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"SHREW TALK" - Vol. 1, No. 08 - 8 July 1997

SHREW TALK - 8 July 1997 - Vol. 1, No. 8
Number of Recipients: >212
Contents of this Issue
o Editorial
o Research
1. Sherman and Longworth traps
2. Biodiversity survey of Hongkong
3. Semi-aquatic insectivore symposium
4. Unusual aggregations of shrews
5. Re: Unusual aggregations of shrews: References
o Shrew Bibliography: New Papers
o What's New on the Shrew (ist's) Site?
o Shrew Leisure
1. Shrewsters
2. Shrewbots
o Shrew Talk Instructions
Dear Shrew-Fessionals and Shrew-Mateurs,
The number of subscribers has grown rapidly and I am glad that it seems that we have finally made it to not only ask questions, but to also provide some information. Pat Morris' contribution includes the remarkable fact that shrews are highly tolerant of rat poison.
It may be a bit late, but I also included some information on the semi-aquatic insectivore symposium at the Euro-American Mammal Congress.
Your's shrewly,
Werner Haberl
1) Sherman and Longworth traps
From: Morris P <P.Morris@rhbnc.ac.uk>
Subject: shrewnews
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 1997 08:23:08 +0100
Dear Shrewsters,
A friend sent me your 'shrew talk' newsletter. I have investigated the removal of an entire population of Suncus murinus from an island where they were compromising a reptile reintroduction project. We found they could be poisoned using Brodifacoum, but needed the sort of dosage that would kill a rat 5 times larger. In the course of this study I used Sherman traps and avoided mucky bait (dogfood, peanut butter and dried fish) getting under the treadle mechanism by dispensing the bait in empty snail shells inside the trap. A better solution to this problem is to invest in Longworth traps, a British substitute for Shermans that are in my experience greatly superior for all species up to the size of juvenile rats. They have a trip wire instead of a treadle platform. They can also be easily opened for cleaning and the bedding is in a separate chamber where it does not obstruct the mechanism. Full details on their availability, use etc are in a booklet published by the Mammal Society, Cloisters House, Battersea Park Road, London SW8 4BG UK. Please don't add me to any mailing lists, I'm trying to keep my e-mail box from getting overfilled every day! Pat Morris P A Morris
E-Mail: P.Morris@rhbnc.ac.uk Telephone: (01784) 443779 _______________________________________________________________________
2) Biodiversity survey of Hongkong
Date: Mon, 07 Jul 1997 18:04:41 +0800
From: Richard Corlett <corlett@hkucc.hku.hk>
Subject: Shrew Talk: survey methods
Dear Shrewists,
We are currently in the middle of a three-year, government-funded biodiversity survey of Hong Kong. The aims are to identify sites and species in need of protection. Contrary to what you will have seen on your television screens last week, Hong Kong's 1000 square km are mostly non-urban, protected by rugged topography and, for much of it, law, from development. And it still has an amazingly diverse flora and fauna: 220 spp. of butterflies, 370 native spp. of trees etc. However, only 2 shrews, Crocidura attentuata and Suncus murinus, as far as we know.
The small mammal part of the survey has so far been done with Longworth and similar traps, with baits attractive to rodents. We catch very few shrews. We need a technique by which we can reliably assess the presence and, if possible, abundance of shrews at a site, preferably in the 3 days we normally spend there. In a similar survey in Singapore's nature reserves, we caught no shrews at all in rodent traps but got them regularly in deep pitfall traps with drift fences, set up by the herpetologists. However, Hong Kong's hillsides have typically shallow, rocky soil and putting in pitfall traps is very difficult.
We would be very grateful for any suggestions on reliable ways of catching tropical shrews. We believe they are much more widespread than trapping has so far shown. They occur regularly, although at low frequency, in the scats of civets, and dead shrews - killed and abandoned by carnivores? - are quite often seen in open areas.
Yours sincerely,
Richard Corlett CORLETT@HKUCC.HKU.HK _______________________________________________________________________
3) Semi-aquatic insectivore symposium
From: "Ana Isabel Queiroz" <carlos.romao@mail.telepac.pt>
Subject: EAMC - symposium
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 13:54:32 +0100
FROM: Ana Isabel Queiroz
ICN - Instituto da Conservacao da Natureza
Rua Filipe Folque, 46-1 P-1050 Lisboa
SUBJECT: EAMC - symposium on the biology and conservation of semiaquatic insectivores
Dear colleague,
I am working in the organisation of a symposium on the biology and conservation of semi-aquatic insectivores, integrated in the Europe-American Mammal Congress (July 20-24, 1988, Santiago de Composted - SPAIN). For the moment, I intend to include posters and oral presentations on Desmaninae (Galemys pyrenaicus and Desmana moschata), gen.Neomys, Sorex palustris, Condylura cristata and Chironectes minimus.
