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Shrew Talk

"SHREW TALK" - Vol. 1, No. 05 - 24 June 1997

SHREW TALK - 27 June 1997 - Vol. 1, No. 6
Number of Recipients: >179
Contents of this Issue
o Editorial
o Research
1. Shrew anatomy
2. Limb muscles
3. Re: Venom in shrews
4. Baiting Sherman Traps
5. Re: Baiting Sherman Traps: a summary
o Shrew-mateur
1. Shrews as pets
o Shrew Bibliography: New Papers
o Whats New on the Shrew (ist's) Site?
o Shrew (ist's) Site - Related Inquiries
o Shrew Leisure
1. Shrew-Nuts
2. Places to spend holidays or retire
o Acknowledements
o Shrew Talk Instructions
Dear Shrew-Fessionals and Shrew-Mateurs,
I actally intended to publish this issue in about a week, but received more mail than I expected and did not want this message to become too large. I think, about 20 k is an acceptable size.
Your's shrewly,
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 17:42:53 +0300
From: Jukka Savolainen <jsavolainen@joyl.joensuu.fi>
Subject: Shrew anatomy
Locomotory patterns of shrews and their effect on the anatomy of the limbs and physiology.
According to my results (and Dr. Suzuki's on S. murinus) it seems that there are no slow twitch fibers in the limb muscles of shrews. The absence of slow fibers would be quite unique among mammals. Slow twitch fibers have been considered to be required especially in postural muscles (keeping the posture).
Although studied in only a few species, it is possible that "myosin isoform MHCI (expressed commonly slow-twitch fibers)" is not expressed at all in any shrew species. The idea that there are no slow fibers / slow myosin in shrews would be extremely interesting in an evolutionary context.
Also the soleus muscle anatomically differs from those of rodents; in rodents this muscle is connected to the fibula by a wide tendon, but in shrews there is no such tendon (or it is very very short). Thus, the soleus would be also anatomically differentiated from rodents (big and similar sized species).
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 17:42:53 +0300
From: Jukka Savolainen <jsavolainen@joyl.joensuu.fi>
Subject: Limb muscles
Poster Demonstration: International Congress of Physiological Sciences. St. Petersburg, 1997.
Savolainen, J. & Vornanen, M.
Department of Biology, University of Joensuu, Finland
Fibre type composition in hind limb muscles of the common shrew (Sorex araneus), pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus), water shrew (Neomys fodiens) and harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) were determined. The fibre sizes were measured with image analysis as a cross-sectional area (CSA) in transverse sections. In addition, fibre sizes of mammalian species were obtained from a search of the literature. Regression analysis was used to reveal possible correlation between body mass and CSA of myofibres in skeletal muscles. The slow fibres were totally absent in shrew species. In harvest mouse slow fibres were found in soleus, but not in plantaris or lateral and medial gastrocnemius. Three fast-twitch fibre types could be separated on the basis of myosin-ATPase staining: darkly stained IIX, intermediate IIBX and pale IIB. The CSAs decreased in order of IIX<IIBX<IIB in all muscles, except soleus. Although size of different fibres overlapped, the same fibre type was smaller in S. araneus, S. minutus than in analogous muscles of N. fodiens and M. minutus (p<0.05). The mean fibre CSAs of the four species varied from 535 to 1536 "um2", being smaller than those usually found in bigger mammals. The size of the animals in allometric comparison ranged from the Suncus etruscus (2.5 g) to the camel (476 kg). The regression analysis revealed positive correlation between fibre CSA and body size, which is described by an allometric equation, 1894 Mb0.13 (r2=0.66). The dependence is strongest in small-sized species, especially seen in shrews and small rodents. This analysis shows that the size of mammalian skeletal muscle fibres correlates with body size and the decrease is most evident in species with the body mass less than 100 g.
Keywords: skeletal muscle, fibre cross-sectional area, mammals
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 97 16:38:22 CDT
From: Tom Tomasi <TET962F@VMA.SMSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: SHREW TALK: Vol. 1, No. 4 / Venom in shrews
In the June 20 newletter, a question was posed concerning Blarina bites and the effect in humans. In an early paper, a reaction to a Blarina bite was described in which it swelled up and hurt for days. However, I have been bit and had no such reaction. It is rare that the skin is broken to where the venon can be "applied". Even when this occurs, the reaction may depend on the person (this may or may not be similar to anaphylactic shock).
