Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published online by De Gruyter August 5, 2022

Clarifying the taxonomic status of Crocidura cantabra Cabrera, 1908 (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae: Crocidurinae)

Jacinto Román ORCID logo, Javier Calzada ORCID logo, José Antonio Godoy ORCID logo and Luis Biedma ORCID logo
From the journal Mammalia


At the beginning of the 20th century Crocidura cantabra was described based on one specimen from Basque Provinces, North of Spain. Later, some authors considered it a junior synonym of Crocidura suaveolens, without any data to support this statement, so the eight existing specimens were registered as records of that species. Our objective was to clarify the taxonomic status of C. cantabra. Since DNA could not be obtained from the existing specimens and the coloration was originally poorly described, an attempt was made to make an assignment based on the original biometric data of two individuals, the only ones identified by Cabrera for which there is biometric information: the holotype and a specimen from Colindres, Cantabria. The body measurements were surely altered by conservation techniques, rendering any identification uncertain, whereas the skull biometry assigns the specimens to C. russula. We propose that C. cantabra should be treated as junior synonym of Crocidura russula.

Corresponding author: Jacinto Román, Department of Conservation Biology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC, C. Americo Vespucio 26, 41092 Sevilla, Spain, E-mail:


We thank Angel Luis Garvia and Isabel Rey, curators of Mammals and Tissues and DNA Collection respectively, for facilitating the review of the collections of National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC), Madrid, and providing DNA extracts of one specimen, and Ana Píriz, technician at the Laboratory Molecular Ecology (LEM-EBD) for her support in laboratory work. Laboratory and computational facilities were provided by Doñana ICTS-RBD. We also thank Baxter Mansfield for reviewing the English of the manuscript.

  1. Author contributions: JR processed and analyzed the data and wrote the first version of the manuscript; JR, JC and LB collected the biometric data; JAG performed the genetic analysis; all authors reviewed and wrote the final manuscript. All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest regarding this article.

  4. Research ethics: Our study was performed with official permits issued by the competent environmental authority and with a positive evaluation of the bioethics committee of the University of Huelva.


Aguilar-Amat, J.B. (1918). Mamifers ingressats en les colleccions del Museu i estudiats en el laboratori de Mastologia durant l’any 1918. In: Anuari III. Junta de Ciencias Naturales de Barcelona, Barcelona, pp. 297–306.Search in Google Scholar

Biedma, L., Román, J., Calzada, J., Friis, G., and Godoy, J.A. (2018). Phylogeography of Crocidura suaveolens (Mammalia: Soricidae) in Iberia has been shaped by competitive exclusion by C. russula. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 123: 81–95, in Google Scholar

Burgin, C.J., Wilson, D.E., Mittermeier, R.A., Rylands, A.B., Lacher, T.E., and Sechrest, W. (2020). Illustrated checklist of the mammals of the world. Eulipotyphla to Carnivora, Vol. 2. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, p. 535.Search in Google Scholar

Cabrera, A. (1908). Las musarañas españolas del género Crocidura. Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat., Biol. 8: 238–240.Search in Google Scholar

Cabrera, A. (1912a). El concepto de tipo en zoología y los tipos de mamíferos del Museo de Ciencias Naturales. In: Trabajos del Museo de Ciencias Naturales No 1. Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas. Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Físico-Naturales, Imprenta Fortanet, Madrid, p. 23.Search in Google Scholar

Cabrera, A. (1912b). Catálogo metódico de las colecciones de Mamíferos del Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Madrid. Trabajos del Museo de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid, p. 60.Search in Google Scholar

Cabrera, A. (1914). Fauna Ibérica. Mamíferos. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid, pp. 56–58.10.5962/bhl.title.16110Search in Google Scholar

Cabrera, A. (1922). Manual de mastozoología. Calpe, Madrid-Barcelona, p. 440.10.5962/bhl.title.14742Search in Google Scholar

Ellerman, J.R. and Morrison-Scott, T.C.S. (1966). Checklist of Palaeartic and Indian mammals, 1758 to 1946. Trustees of British Museum (Natural History), London, p. 810.Search in Google Scholar

García-Perea, R. and Gisbert, J. (1998). Ángel Cabrera y su contribución a la mastozoología. In: Fauna Ibérica. Mamíferos. Xunta de Galicia. Consellería de Medio Ambiente. Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Madrid, pp. 16–49.Search in Google Scholar

