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"SHREW TALK" - Vol. 1, No. 24 - 24 November 1997

SHREW TALK - 24 November 1997 - Vol. 1, No. 24
Number of Recipients: >265
Contents of this Issue
o Research
1. Australian fossil shrew puts evolution to test
2. Christmas Island Project: C. attenuata trichura
3. Shrew live trapping methods: Blarina carolinensis
4. Shrew play behaviour
5. Re: Shrew play behaviour: References
o Introductions
1. Monica Folk: Short-tailed shrew predation
2. Emma Teeling: Molecular phylogenetics
3. Pamela Mueller: Small mammals
4. Jim MacCracken: Shrew ecology
5. Azmin Mohd Rashdi: Malaysian shrews
6. Monaca Noble: Sorex gaspensis
o Shrew Snips
1. Mealworms: Shrew food
2. Solenodons in zoos?
o Shrew Bibliography: New Papers / Books
1. Kinsella, J.M. 1967
2. References on shrew helminths
o What's New on the Shrew (ist's) Site
1. Addendum to the 'Shrew Dictionary': Croatian o Shrew Talk Instructions
1) Australian fossil shrew puts evolution to test
From: user@elvinhow.prestel.co.uk
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 11:45:16 +0000
Subject: For your interest
You have probably seen this already, but in case not, in the Daily Telegraph for 21st November the following small article appeared "Fossil shrew puts evolution to the test"...inch long fossilised jawbone....Australia...rewrite history of mammals....owner there 110 million years before current theory...this fossil Ausktribophenos nyktos is 115 million years old...etc etc
Hope this is of interest.
Kind regards, Peter
From: W. Haberl - shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at
The following is the full text of the article as it appeared in 'The Daily Telegraph', November 21, 1997. I would appreciate to receive any comments on this issue.
Thank you,
Fossil shrew puts evolution to test
(Written by Aisling Irwin, Science Correspondent). Taken from: 'The Daily Telegraph', Friday, November 21, 1997 (issue no. 44,300), page 4.
AN INCH-LONG fossilised jawbone from a shrew-like animal discovered in Autstralia could rewrite the history of marnmals, palaeontologists claim today. The find, complete with four teeth, is the oldest mammal fossil found in Australia and indicates that its owner was there 110 million years before current theory says it should have been. Dr. David Archibald, a palaeontologist at San Diego State University, said "all hell would break loose", if the cleims made by the scientist who has analysed it, published in today's 'Science', are correct. The fossil turned up on a beach in southern Australia during a dig run by Dr. Thomas Rich, of the Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, and Dr. Patricia Vickers-Rich, of Munash University, Clayton. When they examined the jaw, they found that rather than being similar to Australia's pouched marsupials - the kangaroo and egg-laying monotremes, such as the duck-billed platypus - it appeared to be the ancestor of placental mammals. These mammals were not beiieved to have reached Australia until five million years ago, but this fossil, Ausktribosphenos nyktos, is 115 million years old. If the analysis is correct, it will revolutionise the understanding of where mammals first evolved und lived. Placental mammals were thought to have originated in Asia and then migrated to North America- If a placental mammal was in Australia more than 100 million years ahead of schedule then no one can say where th first evolved, said Dr. Cifelli. Other researchers are sceptical about the two scientists' claims and say more evidence is needed before redrafting the mammal's family tree.
2) Christmas Island Project: C. attenuata trichura
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 14:57:24
From: Paul Meek <panres@ozemail.com.au>
Dear Colleagues,
I am currently writing a proposal for a study grant (Winston Churchill Fellowship) to undertake an international field visit in 1999. The Churchill Trust provides small grants to Australians to enable selected individuals to undertake research or conduct investigative projects of a kind not fully available in Australia. Since Christmas Island has the only Australian shrew species (Crocidura attenuata trichura), attempts to understand the ecology of this animal are extremely difficult. As such I plan to submit a proposal to conduct an investigative project to learn more about these strange animals. I have already contacted Peter Vogel who has kindly offered to make some time to see me in 1999.
I am keen to visit other researchers studying crociduran shrews, particularly in tropical parts of the world. If there are any researchers that fit the above description I would love to hear from them or about them.