For original papers, see:
O. Pearson, 1942, J. Mammalogy 23: 159-166
O. Pearson, 1956, in VENOMS edited by E. Buckley AAAS 44 S.
Ellis & O. Krayer, 1955, J. Pharm Exper Therapeutics 114: 127-137
T. Tomasi, 1978, J. Mammalogy 59: 852-854 _______________________________________________________________________
NOTE: A summary of the hitherto discussion in March/April 1997 can be read at: http://members.vienna.at/shrew/cult-poison.html Werner Haberl _______________________________________________________________________
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 20:22:13 -0400
From: "Sara" <canerone@URIACC.URI.EDU>
Subject: Baiting Sherman Traps
Hello there,
>I am currently working at the Mass. Military Reservation on Cape Cod, >surveying small mammals as part of a land condition trend analysis crew. >Anyway, I was curious to know if anyone as ever used the method of wrapping >bait (peanut butter, oats, whatever) in cheese cloth in such a way that you >are able to hang the bait at the back of the trap, by pulling the tail end >of the cheese cloth out the back door. From what I understand, this >suspends the bait at the back of the trap, hence no possibility of it >interfering with the trap mechanism. It also enables you to see if anything >had been in the trap, that is, if the animal nibbled on the bait. >Does this method make any sense? Is there any useful data in knowing that >an animal had been in the trap if you can't determine the species? Also, >something that concerns me about this method is the fact that the mammals >must eat the cheesecloth in order to get to the bait. I work part time as >a vet. tech., and stringy material like this very often causes intestinal >obstructions. >Please let me know how you all feel about this idea, and please, if anyone >has used this method I'd love to hear about it. > >Thanks a million, >
>Sara M. Stevens
E-mail:Canerone@uriacc.uri.edu _______________________________________________________________________
5) Re: Baiting Sherman Traps: a summary
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 16:44:28 EDT
From: Kathleen Logiudice <klogiu@EDEN.RUTGERS.EDU>
Sara, I have tried a method similar to the one you described to suspend bedding above the treadle in small Sherman traps and it appeared to work well. However, a conversation that I had with Diane Post at the meetings in Oklahoma has made me think twice: she told me that she had had several mortalities in her captive woodrat colony because animals were eating the cotton or polyester bedding. I would think that smaller mammals would have a hard time digesting the cheese cloth as well as bedding. You might try mixing peanut-butter with oatmeal and forming small balls with a string through each one. The mixture is fairly solid and would probably hang quite well from the door of the trap.
Good luck, Kathleen LoGiudice
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 14:48:22 -0600
From: Paul Stapp <stapp@LAMAR.COLOSTATE.EDU>
Actually, I have used a similar technique in Sherman traps to prevent loose baits like pb/oats from blocking the treadles, except that we use wax paper, which is less expensive and probably easier to chew through (so mice consume less paper). Ants do seem to manage to chew through the paper eventually as well, but not as quickly as bait on the trap itself. We have problems with large tenebrionid beetles in traps as well and this seems to reduce their climbing into traps too (they're about the perfect size to climb under the treadle and prevent the traps from springing). It is a little more expensive than just scattering bait and a little more time-consuming, but we make up large batches and freeze them. It allows you to tell whether traps are operating correctly, which might be important in your study if you are trying to catch small mammals like shrews or harvest/pocket mice. For example, I used bait balls in an experiment to examine captures of mice in traps containing different odors, and this technique allowed me to discard instances where mice managed to enter traps and chew bait without actually being caught. (not necessarily a trap malfunction - some will stand on the door or cross bar).
We form balls ca. 2 cm in diameter, wrap them in wax paper, leaving a long twist that we pull through one of the holes in the top of the back door. Works great. Good luck!
