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Homosassa Shrew

Sorex longirostris

Listing Status

  • Federal Status: Not Listed
  • FL Status: State Species of Special Concern
  • FNAI Ranks: Not ranked
  • IUCN Status: Not ranked

Appearance

The Homosassa shrew can reach a length of four inches (102 centimeters) and 0.2 ounces (5.7 grams) in weight. This species has brownish-gray fur that covers their small eyes and ears (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, n.d.).

Behavior

Very little information is available about the life history of the Homosassa shrew, so information about the similar southeastern shrew (Sorex longirostris) is generally accepted as the same.  The diet of the shrew consists of small invertebrates, with approximately 40% of their diet consisting of spiders (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, n.d.).

Some female shrews have been found to reach sexual maturity at the age of one year (French 1980a, French 1980b).  Pregnant females have been found from March through October and litter sizes range between one and six offspring.  Most will not breed during the first summer and will only survive one winter.   

Habitat

homosassa shrew map

Little information exists on the preferred habitats of the Homosassa shrew, but they have been reported to occur in a wide variety of habitats including hardwood swamp/mixed wetland forest, hydric and xeric hammocks, industrial/commercial pineland, mixed hardwood-pine forest, natural pineland, and disturbed/transitional habitat.  The Homosassa shrew can be found from north central to south central Florida.

Threats

The Homosassa shrew faces threats to its population as human populations continue to grow and inhabit areas previously undeveloped. The main threat is the degrading and destruction of their habitats from agriculture and urbanization (Layne 1992). Development can cause the drying of soil and destruction of canopy coverage which can cause an adverse effect to the Homosassa shrew (Davis et al. 2010; Layne 1992). Other threats include the increase of predators in their habitat such as domestic cats (Layne 1992).

Conservation and Management

The Homosassa shrew is protected as a State Species of Special Concern by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule, although more information is needed to accurately assess the population status and trend. 

Biological Status Review (BSR)
Supplemental Information for the BSR

References

Davis, J.C., S.B. Castleberry, and J.C. Kilgo.  2010.  Influence of coarse woody debris on the  soricid community in southeastern Coastal Plain pine stands.  Journal of Mammalogy   91(4):993-999.

French, T.W. 1980a.  Natural history of the southeastern shrew, Sorex longirostrisBachman. American Midland Naturalist 104(1):13-31.

French, T.W.  1980b. Sorex longirostris.  Mammalian Species 143:1-3.

Layne, J.N.  1992.  Sherman’s short-tailed shrew Blarina carolinensis shermani.  Pages 328-334   in S.R. Humphrey (ed.), Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida.  Vol. I. Mammals. University Press of Florida.  Gainesville, Florida.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. (n.d.). Sorex longirostris. Retrieved March 23, 2011, from North American Mammals: http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=317