Thank you
Paul Meek Natural Resources Manager Parks Australia North PO Box ZZZ Christmas Island, Indian Ocean phone (08) 91 648 409 fax (08) 91 648 755
3) Shrew live trapping methods: Blarina carolinensis (Reply to L. Hartman, ST 1 / 16, Sept. 9, 1997)
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 19:01:21 -0600
From: Joe Whittaker <joeshrew@siu.edu>
Subject: Re: Live trapping shrews
As far as trapping, I started off using pitfalls (2.4-L plastic cottage cheese containers without any drift fence) and a Russian designed and extremely sensitive live trap. Dr. Joe Merritt has used these Russian traps too. We borrowed one from Joe M. and built our own in one of our campus metal shops. I have a grid of 12 X 13 with 10 m between trap stations. I eventually gave up on the pitfalls, partially because of the labor required to keep pitfalls as live traps. I had trouble with them filling with water during sudden rainstorms and between trapping sessions. Between trapping sessions I would place pieces of bark or sticks in the pitfalls to act as ladders for shrews (etc). I had a lot of trouble with raccoons and opossum removing the sticks, which resulted in subsequent drownings of study subjects. For some reason coyotes also liked digging up the pitfalls and filling in the holes. In a "prestudy" of my current project (and after 7 months of trapping) I found no significant difference in Blarina captures in the Russian traps vs the pitfalls.
Currently I am using the Russian traps and small Sherman traps ( approx. 5.4 x 6.3 x 16.5 cm). Both of these traps have been working very well for me. Initially, the Russian traps had much higher captures, but the captures appear to be equalizing - maybe as the shrews get used to the idea of being trapped and released or as they develop a taste for the bait. I plan to look at initial captures to see if there is a difference, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
As far as bait, I've been using bread (first I freeze it so I can grind it up by hand) that is soaked in unrefined peanut oil (this was recommended to me by E. Ivanter, a researcher from the former Soviet Union) and mixed with cat food. I tried to get the cheapest and smelliest cat food I could find (chicken and fish). The bait is very smelly and the shrews appear to love it. I've been having extremely good luck with recaptures. Unfortunately, the bait also draws raccoons and opossum, and rather than letting them raid the traps, I've taken to actively trapping and moving them from the site. I usually put in a spoonful of bait. I've never tried mealworms, but they are used frequently in the literature.
Most of the Blarina carolinensis I see are approximately 9.5-g (7.5 - 12). They do very well with trap checks every three hours. I keep the traps open for 24 hours and do the 3-hour checks. I usually try to trap for 2 24-hr periods twice a month. I've had very low trap mortality, and most of what I have had has been due to accidents, such as getting into a trap between sessions (if something knocks a Russian trap over, the door may open) or stuck in the door of the Sherman trap. Depending on the weight (and metabolism) of your water shrews, you may need to check the traps more often, especially if they are red-listed. I'm not sure what your trapping experience is, but I handle the shrews pretty much as I would a mouse or vole. I grab them by the scruff of the neck and hold on. Unlike mice, Blarina are extremely squirmy. I usually dump the shrew out of the trap into a plastic bag and grab them through the bag, that way if I feel them start to get loose I can drop them back into the bag. When using pitfalls, I would turn a plastic bag inside out (making sort of a glove or mitten) and "grab" the shrew and then pull the bag back up over my hand. I finally did get bitten with this technique and started using a glove with the plastic bag to remove them from the trap.
A couple bits of cautionary advice. In my trapping both at my current and the pre-study site, it took a long time to get my first shrew capture. In the case of my current site, it was several trapping sessions. After a few months I had a few individuals I would occasionally recapture and then rather suddenly I was inundated. A couple of weekends ago, I had a total of 84 captures of approximately 27 individual shrews. So I guess I would strongly recommend pre-baiting and being patient. My advisor and I even started planning an alternate project - fortunately the shrews came through for me. I also recommend a smelly bait.
I did my Master's degree in Minnesota and knew some people working with water shrews up there. They had success using longworth traps and minnows as bait. They would look for runways along creek banks and use a wire (coathanger) to build a support for the trap over the water. Basically they would place the door of the trap where the runway ended, with the body of the trap just above the surface of the water.
I hope this is helpful for you. I'd be interested to hear how things turn out. If there is anything else I can do to help, please let me know. I've never caught anything besides Blarina (as far as shrews that is - I get mice and voles too) in the Russian traps, but if you are interested in seeing the trap I may be able to send you one. If you have a large budget you may want to try building them. I can tell you more if you want to look into it.
