Mammal Research

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 89–101 | Cite as

A new species of small-eared shrew in the Cryptotis thomasi species group from Costa Rica (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Soricidae)

  • Neal WoodmanEmail author
  • Robert M. Timm
Original Paper


We describe a new species of small-eared shrew, genus Cryptotis Pomel, 1848 (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae), from near the community of Monteverde in the Tilarán highlands of northwestern Costa Rica. The new species is immediately distinguished from all other Costa Rican shrews its large size and long tail. Morphologically, it belongs to the Cryptotis thomasi group of small-eared shrews, a clade that is more typically distributed in the Andes Cordillera and other highland regions of northern South America. The new Costa Rican species and the Panamanian endemic Cryptotis endersi Setzer, 1950 are the only two members of this species group known to occur in Central America. Like most other members of the C. thomasi group for which the postcranial skeleton has been studied, the new species tends be more ambulatory (rather than semi-fossorial) when compared with other members of the genus. Our survey efforts over several decades failed to locate a population of the new species, and we discuss its conservation status in light of its limited potential distribution in the Tilarán highlands and the significant climatic change that has been documented in the Monteverde region during the past four decades.


Biodiversity Central America Cloud forest Conservation Morphology Neotropics 



We are grateful to the late Jerry and Walter James for their commitment to saving smelly dead shrews in the belief that someday someone might find them of biological interest. Richard K. and Margaret L. LaVal greatly assisted our efforts over many years in documenting the amazing fauna of Monteverde. We are grateful to them and to other residents of Monteverde for saving and donating a number of scientifically informative specimens over the years and for their efforts in conserving the natural world around them. We thank the following curators and collection managers for loans or for permission to examine specimens under their care: Robert S. Voss (American Museum of Natural History), Ted Daeschler (Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University), Paula Jenkins (The Natural History Museum), Lawrence R. Heaney and Bruce D. Patterson (Field Museum of Natural History), Jim Dines (Los Angeles County Museum), Jacob A. Esselstyn (Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University), Judith M. Chupasko (Museum of Comparative Zoology), Sharon A. Jansa (James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History), Francisco J. Durán A. (Museo Nacional de Costa Rica), Joseph A. Cook (Museum of Southwestern Biology), Bernal Rodríguez Herrera (Universidad de Costa Rica), and Cody W. Thompson (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology). Deb Bennett assisted with the map used as Fig. 1, and Randall S. Reiserer produced the cranial drawings used as Fig. 2. Alfred L. Gardner and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable suggestions on earlier versions of this manuscript. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US government.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutions at which the studies were conducted.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they do not have conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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