The main topics are:
* Biological studies that are more relevant for evaluating the conservation status of the species or defining conservation measures, such as: distribution, species ecological requirements, reproduction, population dynamics, etc.
* Evolution of semiaquatic insectivores: species as relics ?
* Flagship species for the conservation of aquatic and riparian habitats
For the moment 6 communications/posters are already "engaged":
QUEIROZ et al. (Portugal).....Galemys pyrenaicus
BERTRAND, A. (France) ... Galemys pyrenaicus
ALEXANDROV, V. (Russia) ......Desmana moschata
CHURCHFIELD, S. (UK)........Neomys fodiens
RYCHLIK, L. (Poland)....Neomys anomalus...(Neomys fodiens)
FERNANDEZ-GALIANO, E. (C.Europe) Bern Convention's 1996 recommendation on conservation of semiaquatic insectivora: content and follow up.
I am gathering contributions and suggestions to this event, namely on species that are more unknown or more endangered. Do you want to participate ? Can you send me contacts of people that work in semi-aquatic insectivores ? For finnancial support, the organization ( Galemys @ Pinar1.csic.es) can only help concerning registration fees, etc. but nothing more at this stage.
If you can provide me any help, I thank you in advance.
Ana Isabel Queiroz
NOTE: Contact me by e-mail: carlos.romao@mail.telepac.pt or by FAX: 351-1-3574771. _______________________________________________________________________
4) Unusual aggregations of shrews
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 10:04:37 -0500
From: "Stephen H. Vessey" <svessey@bgnet.bgsu.edu>
Organization: Biology, BGSU
Subject: Shrew Aggregations
My wife and I recently observed an aggregation of shrews, probably Sorex cinereus. Perhaps as many as a dozen shrews were moving about beneath the oak leaf litter in an area about 7 m in diameter. Two were seen chasing and boxing. Frequent high-pitched sounds were heard. The aggregation persisted for more than one hour, and drifted about 10 m. Checks with several colleagues indicate that this phenomenon has been seen before, and Burt and Grossenheider mention a few reports of concentrations of masked shrews. This behavior pattern was definitely not the caravanning reported for Crocidura. My question is: has this behavior pattern been documented in the literature, and, if so, could someone give me a reference? Thanks in advance. Steve Vessey
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 13:28:18 -0500
From: "Stephen H. Vessey" <svessey@bgnet.bgsu.edu>
(in reply to below message #5)
(...) I have had a chance to read the 1959 note by Woolfenden and our observations seem to parallel his quite closely, in terms of numbers, activity, and even the date (23 vs 26 April!). I believe the animals we saw also were adults, but we did not try to capture any. I will continue to check the site for further shrew activity. Steve Vessey
Stephen H. Vessey, Professor
e-mail: svessey@bgnet.bgsu.edu
Department of Biological Sciences
voice: 419-372-2434
Bowling Green State University
FAX: 419-372-2024
Bowling Green, OH 43403
http://www.bgsu.edu/departments/biology/ _______________________________________________________________________
5) Re: Unusual aggregations of shrews
From: Werner Haberl - shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at
Reply to Prof. Vessey (unusual aggregations of shrews, Sorex cinereus),
This interesting phenomenon in shrews, other than in Crocidurinae (that are known for caravan formation), has hitherto only rarely been observed. There are a few descriptions in the early literature (references below).
Your observation in Sorex cinereus and the involved number of shrews (about a dozen, two of which were chasing and boxing), might indicate that you could have seen two 'families' (mother and young) at a time when the family bond breaks after the nestling period and the young gradually disperse when making their first excursions. Still the phenomenon is elusive, as also aggregations of adult shrews have been observed. Woolfenden (1959) observed a group of 20 adult S. cinereus. Dowler et al. (1985) conclude from the number of multiple catches in traps, that S. cinereus can show social behaviour.