Joe Whittaker Zoology Department Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL 62901
(618) 453-4124 (618) 549-4359 _______________________________________________________________________
4) Shrew play behaviour
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 02:29:08 -0500
From: Israel Christie <ichristi@utk.edu>
Subject: play behavior
I discovered your "shrew-ist's" site, and was wondering if you might be able to direct me towards research concerning play behavior in shrews. Material regarding development or exploration may also be helpful.
Thanks for your time, Israel Christie University of Tennessee
4) Re: Shrew play behaviour: References
From: W. Haberl - shrewbib@sorex.vienna.at
Hi Israel, There is hardly a mentioning of play behaviour in hitherto shrew studies, although I could retrieve two references by searching 'The Shrew Bibliography'. Fagan's book merely refers to it in a few sentences. The literature on shrew development and exploration (eg caravanning) is more abundant and to find out you would have to be more precice on what you are looking for.
1357 Fagen, R. 1981. Animal Play Behavior. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
1750 Goodwin, M.K. 1979. Notes on caravan and play behavior in young captive Sorex cinereus. J. Mammalogy 60: 411-413.
Best wishes, Werner
1) Monica Folk: Short-tailed shrew predation
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 11:34:43 -0800
From: Monica Folk <monicaf@phoenixat.com>
My name is Monica Folk and my email is monicaf@phoenixat.com. I did my master's research on Blarina brevicauda; my thesis was titled "Short-tailed shrew predation on acorn weevil larvae in an upland hardwood forest in Indiana". Currently I am a research biologist for The Nature Conservancy on a very large preserve in Florida. Thank you, Monica
The Nature Conservancy Disney Wildlife Preserve _______________________________________________________________________
2) Emma Teeling: Molecular phylogenetics
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 18:12:47 GMT
From: emma teeling <E.Teeling@Queens-Belfast.AC.UK>
Hello, I would like to join and subscribe to your news letter. I work in molecular phylogenetics and my lab is particularily interested in shrews! Thanks, Emma Teeling _______________________________________________________________________
3) Pamela Mueller: Small mammals
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 18:55:43 -0800
From: Pamela Mueller <donkeys@ucla.edu>
I am studying physiological ecology (nutrition, metabolism and adaptation) of rodents, at the moment Peromyscus mice and Neotoma (woodrats). Not shrews, but if the list has general discussion re small mammals it could be of interest to me.
Pamela J. Mueller, Ph.D. Department of Physiology UCLA School of Medicine 10833 Le Conte Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90095-1751 Phone: 310-825-6076 FAX: 310-206-5661 email:donkeys@ucla.edu _______________________________________________________________________
4) Jim MacCracken: Shrew ecology
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 08:52:50 -0800 (PST)
From: jmac@aone.com (Jim MacCracken)
We're in the process of evaluating the response of forest floor vertebrates (primarily amphibians) to various timber harvest strategies including selective harvests, hardwood conversions, and continuous buffers and leave patches in clearcuts. We capture a lot of shrews and I need to be up to date with shrew ecology, etc.
James G. MacCracken, Ph.D. Wildlife Biologist Longview Fibre Co. Timber Department Box 667 Longview, WA 98632 _______________________________________________________________________
5) Azmin Mohd Rashdi: Malaysian shrews
Organization: Dept. of Wildlife & National Parks
From: kp@jphltn.sains.my
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 1997 15:00:48 +0800 (MYT)
Dear Werner
Paul Meek of Christmas Island, Australia put me on the international shrew site. I have just received the shrew talk digest.
Hopefully in the near future, I could share some of my work on shrews in Malaysia with all of you .
Azmin Mohd Rashdi Dept. of Wilflife and National Park 56100 Kuala Lumpur. Fax 603 9052873 Tel 603 9052872 _______________________________________________________________________
6) Monaca Noble: Sorex gaspensis
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 15:26:49 -0600 (MDT)
From: SLFGS@cc.usu.edu
Subject: Information on Sorex gaspensis
My name is Monaca Noble. I am a student at Utah State University. I am writing a proposal requarding the species designation of Sorex gaspensis and Sorex dipar. I am having difficulting finding current sources on either species. I would like to know if you know of anyone studying these species or any current information about them. Thanks for your time. Monaca Noble
1) Mealworms: Shrew food
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 1997 11:38:17 +0000 (*)
Subject: Re: mealworms and shrews
You probably are doing this already but it is very easy to maintain a colony of mealworm larvae to provide food for the insectivora. In a 20 gallon terrarium I can maintain several hundred insects in various life stages using a bed-o-cob substrate and dried flower, cornmeal,cereals etc for food. Add an apple or potatoe once in a while for moisture. The terrarium should be kept in the dark. Canned dog food can be used to some extent to feed moles and shrews as well, in captivity.