Gómez, I. and Sans-Coma, V. (1976). Edad relativa de Crocidura russula en egagrópilas de Tyto alba en el nordeste ibérico. Misc. Zool. 3: 209–212.Search in Google Scholar

Hall, L.M., Willcox, M.S., and Jones, D.S. (1997). Association of enzyme inhibition with methods of museum skin preparation. Biotechniques 22: 928–930, 932–934.Search in Google Scholar

Heim de Balsac, H. and Beaufort, F. (1969). Contribution a l’etude des micromammiferes de nord-ouest de l’Espagne (Santander, Asturies, Galice, Leon). Mammalia 33: 630–658.10.1515/mamm.1969.33.4.630Search in Google Scholar

Hellwing, S. (1973). The postnatal development of the white-toothed shrew Crocidura russula monacha in captivity. Z. Säugetierkd. 38: 257–270.Search in Google Scholar

Meester, J. (1963). A systematic revision of the shrew genus Crocidura in Southern Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No 13(127).Search in Google Scholar

Miller, G.S. (1912). Catalogue of the mammals of Western Europe (Europe exclusive of Russia) in the collection of the British museum. British Museum Nat. Hist., London, p. 1019.10.5962/bhl.title.8345Search in Google Scholar

Muñoz-Muñoz, F. and Perpiñán, D. (2010). Measurement error in morphometric studies: comparison between manual and computerized methods. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 47: 46–56, in Google Scholar

Niethammer, J. (1964). Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Kleinsäuger Nordspaniens. Z. Säugetierkd. 29: 193–220.Search in Google Scholar

Niethammer, J. (1970). Über Kleinsäuger aus Portugal. Bonn. Zool. Beitr. 21: 89–118.Search in Google Scholar

Palomares, F., Godoy, J.A., Píriz, A., O’Brien, S.J., and Johnson, W.E. (2002). Faecal genetic analysis to determine the presence and distribution of elusive carnivores: design and feasibility for the Iberian lynx. Mol. Ecol. 11: 2171–2182, in Google Scholar PubMed

Palomo, L.J., Gisber, J., and Blanco, J.C. (2007). Atlas y libro rojo de los mamíferos terrestres de España. Dirección General para la Biodiversidad-SECEM-SECEMU, Madrid, p. 588.Search in Google Scholar

Raja, M., Muralidharan, M., and Arunachalam, M. (2011). Comparative analysis of DNA extracted from fish species preserved in formalin in two different periods. Turk. J. Biol. 35: 331–336.10.3906/biy-0908-11Search in Google Scholar

Rey, J.C. and Rey, J.M. (1974). Nota preliminar sobre las musarañas del género Crocidura Wagler, 1832, en las Islas Baleares. Bol. Estac. Cent. Ecol. 3: 79–85.Search in Google Scholar

Rey, J.M. and Landin, A. (1973). Sobre la presencia de Crocidura suaveolens en el sur de Andalucía (Mammalia, Insectívora). Bol. R. Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat., Biol. 71: 9–16.Search in Google Scholar

Richter, H. (1970). Neue Funde der Gartenspitzmaus, Crocidura suaveolens (Pallas, 1811), in Nordspanien und Portugal. Mitt. Mus. Nat.kd Berl., Zool. Reihe 46: 91–95.10.1002/mmnz.19700460111Search in Google Scholar

Rohlf, F.J. (2017). tpsDig2, version 2.31. Stony Brook, NY, Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York.Search in Google Scholar

Sambrook, J. and Russell, D.W. (2001). Molecular Cloning, 3rd ed. New York, USA: Cold Springs Harbor Lab Press.Search in Google Scholar

Seabra, A.F. (1900). Mamiferos de Portugal do Museu de Lisboa. J. Sci. Math., Phys. Nat. 6: 90–115.Search in Google Scholar

Seabra, A.F. (1924). Etudes sur la faune mammalogique du Portugal. Memórias e Estudos do Museu Zoológico da Universidade de Coimbra, No 3.Search in Google Scholar

Van der Straeten, E. (1978). La valeur des mesures externs prises sur de petits rongeurs fixés à l’alcool ou au formol. Mammalia 42: 133–135.Search in Google Scholar

Zar, J.H. (1999). Biostatistical analysis. New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, p. 663.Search in Google Scholar

Zhang, J. (2010). Exploiting formalin-preserved fish specimens for resources of DNA barcoding. Mol. Ecol. Resour. 10: 935–941, in Google Scholar PubMed

Received: 2022-04-02
Accepted: 2022-07-13
Published Online: 2022-08-05

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Scroll Up Arrow