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Masked Shrew - Sorex cinereus
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Species is relatively common within suitable habitat and widely distributed across portions of the state
- Details on Status Ranking and Review
Masked Shrew (Sorex cinereus) Conservation Status Review
Review Date = 05/03/2018
ScoreG - 200,000-2,500,000 km squared (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Comment380,531 square Kilometers from Natural Heritage Program range maps
ScoreE - Relatively Stable (±25% change)
CommentAlthough riparian and mesic habitats have declined since European settlement, it is unlikely that this has significantly altered the abundance or occupancy of this species.
ScoreU - Unknown. Short-term trend in population, range, area occupied, and number and condition of occurrences unknown.
CommentComprehensive surveys have not been conducted with enough frequency to assess trend.
ScoreH - Unthreatened. Threats if any, when considered in comparison with natural fluctuation and change, are minimal or very localized, not leading to significant loss or degradation of populations or area even over a few decades’ time. (Severity, scope, and/or immediacy of threat considered Insignificant.)
CommentNo operational threats in the next 15-20 years identified
ScoreC - Not Intrinsically Vulnerable. Species matures quickly, reproduces frequently, and/or has high fecundity such that populations recover quickly (< 5 years or 2 generations) from decreases in abundance; or species has high dispersal capability such that extirpated populations soon become reestablished through natural recolonization (unaided by humans).
CommentHigh reproductive rates and quick maturation, size may limit long distance dispersal
ScoreD - Broad. Generalist. Broad-scale or diverse (general) habitat(s) or abiotic and/or biotic factors are used or required by the species, with all key requirements common in the generalized range of the species in the area of interest. If the preferred food(s) or breeding/nonbreeding microhabitat(s) become unavailable, the species switches to an alternative with no resulting decline in numbers of individuals or number of breeding attempts.
CommentCollected across many diverse habitat types
Raw Conservation Status Score
3.5 + 0 (geographic distribution) + 0.5 (environmental specificity) + 0 (long-term trend) + 1 (threats) = 5
A medium-sized shrew (adults usually 9 to 11 cm total length, tail 35 to 45 mm, 3 to 6 g) with a sharply pointed snout, beady eyes, and small ears nearly hidden in the fine soft pelage; dorsal pelage varies from dark brown to gray, depending on the season and location. Five small unicuspidate teeth behind the upper incisors: the fifth is minute, the fourth generally is smaller than the third (the fourth is less commonly equal to, or sometimes larger than the third in subspecies ohioensis) and both of these are smaller than the first and second; tips of teeth are dark chestnut; feet are delicate, with slender weak claws; condylobasal length of skull 14.6 to 16.9 mm; maxillary breadth less than 4.6 mm; posterior border of infraorbital foramen even with, or anterior to, plane of space between M1 and M2 (Godin 1977, Hall 1981, Armstrong 1987).
Generally paler and smaller than S. fumeus (95 to 129 mm total length) (Godin 1977). See Hall (1981) for a key to North American species of Sorex. See (Carraway 1995) for a key to western North American soricids based primarily on dentaries.
Western Hemisphere Range
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Coniferous forest (Junge and Hoffmann 1981). In western Montana, where Sorex vagrans also occurs, S. cinereus is usually restricted to drier coniferous forest habitat (Hoffmann and Pattie 1968).
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
How Associations Were Made
We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for
vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
- Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
- Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
- Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
- Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.
In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.
However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if
point observations were associated with that system.
Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.
The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.
If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.
Suggested Uses and Limitations
Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.
These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: mtnhp.org/requests
) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.
Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.
Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.
Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).
Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.
- Adams, R.A. 2003. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. 289 p.
- Dobkin, D. S. 1992. Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34. Missoula, MT.
- Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
- Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998. Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates. Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. 1302 p.
- Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young. 1999. Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32. 72 p.
- Maxell, B.A. 2000. Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species. Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1. Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana. 161 p.
- Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath. 2004. Amphibians and reptiles of Montana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
Forest and Woodland Systems
Human Land Use
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Sparse and Barren Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
- Occasionally Associated with these Ecological Systems
Human Land Use
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Invertebrates, salamanders, small mice. In winter, seeds may be main item in diet (van Zyll de Jong 1983).