C. Blomme Laurentian University a1400015@nickel.laurentian.ca Sudbury, Ontario Department of Biology P3E 2C6 705-675-1151 (ext 21115)
2) Solenodons in zoos?
From: <jjabara@tdsnet.com>
Subject: captive solenodons
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 15:42:01 -0500
Our Small Planet is a production company that is currently gathering information for several documentaries. One of the projects that we are working on is a film about venomous creatures. We would like to include a segment about venomous mammals and are looking for zoos that have solenodons in their collections. Do you know of any? From what I've read, there are only a few zoos in the world that house these animals. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Fax: 517-351-2204 save@oursmallplanet.com
Thank you, Chris
“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. Kinsella, J.M. 1967. Unusual habitat of the water shrew in western Montana. J. Mammalogy 48 (3): 475-477.
2. References on shrew helminths
Provided by Mike Kinsella
  • Brooks, D.R., M.A. Mayes. (1977): Hymenolepis asketus sp. n. (Cestoidea-. Hymenolepididae) from the short-tailed shrew, Blarina brevicauda Say, from Nebraska. J. Parasitol. 44 (1)t 60-62.
  • Neiland, K.A. (1953): Helminths of Northwestern mammals, Part V. Observations on cestodes of shrews with the descriptions of new species of Liga Weinland, 1857, and Hymenolepis Weinland, 1858. J. Parasitol. 39s 487494.
  • Olsen, 0.W. (1969): Hymenolepis pribilofensis n. sp. (Cestoda: Hymenolepididae) from the Pribilof shrew (Sorex pribilofensis Merriam) from the Pribilof Islands, Alaska. Can. J. Zool. 47. 449-454.
  • Oswald, V.H. (1951), Three new hymenolepid cestodes from the smoky shrew. Sorex fumeus Miller. J. Parasitol. 37: 573-576.
  • Pinter, A.J., W.D. 0'Dell. R.A. Watkins. (1988): Intestinal parasites of small mammals from Grand Teton National Park. J. Parasitol. 74(1): 187188. (Giardia from 1 Sorex palustris.)
  • Rausch, R., M.L. Kuns. (1950)t Studies on some North American shrew cestodes. J. Parasitol. 36: 433-438.
  • Rausch, R.L., V.R. Rausch. (1973): Capillaria maseri sp.n. (Nematoda) from insectivores (Soricidae and Talpidae) in Oregon. Proc. Helm. Soc. Wash. 40(1): 107-112.
  • Read. C.P. (1949)s Studies on North American helminths of the genus Capillaria Zeder, 1800 (Nematoda) t 1. Capillarids from mammals. J. Parasitol. 35(3): 223-230.
  • Senger, C.M. (1955): Observations on cestodes of the genus Hymenolepis in North American shrews. J. Parasitol. 41. 167-170.
  • Voge. M. (1953): Hymenolepis parvissima n.sp., a minute cestode from the shrew Sorex bendirei bendirei (Merriam) in California. J. Parasitol. 39t 599-602.
  • Voge. M. (1955): Hymenolepis pulchra n.sp.. a cestode from the shrew, Sorex trowbridgei in California. Proc. Helm. Soc. Wash. 22:90-92.
  • Voge, M. (1955): Hymenolepis virilis n.sp., a cestode from the shrew Sorex trowbridgei in California. J. Parasitol. 41t 270-272.
  • Voge, M. (1955), Notes on four Hymenolepidid cestodes from shrews. J. Parasitol. 41: 74-76.
  • Voge, M.. R. Rausch. (1955): Occurrence and distribution of Hymenolepidid cestodes in shrews. J. Parasitol. 41. 566-573.
  • Wittrock, D.D., G.L. Hendrickson. (1979): Helminths of shrews, Blarina brevicauda and Sorex cinereus, in Iowa. J. Parasitol. 65(6): 985-986.
  • ***********************************************************************
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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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    Dr. Werner Haberl. Address: Hamburgerstrasse 11, A-1050 Vienna, Austria.
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