Shrew small

Status. Widespread, sometimes thin look.

Distribution. Range covers a vast area of the taiga forest zone from Ireland to Yakutia, in the south — to the Tien Shan and Mongolia. N. on the north of the Volga is the border of the (Guryleva 1968, Frolov, 1986). Observed in a small shrew Prieruslanskoy steppes and in most other areas of the Saratov Volga (Oparin et al, 2000, 2005a). In the Penza region species is found in 14 districts (Ilyin et al, 2006), including those within the city of Penza (Zolin, 2005).

Number. Accurate records are not available, because the standard bait traps in the warm season is reluctant, but in winter it is sometimes in abundance in the catches. Thus, in the Volga Dyakovo in the woods and in the lower reaches of the river. Chardym on the Volga Uplands in January 2004, the abundance was among a group of dominant among small mammals. Its share of the catch was respectively 26.8 and 21.0%, and the abundance of 5.0 and 4.4% (Tsvetkov et al, 2004). According catches in standard 25-meter grooves (with two cylinders or cones) in various habitats Prieruslanskoy steppe steppe (accumulated 3756 GROOVE-days in summer 1999 — 2001.), The abundance of this species was 1.6 osobi/100 GROOVE-day ( Oparin and others, 2003). In forest areas of the Penza region in some years the number of this kind is comparable to that of the common shrew (Sorex araneus) — one of the most popular types of small mammals. On the reserve, "Volga steppe" (section "Kuncherovskaya steppe") in 2001, the population of this species exceeded quantitative measures of the common shrew (Ilyin et al, 2006).

A brief description. Among shrews belong to the group «minutus». Body length of 40-59 mm, tail — 31-40 mm, weight is 2.5-5.2, the difference in the size of males and females was found. Rostrum slender, elongated. The fur of the clear two-color: brown-brown or dark brown back and silver-gray abdomen. Of living together of different shrews small size and thickened, densely hairy tail, tapering at the base. Teeth are small peakedness, slightly pigmented: the first, second and third about the same height, sometimes a second smaller adjacent teeth, the fourth and the fifth consecutive decrease in size.

Habitats. It occurs in a variety of habitats: forests, thickets, valleys, plains and lowlands. By the nature of the development of this type of habitat is most similar to the common shrew. In the Saratov region prefer flood plains, dry edges, littered with burning, felling and pine forests on sandy or wet soil, but not waterlogged. Deciduous forests of the highest number reached in aspen and oak forests. Type of plentiful and prevails over other shrews on nezalivaemyh Volga islands with woody vegetation. Obviously, their floodplains and rich mosaic landscape of the insect fauna are the most favorable habitat for small shrew (Popov, 1960).

Especially biology. Way of life are poorly understood. Usually begin to breed at the age of 2.5 months. In residential buildings of Rights, which can sometimes take up residence shrew, mating and the birth of the young is, apparently, for the entire year. Pregnant females are secretive lifestyle and stay in this period mainly in the ducts of small rodents or other shelters. In the year of 4.3 to 6.9 litter pups. It is believed that the largest number of young females bring that live in the valley on the sandy soils near the shaft (Popov, 1960). Independence of young animals are 6 weeks after birth. Lifespan 14-16 months. Feed consists of small invertebrates, mainly with soft tissues (insects and arachnids). Insects have the greatest value in the diet of shrews in August. Eaten by beetles (50%), Lepidoptera (26%), bugs (24%) and Diptera (22%). A significant proportion of females in the diet, especially during pregnancy and nutrition, are earthworms. Small shrew willingly consume dead amphibians (frogs) are indicated examples of eating young rodents and cannibalism. The proportion of plant food in the diet of the animal is negligible (Mezhzherin, 1964). Small shrew may starve no more than 9 hours a day and eat food to 200% of its weight.

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