Populations fluctuate year to year. Birds, snakes, and mammalian carnivores are predators (van Zyll de Jong 1983).
Probably polyestrous. Spring (April) to autumn, altricial young born in a spherical nest of dry vegetation (van Zyll de Jong 1983).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Armstrong, D.M. 1987. Rocky Mountain mammals. Revised edition. Colorado Associated Univ. Press, Boulder. x + 223 pp.
- Carraway, L.N. 1995. A key to recent Soricidae of the western United States and Canada based primarily on dentaries. Occasional Papers of the Natural History Museum, University of Kansas (175):1-49.
- Hall, E.R. 1981. The mammals of North America, volumes I and II. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. 1181 pp.
- Hoffmann, R.S. and D.L. Pattie. 1968. A guide to Montana mammals: identification, habitat, distribution, and abundance. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 133 p.
- Junge, J.A. and R.S. Hoffmann. 1981. An annotated key to the long-tailed shrews (genus Sorex) of the United States and Canada, with notes on middle American Sorex. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas 94: 1-48.
- Van Zyll de Jong, C.G. 1983. Handbook of Canadian mammals. 1. Marsupials and insectivores. National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Canada. 210 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- [WWPC] Washington Water Power Company. 1995. 1994 wildlife report Noxon Rapids and Cabinet Gorge Reservoirs. Washington Water Power Company. Spokane, WA.
- Adelman, E.B. 1979. A survey of the nongame mammals in the Upper Rattlesnake Creek drainage of western Montana. M.S. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula. 129 pp.
- Anaconda Minerals Company, and Camp, Dresser & McKee. 1981. Anaconda Stillwater Project 6-month environmental baseline report. CDM Project No. 3139. Vol. I Appendix. Jan. 15, 1981.
- Brown, L.N. 1967. Ecological distribution of six species of shrews and comparison of sampling methods in the central Rocky Mountains. Journal of Mammalogy 48(4): 617-623.
- Burnett, G.W. 1981. Movements and habitat use of American marten in Glacier National Park, Montana. M.S. thesis. Univ. Mont., Missoula. 130 pp.
- Carlsen, T. 1980. Small mammal trapping in the Elkhorns. [Unpublished report]. 7 pp.
- Carlsen, T. and R. Northrup. 1992. Canyon Ferry Wildlife Management Area Final Draft Management Plan. March 1992.
- Clark, T. W. 1973. Distribution and reproduction of shrews in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Northwest Sci. 47(2): 128-131.
- Feigley, H.P. 1981. Studies on native small mammals as intermediate hosts of Echinococcus multilocularis. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 50 p.
- Foresman, K.R. 2001. The wild mammals of Montana. American Society of Mammalogists, Special Publication Number 12. Lawrence, KS. 278 pp.
- Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
- Forsyth, D. J. 1976. A field study of growth and development of nestling masked shrews (Sorex cinereus). J. Mammal, 57(4): 708-721.
- Haglund, B.M. 1972. Ecological effects of weather modification, Bangtail Ridge, Bridger Range, Montana: relationships of pocket gophers (Thomomys talpoides) to time of snow melt. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 26 p.
- Hanauska-Brown, L., B.A. Maxell, A. Petersen, and S. Story. 2014. Diversity Monitoring in Montana 2008-2010 Final Report. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Helena, MT. 78 pp.
- Hawley, V. D. 1955. The ecology of the marten in Glacier National Park. M.S. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula. 131 pp.
- Hayward, G. D. and P. H. Hayward. 1995. Relative abundance and habitat associations of small mammals in the Chamberlain Basin, central Idaho. Northwest Sci. 69(2): 114-125.
- Heath, M.L. 1973. Small mammal populations in clearcuts of various ages in south central Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 33 p.
- Hendricks, P. and M. Roedel. 2001. A faunal survey of the Centennial Valley Sandhills, Beaverhead County, Montana. Report to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 44 p.
- Innes, D. G., Bendell, J. F., Naylor, B. J. and B. A. Smith. 1990. High densities of the Masked Shrew, Sorex cinereus, in Jack Pine plantations in northern Ontario. Am. Midl. Nat. 124(2): 330-341.
