Cryptotis mayensis (Merriam, 1901)

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 : 430

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Cryptotis mayensis


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Yucatan Small-eared Shrew

Cryptotis mayensis

French: Musaraigne des Mayas / German: Yucatan-Kleinohrspitzmaus / Spanish: Musarana de orejas pequenas de Yucatan

Other common names: Maya Small-eared Shrew, Yucatan Shrew

Taxonomy. Blarina mayensis Merriam, 1901 ,

“ Maya ruin at Chichenitza , Yucatan ”, Mexico. Restricted by LL. N. Carraway in 2007 to “latitude 20-67°N, longitude 88-57°W.” GoogleMaps

Cryptotis mayensis was previously included in C. nigrescens , but N. Woodman and R. M. Timm in 1993 validated its specific status. It is part of the C. nigrescens group, and L. Guevara and colleagues in 2014 and A. B. Baird and colleagues in 2018 determined that C. mayensis was sister to C. lacandonensis. Another recent study by H. Zeballos and

colleagues in 2018 placed C. mayensis close to C. merriami and found that C. nigrescens and C. niausa were close to this group. Monotypic.

Distribution. Yucatan Peninsula in SE Mexico, NE Guatemala, and N Belize; collected in owl pellets in Guerrero (SC Mexico). View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body 61-90 mm, tail 24-33 mm, hindfoot 11-13 mm; weight 4-6 g. The Yucatan Small-eared

Shrew is mid-sized to large, with short fur. Dorsum is paler silvery gray or dark silvery gray, light compared with other species in the C. nigrescens group. Venteris lighter silvery gray than dorsum. Feet are small and slim, with tiny claws, and dusky in color. Tail is very short (c.33% of head-body length), covered with short hair, and silvery gray. Eyes are diminutive, and ears are small and barely visible under fur. Skull is relatively short; fourth unicuspid is completely visible in lateral view; they have sharply pointed zygomatic processes that extend dorso-laterally at level of alveoli of M? and M? (similar to that of species of Sorex ). Teeth are reddish, and there are four unicuspids.

Habitat. Lowland dry scrub, deciduous forests, and seasonally dry evergreen forests from sea level to elevations of ¢.650 m.

Food and Feeding. Yucatan Small-eared Shrews are carnivorous, primarily eating snails, insects, and earthworms.

Breeding. Litters of the Yucatan Small-eared Shrew have 2-6 young; neonates weigh c.0-3 g at birth.

Activity patterns. Yucatan Small-eared Shrews are terrestrial and probably nocturnal. They burrow through understory litter. When in danger, they expel an unpleasant smelling liquid from their anal glands.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. Yucatan Small-eared Shrews are solitary; males and females only come together during estrus.

Status and Conservation. Classified as Least Concern on The IUCN Red List. The Yucatan Small-eared Shrew has a relatively wide distribution, is locally common, and found in various protected areas including Maya Biosphere Reserve. Very little is known of its ecology, and it is mainly known from owl pellets and mummified at archaeological sites. Additional research is needed to understand its natural history.

Bibliography. Baird et al. (2018), Carraway (2005, 2007), Carre6én & Ceballos (2014a), Choate (1970), Cuarén et al. (2016), Guevara, Sanchez-Cordero et al. (2014), He Kai et al. (2015), Hutterer (2005b), Moreno (2017), Reid (2009), Woodman (1995), Woodman & Morgan (2005), Woodman & Timm (1993), Woodman et al. (2012), Zeballos et al. (2018).














Cryptotis mayensis

Russell A. Mittermeier & Don E. Wilson 2018

Blarina mayensis

Merriam 1901