Homosassa Shrew: Sorex longirostris
Genus/Species: Sorex longirostris
Subspecies: Sorex longirostris eionis
Common Name: Homosassa shrew
Federal Status: Not Listed
FL Status: State Species of Special Concern
FNAI Ranks: Not ranked
IUCN Status: Not ranked
The Homosassa shrew can reach a length of four inches (102 centimeters) and 0.2 ounces (5.7 grams) in weight. This species has brownish-gray fur that covers their small eyes and ears (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, n.d.).
Very little information is available about the life history of the Homosassa shrew, so information about the similar southeastern shrew (Sorex longirostris) is generally accepted as the same. The diet of the shrew consists of small invertebrates, with approximately 40% of their diet consisting of spiders (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, n.d.).
Some female shrews have been found to reach sexual maturity at the age of one year (French 1980a, French 1980b). Pregnant females have been found from March through October and litter sizes range between one and six offspring. Most will not breed during the first summer and will only survive one winter.
Habitat and Distribution
Little information exists on the preferred habitats of the Homosassa shrew, but they have been reported to occur in a wide variety of habitats including hardwood swamp/mixed wetland forest, hydric and xeric hammocks, industrial/commercial pineland, mixed hardwood-pine forest, natural pineland, and disturbed/transitional habitat. The Homosassa shrew can be found from north central to south central Florida.
The Homosassa shrew faces threats to its population as human populations continue to grow and inhabit areas previously undeveloped. The main threat is the degrading and destruction of their habitats from agriculture and urbanization (Layne 1992). Development can cause the drying of soil and destruction of canopy coverage which can cause an adverse effect to the Homosassa shrew (Davis et al. 2010; Layne 1992). Other threats include the increase of predators in their habitat such as domestic cats (Layne 1992).
Conservation and Management
The Homosassa shrew is protected as a State Species of Special Concern by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule, although more information is needed to accurately assess the population status and trend.
-Biological Status Review (BSR)
-Supplemental Information for the BSR
Other Informative Links
Encyclopedia of Life
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
University of Florida Smathers Libraries
Printable version of this page
Davis, J.C., S.B. Castleberry, and J.C. Kilgo. 2010. Influence of coarse woody debris on the soricid community in southeastern Coastal Plain pine stands. Journal of Mammalogy 91(4):993-999.
French, T.W. 1980a. Natural history of the southeastern shrew, Sorex longirostris Bachman. American Midland Naturalist 104(1):13-31.
French, T.W. 1980b. Sorex longirostris. Mammalian Species 143:1-3.
Layne, J.N. 1992. Sherman’s short-tailed shrew Blarina carolinensis shermani. Pages 328-334 in S.R. Humphrey (ed.), Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Vol. I. Mammals. University Press of Florida. Gainesville, Florida.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. (n.d.). Sorex longirostris. Retrieved March 23, 2011, from North American Mammals: http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=317
Image Credit FWC