Guggisberg (1955) observed a number of Sorex araneus (also see Crowcroft 1957 for further descriptions). Spitzenberger (1978) observed 7 S. araneus hunting together in April and Blumenberg (1982) assumes that these must have been adults. McCarley (1959) found 31 individuals of Cryptotis parva (adult and subadult) in one nest. Lady Seton (1945, cit. Pitt 1945) observed a 'mass migration' of water shrews (Neomys fodiens) swimming upstream. And Von Sanden (1949) describes a 'winter group' in this species. in Walker et. al (1964) you can read: 'N. fodiens is usually encountered only in small groups". When analyzing these and future accounts, it would be important to know more about the familiar relationships between the individuals.
Maybe, in this context, also my own observation could fit in: 2 adult Sorex araneus put in the same container with their young showed no signs of aggression, even after successive removal of the young (Haberl 1996).
I hope that these references and Prof. Vessey's observation will encourage further consideration of this topic and I would very much appreciate it if anyone knowing about further literature or unpublished accounts of this phenomenon could contact me.
References (taken from 'The Shrew Bibliography'):
439 Blumenberg, D. 1982. Untersuchungen zur Kleinsaeugerfauna eines Marschgebietes. Z. Angew. Zool. 69(3): 309-330.
805 Churchfield, S. 1988. Shrews of the British Isles. Bucks: Shire Publ. Ltd. (Shire Natural History series No. 30).
938 Crowcroft, P. 1957. The Life of the Shrew. London: Max Reinhardt. 166 pp.
1170 Dowler, R.C., H.M. Katz, A.H. Katz 1985. Comparison of live trapping methods for surveying small mammal populations. Northeastern Environmental Science 4(3/4): 165-171.
1841 Guggisberg, C.A.W. 1955. Das Tierleben der Alpen. Spitzmaeuse, Bd. 2, S. 21-29. Bern.
3425 McCarley, W.H. 1959. An unusually large nest of Cryptotis parva. J. Mammalogy 40: 243.
4202 Pitt, F. 1945. Mass movement of the water shrew, Neomys fodiens. Nature 156 (3956): 247.
4676 Sanden, W. Von 1949. Die Wasserspitzmaus. In: Guja (ed.). Leben am See der Voegel. S. 129-143. Marburg.
5160 Spitzenberger, F. 1978. Die Alpenspitzmaus (Sorex alpinus Schinz). (Mammalia Austriaca 1). Mitt. Abt. Zool. Landesmus. Joanneum 7(3): 145-162.
5937 Woolfenden, G.E. 1959. An unusual concentration of Sorex cinereus. J. Mammalogy 40(3): 437.
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.
1) Small mammals in the afforestable montane grasslands of the NE Cape, South Africa.
A.J. Armstrong & H.J. van Hensbergen Department of Nature Conservation, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X 1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa (Present address of first author: Natal Parks Board, P. O. Box 662, Pietermaritzburg, 3200, South Africa)
The small mammals at five sites on each of six land types in the afforestable grasslands of the northern Eastern Cape Province were sampled. Sampling grids consisting of 100 equally spaced trapping points were used. Mean species richness and relative abundance per hectare did not differ significantly over the land types. Significant associations between site type and species relative abundances were: valleys and north slopes with Rhabdomys pumilio; south slopes with Myosorex varius and Otomys irroratus; east slopes with M. varius; and crests with Mus minutoides and Mystromys albicaudatus. The threatened rare species M. albicaudatus was associated with crests and ridges.
South African Journal of Wildlife Research, 1996, 26(1): 11-18.
(Abstract provided by Author) _______________________________________________________________________
2) Armstrong, A.J., H.J. van Hensbergen. 1995. Effects of afforestation and clearfelling on birds and small mammals at Grootvadersbosch, South Africa. Suid-Afrikaanse Bosboutydskrif 174: 17-21.
o Last Update: 8 July 1997
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o SHREW (ist's) SITE - Related Info & Inquiries
The following pages were updated on 6 July:
'Shrewists on E-mail', 'Shrew Dictionary'
1) Shrewsters
It is quite amusing to see how the number of 'taxonomic' groups of Shrewists is growing and it shows that scientists also have a sound sense of humour.
In addition to J. Savolainen's 'nomenclature' (see Shrew Talk Vol. 1, No. 6), Pat Morris now introduced the term 'Shrewsters'. I hope that we will soon find out more about the 'systematic' relationships between these groups.
W.H. _______________________________________________________________________
2) Shrewbots
If you have never seen one before, take a look at
- it was illustrated by Peter Rublee (-thank you, Peter!) -
or visit http://www.shrewbot.com (Shrew! music)
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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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