African wood shrews

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African wood shrews
South Africa wood shrew (Myosorex varius)

South Africa wood shrew ( Myosorex varius )

Subclass : Higher mammals (Eutheria)
Superordinate : Laurasiatheria
Order : Insect eater (Eulipotyphla)
Family : Shrews (Soricidae)
Subfamily : Myosoricinae
Genre : African wood shrews
Scientific name
Gray , 1838

The African wood shrews ( Myosorex ) are a genus of shrews with around 15 species that live in central and southern Africa .


The fur of these shrews is soft and silky, its coloration varies from yellow-brown to gray to black and gives a speckled impression. With a head body length of 60 to 110 millimeters and a weight of up to 23 grams, they are among the smaller members of their family.

The distribution area of ​​the African wood shrews extends from Cameroon and Uganda to South Africa . Their habitat are moist forest and bush regions.

These animals can be diurnal as well as nocturnal. They build burrows that they line with grass and live solitary outside of the mating season. Their diet consists of insects, but also small mammals and birds.

Several species are considered endangered due to the destruction of their habitat. The IUCN lists two species, M. eisentrauti and M. rumpii, as " critically endangered ".

The species

The genus of the African wood shrews comprises 16 species. Congosorex and the mole shrews ( Surdisorex ), which were previously listed as sub-genera, are now considered separate genera.


  • Ronald M. Nowak: Walker's Mammals of the World. 2 volumes. 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD et al. 1999, ISBN 0-8018-5789-9 .
  • Don E. Wilson , DeeAnn M. Reeder (Eds.): Mammal Species of the World. A taxonomic and geographic Reference. 2 volumes. 3. Edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD 2005, ISBN 0-8018-8221-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. Kerbis Peterhans, JC; Huhndorf, MH; Plumptre, AJ; Hutterer, R .; Kaleme, P .; Ndara, B. (2013). Mammals, other than bats, from the Misotshi-Kabogo highlands (eastern Democratic Republic of Congo), with the description of two new species (Mammalia: Soricidae). Bonn Zoological Bulletin. 62 (2): 203-219.
  2. Taylor, PJ; Kearney, TC; Kerbis Peterhans, JC; Baxter, RM; Willows-Munro, S. (2013). Cryptic diversity in forest shrews of the genus Myosorex from southern Africa, with the description of a new species and comments on Myosorex tenuis . Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 169 (4): 881-902. doi: 10.1111 / zoj.12083

Web links

Commons : African Wood Shrews ( Myosorex )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files