Facts
  • Known from the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic).
  • The Hispaniolan solenodon and its relative the Cuban solenodon are the only living mammals to posses modified incisors which enable them to inject venom into their prey like a snake.
  • Solenodons diverged from all other living mammals during the Cretaceous Period, an incredible 76 million years ago. This separation occurred at least as long ago as the branching of many entire mammalian orders (e.g. pangolins versus carnivores, or manatees versus elephants).
  • The two living solenodon species are believed to have diverged around 25 million years ago, when northern Hispaniola separated from eastern Cuba. This separation is comparable to the divergence between distinct mammalian families, for example, dolphins versus whales (30 Myr ago), or humans versus Old World monkeys (23 Myr ago).
  • Solenodons are among the few land mammals to survive European colonisation of the West Indies.
Threats
  • The main threats are habitat loss due to increasing human activity and deforestation.
  • The introduction of exotic predators, such as dogs, cats and mongooses may also be detrimental to solendon populations. Since the species had no natural predators before European colonisation of Hispaniola, and is a slow clumsy mover, it does not possess many defences against introduced animals.
Conservation Required
  • Surveys and monitoring programmes to discover more about solenodon conservation status, ecology, distribution and behaviour.
  • Study the impact of habitat destruction on the species.
  • Determine abundance and distribution of introduced mammals.
  • Development of a comprehensive Conservation Action Plan detailing actions needed to save the species.


Proposed Actions

EDGE aims to determine the status of this poorly-known species and make recommendations for the development of appropriate conservation measures to secure its future.

The Hispaniolan solenodon is an ancient West Indian insectivore known from the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Solenodons have the unique ability to inject venom into their prey through specialised grooves in their incisors. Before European colonisation of Hispaniola the species was one of the dominant predators on the island. It never evolved any “anti-predator” defences and is therefore poorly equipped to defend itself against introduced predators such as dogs, cats and mongooses. The species may also be declining as a result of the loss of its forest habitat to logging.

EDGE researchers, in collaboration with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust plan to assess the current conservation status and distribution of the species, determine the relative impacts of habitat destruction and introduced mammals, to allow the development of an appropriate conservation management strategy.

More Focal Mammal species



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Associated Blog Posts
9th Aug 12
Since 2009, Dr José Nuñez-Miño has been the field project leader for the Last Survivors Project, raising awareness and conducting conservation actions for...  Read

6th Jun 12
We owe all of you a huge apology since it has been over two months since our last blog update. The whole team has been so rushed off our feet that we have no...  Read

9th May 12
Pedro Martinez is a biologist who works for the Last Survivors Project in the Dominican Republic which aims to conserve EDGE species such as the Hispaniolan ...  Read

6th Apr 12
Two months have passed since the last blog and we have been extremely busy during this time. We had a great opportunity to increase conservation capaci...  Read

30th Mar 12
Piercing through the dark fog of pessimistic predictions for conservation’s future, rays of hope are appearing, in the guise of newly discovered species or...  Read

2nd Feb 12
I am convinced that time is speeding up; the last few weeks have absolutely flown by. Our main focus since our last blog has been field work. The whole team ...  Read

22nd Dec 11
End of the year on the Last Survivors project... As we approach the end of 2011 its time to once again reflect on the year and look forward to the year ah...  Read

24th Nov 11
Where have the last two months gone? They seem to have flown past and the lead up to Christmas is upon us. We have, as always, been very busy on all fronts o...  Read

5th Oct 11
So much has happened since our last posting that I have no idea if I’ll be able to cram it all into a reasonable length blog. One of the main highlights of...  Read

26th Aug 11
After visiting friends and family back in the United Kingdom I am now back in the sunny Caribbean. Actually it’s not been that sunny since we are at the st...  Read

12th Jul 11
The Hispaniolan Solenodon is not only one of the most evolutionarily distinct and threatened mammals in the world; but also, one of the few poisonous ones. I...  Read

20th Apr 11
An update from Joe Nunez on the progress of the Last Survivors project which is raising awareness of the Hispaniolan solenodon and hutia in the Dominican Rep...  Read

22nd Feb 11
This is an update from Joe Nunez on the Last Survivors project. It's been far too long since our last blog but then we have been incredibly busy on all fron...  Read

29th Dec 10
As 2010 comes to a close, Jose Nunez-Mino has written a summary of the excellent work he and his team have achieved this year in the Dominican Republic o...  Read

26th Nov 10
Dr. Jose Nunez-Mino has sent an update on the progress of The Last Survivors project in the Dominican Republic and its work to enable the long term conservat...  Read

30th Sep 10
Hello! My name is Dr Becky Coe, I have been working for ZSL London Zoo as an Education Officer for the past three and a half years – and finally seized an ...  Read

17th Jun 10
I don’t know how but the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) figured out that it is my birthday today (17th June) and I suspect that'...  Read

2nd Jun 10
We were not expecting to write another blog until mid June but there is lots of exciting news that we want to share with you and so it warrants this special ...  Read

11th May 10
Back in the UK you have been experiencing the arrival of spring, here on the Island of Hispaniola we are still waiting for our next season to start in earnes...  Read

14th Apr 10
JOE NUNEZ: As always, we have been pretty busy since our last blog posting. Pedro will tell you all about our latest rounds of field work but first I want to...  Read

8th Mar 10
I simply can’t write this blog without mentioning the devastating earthquake that hit Hispaniola on the 12 of January 2010; it was felt throughout the isla...  Read

3rd Mar 10
A partnership of UK conservation organisations – BirdLife International, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Zoological Society of London's EDG...  Read

30th Dec 09
It has been over a month since my last update so I thought it was time to bring you up to date with everything that has been happening. The last few weeks...  Read

28th Oct 09
The EDGE Team has just received its first blog from Jose Nuñez-Miño, Project Manager for the new UK Darwin Initiative funded Hispaniolan Endemic Land Mamma...  Read

24th Mar 09
Osé is an EDGE Fellow working on conservation of the Hispaniolan solenodon in Haiti. Here he reports on the findings from his EDGE Fellowship fieldwork in t...  Read

25th Feb 09
A three-year conservation project for Hispaniola’s native mammals has just received large-scale support from the UK-based Darwin Initiative, a scheme which...  Read

9th Jan 09
The Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus), a top EDGE species, is one of the world’s weirdest mammals. The two living solenodon species diverged fr...  Read

21st Jul 08
Osé is an EDGE Fellow working on conservation of the Hispaniolan solenodon in the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti. Here he reports on some of his findings from re...  Read

19th Feb 08
We are thrilled to introduce our latest EDGE Fellow from Haiti- Osé Pauléus. He will be working to conserve Hispaniolan solenodons and their habitats in ...  Read