GoogleMaps

Widely used specific name mexicana has been changed for gender agreement. L. Guevara and F. A. Cervantes in 2014 found that C. mexicanus is included in the C. mexicanus group along with C. obscurus , C. nelsoni , C. phallipsii, and C. magnus and issister to C. obscurus , with C. nelsoni sister to them

both. J. R. Choate in 1970 and E. R. Hall in 1981 included C. nelsoni , C. obscurus , and C. peregrinus in C. mexicanus, although N. Woodman and R. M. Timm in 2000 validated their status as separate species using genetic and morphometric data. A. B. Baird and colleagues in 2018 found that the C. mexicanus group was sister to a clade including the C. nigrescens group, C. parvus group, C. goldmani group, and C. goodwini group. In a 2018 genetic study by H. Zeballos and others describing C. evaristoi, representatives of the C. thomasi group were found to be close to the C. mexicanus group (C. evaristoi, C. montivagus, and C. niausa), although P. A. Moreno in 2017 found that various representatives of the C. thomasi group were sister to the C. nigrescens group. Additional sampling is needed to clarify these relationships. Monotypic.

Distribution. SW San Luis Potosi, Hidalgo, E Puebla, WC Veracruz, NC & E Oaxaca, and W Chiapas (SC Mexico). View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body 55-88 mm,tail 20-34 mm, hindfoot 12-14 mm; weight 6-10 g. The Small Mexican Small-eared Shrew is variably sized but generally small. Dorsum is dark brown or dark reddish brown and slightly lighter on venter; hairs on dorsum have dark tips instead of white or buffy tips on venter. Summer pelage is grayer and drabber than winter pelage. Eyes are diminutive, and ears are small and barely visible underfur. Tail is short (c.37% of head-body length), covered with short hair, and black. Teeth are slightly less pigmented than those of the Grizzled Small-eared Shrew ( C. obscurus ), and skull is smaller than that of Nelson’s Small-eared Shrew ( C. nelsoni ). Teeth are reddish, and there are four unicuspids.

Habitat. Damp grassy areas bordering streams or orchards in humid montane tropical forests, preferring primary forests, at elevations of 520-2600 m. Small Mexican Small-eared Shrews are common in temperate cloud forests, cold and wet pine/oak forests, and forest edge habitats. They occasionally are found near agricultural fields and other disturbed habitats, although thisis less common.

Food and Feeding. The Small Mexican Short-eared Shrew is primarily carnivorous, feeding on insects, earthworms, other invertebrates, and small vertebrates such as lizards.

Breeding. Reproduction of the Small Mexican Short-eared Shrew seems to occur yearround, and litters typically have three young. Nests are spherical, 50-120 mm in diameter, and lined with leaves and dried grasses. They are usually built under logs, rocks, or other objects.

Activity patterns. Small Mexican Short-eared Shrews are nocturnal and diurnal; they are semi-fossorial and agile diggers with specialized forefeet for digging.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. No information.

Status and Conservation. Classified as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List (as C. mexicana ). The Small Mexican Short-eared Shrew has a relatively wide distribution and can be common although it is potentially threatened by deforestation and pesticide use. In 2005,it was estimated that 58% of habitat in its distribution was notsuitable due to urban and agricultural expansion.

Bibliography. Baird et al. (2018), Carraway (2007), Cassola (2016j), Castro-Arellano & Ceballos (2014), Choate (1970, 1973), Guevara (2017), Guevara & Cervantes (2014a), Hall (1981), Hutterer (2005b), Moreno (2017), Reid (2009), Woodman & Timm (2000), Zeballos et al. (2018).














Cryptotis mexicanus

Russell A. Mittermeier & Don E. Wilson 2018

Blarina (Soriciscus) mexicana

Coues 1877
GBIF Dataset (for parent article) Darwin Core Archive (for parent article) View in SIBiLS Plain XML RDF