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 13:50:02 PST
From: "Jerry O. Wolff" <jerryw@heart.cor.epa.gov>
We used this method for 12 years on my Mountain Lake mouse project and found it very successful. However, we wrapped the bait in wax paper (we used solid shortening rather than peanut butter so as not to "attract" animals but to provide sustenance once they were caught). The wax paper method was much cleaner, easier, and probably healthier for the animals. Most importantly, it keep the traps clean. If animals are nibbling on the bait and not getting caught, probably what it tells you is that your traps are not set as sensitively as they should be.
Jerry Wolff
I cannot comment on Sherman Traps, but I used a similar method for my own studies (catching shrews). My traps were a special construction and home-made. There was a hole drilled in the back to which a small container containing the 'bait' (or rather 'food supply') was attached. This was a 'film-box' closed with nylon gauze containing some meal-worms. My traps were un-set, i.e. in a 'pre-bait' - state for some time and I could easily see, which traps had been visited during that time. This data can be very benificial for selecting trap locality, efficiency of traps or for discarding / repairing traps in use.
Werner Haberl - shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at
1) Shrews as pets:
I am frequently being asked about the possibility of keeping a shrew as a pet and I hitherto replied to these questions personally, stating that shrews are wild animals, and that most species are endangered and protected by law in some countries. Besides, I doubt that anybody would enjoy these 'smelly', carcass-eating, critters, that are full of parasites, as pets. It would be useful to prepare a text on this topic. Any contributions that would convince somebody to rather turn to an aquarium or a cat are highly appreciated.
Werner Haberl - shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at
“The Shrew Bibliography” is a collection of more than 6000 references to research on the biology of the Soricidae (Insectivora, Mammalia) and small mammal ecology. More info: http://members.vienna.at/shrew/shrewbib.html
To announce your new research papers/books, please follow the instructions (separate fields with the character "#"): Author(s)#Year#Title#Journal&Page No.#Abstract#Keywords#Address *I* would appreciate receiving a reprint of your paper and/or a list of your publications to add to the bibliography.
IUCN. 1995. Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrews. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Compiled by R.D. Stone, IUCN/SSC Insectivore, Tree Shrew and Elephant Shrew Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. 108 pp.
o Last Update: 27 June 1997
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o SHREW (ist's) SITE - Related Info & Inquiries
J. Savolainen made me aware that some things on The Shrew Site (some images and links) do not work correctly. I will have this fixed as soon as possible.
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 10:59:29 +0300
From: Jukka Savolainen <jsavolainen@joyl.joensuu.fi>
Subject: Shrew nut
This is just to let you know about a possible name for a true shrew enthusiast: shrew nut. (Not nutcase). But shrew nut, like hifi-nut or movie-nut etc. Proper spelling would be (I suppose) shrew nut but it could be put as shrew-nut? So, there would be shrew-mateurs shrew-fessionals and shrew-nuts (which could be either of those former ones).
Linnee would be happy to notice that he has been able to infiltrate the idea of classification and nomenclature to everyday life of the naturalists. Evolutionary, the shrew-nuts could have devoloped from either of the groups. Would the shrew-nuts then be a "dead end"? Hopefully and probably not.
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 10:59:29 +0300
From: Jukka Savolainen <jsavolainen@joyl.joensuu.fi>
Subject: Places to spend holidays or retire
By the way, did you know that there is a town called Shrewsbury (USA) and a school, Shrewsbury School (England, Kingsland, Shrewsbury).
Links to these places are
*www.ci.shrewsbury.ma.us (USA; probably no service in European daytime)
*www.shrewsbury.demon.co.uk (England, just the school)
So there are two possible places for shrew-nuts to have holidays or retire...
I want to thank Jukka Savolainen for all the encouragement and for frequently checking my web-site for errors and making me aware of not-working links.
All replies to the Shrew Talk inquiries should be posted to the group. However, if you prefer to reply to someone personally, *I* would appreciate receiving a copy of the mail (Cc or Bcc) and/or a summary of the "outcome".
Reply to shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at - include the words "Shrew Talk" in the subject line.
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Dr. Werner Haberl Editor, SHREW TALK (http://members.vienna.at/shrew/shrewtalk.html) Hamburgerstr. 11, A-1050 Vienna, Austria
Email: shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at URL: http://members.vienna.at/shrew (The Shrew (ist's) Site)
The Shrew Bibliography (> 6000 references) (available on CD ROM) ==================================================================

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