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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Neal Woodman.

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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.

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Communicated by: Jan M. Wójcik

Appendix

Appendix

Specimens Examined

C. endersi (n = 2)—PANAMA: Bocas del Toro: Cylindro (ANSP 20955—holotype); Chiriquí/Bocas del Toro; Cerro Bollo (3½ km E Escopeta), 1800–1856 (USNM 54048).

C. gracilis (n = 45)—COSTA RICA: Cartago: Estación El Sitio (KU 160207); 6.5 km ESE of Ojo de Agua, N. slope of Cerro Sákira, 3260 m (USNM 568678); Cerro Asunción, 11,000–11,100 ft (LSU 12641–12650); Cerro de la Muerte, 3335 m (UMMZ 115403); N side summit, Pan American Highway (Cerro de la Muerte) (UMMZ 112000); Parque Nacional Chirripó (USNM 564368). Limón: near base of Pico Blanco (=Cerro Kámuk), head of Río Lari, ca. 6000 ft (USNM12236—holotype); Río Teribe (=Río Tararia), Valle El Silencio, Río Cotón, 8000 ft (USNM 539863). San José: Cerro Chirripó, Headwaters of Río Talari, 11,600 ft (LSU 12657–12664); Cerro de la Muerte, Hotel [La] Georgina, 3100 m (USNM 556131); Villa Mills, Cerro de la Muerte (USNM 569240); Cerro Buena Vista, near Cerro de la Muerte (MSB 28339); Cerro Estaquero, 10,000 ft (LSU 12640); La Piedra, ca. 4 mi SW Cerro Chirripó, 10,500 ft (LSU 12651–12656); Las Vueltas, 8000 ft (UMMZ 62885); San Gerardo de Dota, ca. 2400–2700 m (KU 142690, 142691). PANAMA: Bocas del Toro: Cerro Fabrega, 8400 ft (USNM 539864); 17.5 km NNW of El Volcán, NE of Cerro Pando, 2180 m (USNM 516615, 516616). Chiriquí: Cerro Punta, Boquete Trail, 7600 ft (USNM 322994–322996); 17 km NNW of El Volcán, head of Río Candela, 2000 m (USNM 516617).

C. merriami (n = 2)—COSTA RICA (2): Guanacaste: 4 to 5 km NE of Tilarán (near Finca San Bosco, ca. 19.5 km SE Tilarán, between Quebrada San Bosco and Río Negro) (KU 84365). Puntarenas: Santa Elena, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Sendero Chomogo (MNCR 358).

C. monteverdensis (n = 1)—COSTA RICA: Puntarenas: Monteverde, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, “cloud forest at the continental divide,” ca. 1550 m (KU 134852—holotype).

C. nigrescens (n = 122)—COSTA RICA: Alajuela: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, 870–1840 m (KU 143371, 143377–143381, 159032–159037, 160216, 160217, 160219, 160979, 160980). Puntarenas: Monteverde, 1100–1790 m (FMNH 124101, 128415, 135224; KU 134898, 135008, 135083, 142053, 142054, 142689, 142786–142789, 143295–143297, 143382–143384, 143386–143396, 143496, 143636–143638, 144612, 157587–157594, 157597–157599, 157945, 157946, 157952, 158304–158306, 158631, 158980–158998, 160191–160198, 160218, 160948–160950, +4 uncataloged; LACM 67443, 64840, 67453; MMNH 14095; MNCR 352; UMMZ 115844, 115883, 115884, 117107–117110; USNM 568679, 568680, 570509); San Luis (ca. 2.5 km S Monteverde), 1200 m (KU 143385, 157595).

C. orophilus (n = 25)—COSTA RICA: Alajuela: 2 km oeste de Grecia (UCR 1298); Zarcero, 6000 ft (FMNH 43974). Cartago: Cartago (BMNH 7.5.30.4, 95.8.17.6; KU 26932; UMMZ 66465, 67316); Guarco (KU 16563); Coliblanco (KU 26930, 26931); La Estrella de Cartago, 4500 ft (AMNH 14847, UMMZ 64147); Irazu Range (Volcán de Irazú) (AMNH 9640/9558—holotype). Heredia: Paso Llano, San José de la Montaña, 1800 m (KU 142692–142694); San Miguel de la Montaña, 1690–1700 m (KU 143372–143374); San Luis de Santo Domingo de Heredia, 1400 m (KU 143375, 143376). San José: Finca 2, Universidad de Costa Rica “Vargas Araya” campus (UCR 1500); El Muñeco, 10 mi S of Cartago, 3800 ft (UMMZ 67315); San Rafael de Montes de Oca, 4300 ft (KU 147100); Santa Ana (LSU 15753).

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Woodman, N., Timm, R.M. A new species of small-eared shrew in the Cryptotis thomasi species group from Costa Rica (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Soricidae). Mamm Res 62, 89–101 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13364-016-0289-6

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Central America
  • Cloud forest
  • Conservation
  • Morphology
  • Neotropics