Sorex volnuchini, Ognev, 1921

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 : 404-405

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.6870843


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Sorex volnuchini


29. View Plate 15: Soricidae

Caucasian Pygmy Shrew

Sorex volnuchini View in CoL

French: Musaraigne de Volnuchin / German: Kaukasus-Zwergspitzmaus / Spanish: Musarana enana del C 4 ucaso

Other common names: \ Volnuchin's Shrew

Taxonomy. Sorex volnuchini Ognev, 1921 View in CoL ,

Kisha River , Adygea Republic ( north-east ern Caucasus ), Russia.

Widely used subspecies name colchica changed for gender agreement. Evidence from mtDNA and nDNA sequences classifies S. volnuchiniin the minutus group. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution.


S. v. colchicus Sokolov & Tembotov, 1989 — N Turkey and W Caucasus (Georgia). View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head—body 43-74 mm,tail 33-50 mm, hindfoot 10-13 mm; weight 2-9 g. Size of the Caucasian Pygmy Shrew increases from north to south. Tail is 70-75% of head-body length and sharply bicolored. Pelageis bicolored. Back varies from pale tinted brownish olive in juveniles to dark brown in adults. Sides are slightly lighter with yellowish tint, and belly is light gray. Chromosomal complement has 2n = 40 and FN = 60, with nine pairs of metacentric and ten pairs of acrocentric autosomes. Xchromosome is large metacentric, and Y-chromosome is small acrocentric.

Habitat. Various forests to meadows in the northern Caucasus. As climate becomes more arid in central and eastern Caucasus, range of habitats of the Caucasian Pygmy Shrew appreciably narrows, and near-water habitats are mostly occupied. In Ciscaucasia, abundance is not high even in wet biotopes, possibly because the competing species, Guldenstadt’s White-Toothed Shrew ( Crocidura gueldenstaedtii ), is very abundant. Preferred habitats of the Caucasian Pygmy Shrew in Turkey are humid forests (beech, fir, and spruce), with rhododendron shrubs and rocks.

Food and Feeding. Diet of the Caucasian Pygmy Shrew has not been studied specially, but coleopterans and caterpillars prevailed in gastric contents of several shrews examined.

Breeding. Reproduction of the Caucasian Pygmy Shrew starts in late March or early April and ends in late July or early August; females presumably have two litters/season. Litters have 2-8 young (average six). Male and female young-of-the-year can reproduce.

Activity patterns. Round-the-clock activity is characteristic of the Caucasian Pygmy Shrew, peaking during the darkness hours.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. No information.

Status and Conservation. Classified as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List. The Caucasian Pygmy Shrew is common and even abundant in some regions. Nevertheless,its abundance is low in certain regions, and it is on the Regional Red List in Kabardino-Balkar Republic.

Bibliography. Bukhnikashvili (2004), Karami et al. (2008), KryStufek & Vohralik (2001), Sokolov & Tembotov (1989), Zaitsev et al. (2014), Zima et al. (1998).














Sorex volnuchini

Russell A. Mittermeier & Don E. Wilson 2018

Sorex volnuchini

Ognev 1921
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