1216.
Chinese Shrew Mole
(Uropsilus soricipes)
LC
Overview
Like its relative the inquisitive shrew-mole (U. investigator), the Chinese shrew-mole resembles a shrew more than a mole. It has a long scaly snout, small limbs which are not adapted for burrowing, and weak, curved claws. Little is known about the ecology of this species, although its unspecialised limbs suggest that it probably forages beneath leaf litter rather than burrowing through the soil. Populations are thought to be declining due to habitat degradation.
Urgent Conservation Actions
Surveys to determine status.
Distribution
Sichuan Province, China.
Media from ARKive
ARKive image - Chinese shrew-mole specimens
ARKive image - Chinese shrew-mole specimens
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Soricomorpha
Family: Talpidae
The mole family Talpidae comprises three subfamilies: the moles (Talpinae) and shrew moles (Uropsilinae), which are mostly fossorial (diggers), and the semi-aquatic desmans (Desmaninae). Fossil members of the Talpidae are known from the early Eocene in Europe (over 50 million years ago), the early Oligocene of North America (35 million years ago), and the late Miocene in Asia (10 million years ago). The Asiatic shrew-moles (Uropsilinae) are believed to be the most primitive members of the Talpidae. There are four species in a single genus (Uropsilus): U. andersoni (Anderson’s shrew-mole), U. gracilis (gracile shrew-mole), U. soricipes (Chinese shrew-mole) and U. investigator (inquisitive shrew-mole).
Description
Size: 
Head and body length: 63-88 mm
Tail length: 50-78 mm
Weight: 12-20 g
The Chinese shrew-mole resembles a shrew more than a mole. It has a long scaly snout, consisting of two tubular nostrils close together with a groove along the top. Its limbs are small and not adapted for burrowing, and the claws are curved and weak. The fur ranges in colour from dark brown to slate-grey above, and is greyish below. The ears extend beyond the fur on the head and are conspicuous. The long tail is slender and is encircled with rows of scales.
Ecology
Very little is known about the ecology of this species. Its unspecialised limbs suggests that it probably forages beneath leaf litter rather than burrowing through the soil.
Habitat
Found in forest and alpine regions.
Distribution
Restricted to a small area of central Sichuan at altitudes of 1,500-2,700 m.
Population Estimate
Unknown.
Status
Classified as Endangered (EN B1+2c) on the 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Threats
Restricted to small areas of suitable habitat that are deteriorating because of human activity.
Conservation Underway
The species occurs in the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, a world heritage area in southwest China. However there do not appear to be any conservation measures aimed specifically at this species in place.
Conservation Proposed
The 1996 IUCN/SSC Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrews Action Plan recommends that surveys be carried out to assess the status of the species. More information is urgently required.
References
Insectivore Specialist Group. 1996. Uropsilus soricipes. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 09 August 2006.

Nowak, R.M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London.

Stone, D. (Compiler). 1996. Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrews: Status, Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Insectivore, Tree Shrew and Elephant Shrew Specialist Group. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.

UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Distribution map based on data provided by the IUCN Global Mammal Assessment.

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