Suncus niger (Horsfield, 1851)

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 : 463

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.6870843


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Suncus niger


192. View Plate 19: Soricidae

Nilgir 1 Highland Shrew

Suncus niger

French: Pachyure de Horsfield / German: Nilgiri-Moschusspitzmaus / Spanish: Musarana de tierras altas de Nilgiri

Other common names: South Indian Highland Shrew

Taxonomy. Sorex niger Horsfield, 1851 ,

“ Madras,” India.

G. B. Corbet and J. E. Hill in 1992 ex pressed doubt about the conspecific status of the Indian S. niger and the Sri Lankan S. montanus , including it in the synonymy of S. montanus but questioning if it might be a distinct species. M. Ruedi and colleagues in 1996 found that specimens of S. niger (under the name of S. montanus ) and S. murinus from Nilgiri Hills, where

the two species are sympatric but not syntopic, were distinct based on protein electrophoresis. R. Hutterer in 2005 considered niger as a distinct subspecies of S. montanus . In their phylogeny based on mitochondrial and nuclear genes, S. Dubey and colleagues in 2007 and 2008 used samples of S. niger (as S. montanus ) from the Nilgiri Hills. In 2008, they showed that S. [ niger ] and S. stoliczkanus formed a clade that was sister to S. murinus and that this clade was distinct from S. day:. In their analysis of mitochondrial genes, S. Meegaskumbura and C. J. Schneider in 2008 concluded that S. niger from Southern India represented a species distinct from S. montanus from Sri Lanka. They also found that S. nigerand S. stoliczkanus from Nepal were sister species. Monotypic.

Distribution. Highlands of S India; recorded from a few disjunct localities in Karnataka and Kerala and from several localities in the Nilgiri and the Palni (= Palani) hills, Tamil Nadu. View Figure

Descriptive notes. Head-body 74-114 mm, tail 54-86 mm, ear 7-14 mm, hindfoot 14-21 mm; weight 13-24 g. The Nilgiri Highland Shrew is medium-sized, with short, soft pelage, being dark brown dorsally and slightly lighter ventrally. Tail is 51-93% of head-body length, brown above, and slightly paler below, with long bristle hairs over most of its length.

Habitat. Primary and secondary forest, montane semi-evergreen forests, montane rainforest, and highland marshes at elevations of 1050-2440 m.

Food and Feeding. No information.

Breeding. No information.

Activity patterns. Nilgiri Highland Shrews are said to be crepuscular but might be active intermittently night and day.

Movements, Home range and Social organization. No information.

Status and Conservation. Not assessed on The IUCN Red List. The Nilgiri Highland Shrew was considered as conspecific with the Sri Lankan Highland Shrew (S. montanus ). In the 2008 assessment of the Sri Lankan Highland Shrew, the Indian and Sri Lankan populations were classified as Vulnerable on The IUCN Red List because of restricted areas of occupancy, fragmented locations, and continuing decline in area and quality of habitat due to anthropogenic activities.

Bibliography. Corbet & Hill (1992), Dubey, Salamin, Ohdachi et al. (2007), Dubey, Salamin, Ruedi et al. (2008), Hutterer (2005b), Meegaskumbura & Schneider (2008), Molur, Nameer & Goonatilake (2008a), Molur, Srinivasulu et al. (2005), Pradhan (2009), Quérouil et al. (2001), Ruedi et al. (1996).














Suncus niger

Russell A. Mittermeier & Don E. Wilson 2018

Sorex niger

Horsfield 1851
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