- Johnson, L.J. 1960. Mammal studies on the Lubrecht Forest, Montana: a preliminary report. Proc. Mont. Acad. Sci. 20: 40-47.
- Joslin, Gayle, and Heidi B. Youmans. 1999. Effects of recreation on Rocky Mountain wildlife: a review for Montana. [Montana]: Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society.
- Joslin, Gayle. 1980. Wildlife inventory and hard rock mining impact analysis of the West Cabinet Mountains and Lake Creek Valley, Lincoln County, Montana. MTFWP 91 pgs + 47 pgs app.
- Lampe, R.P., J.K. Jones Jr., R.S. Hoffmann, and E.C. Birney. 1974. The mammals of Carter County, southeastern Montana. Occa. Pap. Mus. Nat. Hist. Univ. Kan. 25:1-39.
- MacCracken, J. G., D. W. Uresk, and R. M. Hansen. 1985. Habitat used by shrews in southeastern Montana. Northwest Science 59(1):24-27.
- Martin, P.R., K. Dubois and H.B. Youmans. 1981. Terrestrial wildlife inventory in selected coal areas, Powder River resources area final report. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Bureau of Land Management, Helena, MT. No. YA-553-CTO- 24. 288 p.
- Martin, Steve A., ECON, Inc., Helena, MT., 1982, Flathead Project Wildlife Report, 1981-1982. November 30, 1982.
- Matthews, W.L. 1980a. Wibaux-Beach comparison study: Sydney, Glendive and Plevna Study Areas. Bureau of Land Management, Miles City, MT. 50 p.
- McCaughey, W.W. 1990. Biotic and microsite factors affecting Pinus albicaulis establishment and survival. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 78 p.
- McCracken, K. E. 1990. Microhabitat and dietary partitioning in three species of shrews at Yellow Bay, Montana. M.A. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula. 38 pp.
- Montana Dept. of State Lands. U.S. Office of Surface Mining., 1985, Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Consolidation Coal Company. CX Ranch Mine, Big Horn County, Montana.
- Northrop, Devine & Tarbell, Inc. 1994. Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids hydroelectric developments: 1993 wildlife study. Unpublished report to the Washington Water Power Company, Spokane. Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Maine. 144 pp. plus appendices.
- OEA Research, Helena, MT., 1982, Beal Mine Wildlife Report. June 17, 1982.
- Oechsli, L.M. 2000. Ex-urban development in the Rocky Mountain West: consequences for native vegetation, wildlife diversity, and land-use planning in Big Sky, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman. 73 p.
- Perry, N. and R. Davis. 2000. Small Mammal Diversity and Abundance on Two Habitat Types at Medicine Lake and Lostwood National Wildlife Refuges. Unpublished report. 8 pp.
- Powder River Eagle Studies, Gillette, WY., 1992, Big Sky Mine 1991 wildlife monitoring studies. Rev. February 1992.
- Ramirez, Pedro, Jr. 1977. Small Populations in Different-Aged Clearcuts and Uncut Forests in Northwestern Montana. M. S. thesis. 72 pp.
- Reichel, J.D. 1996. Northern bog lemming survey: 1995: Garnet Resource Area. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Helena, MT. 35 pp.
- Reichel, J.D. and S.G. Beckstrom. 1994. Northern bog lemming survey: 1993. Unpublished report. Montana Natural Heritage Program. Helena, MT. 87 pp.
- Reid, F. 2006. Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America, 4th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston and New York, 608 pp.
- Russell, R. J. and S. Anderson. 1956. Small mammals from Silver Bow County, Montana. Murrelet 37:2-3.
- Rust, H. J. 1946. Mammals of northern Idaho. J. Mammal. 27(4): 308-327.
- Scow, K.L. 1981. Ecological distribution of small mammals at Sarpy Creek, Montana, with special consideration of the Deer Mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 73 p.
- Sieg, C.H., D.W. Uresk, and R M. Hansen. 1986. The value of bentonite mine spoils in southeastern Montana as small mammal habitat. Northwest Science 60(4): 218-224.
- Spencer, A. W. and D. Pettus. 1966. Habitat preferences of five sympatric species of long-tailed shrews. Ecology 47: 677-683.
- Stearns-Roger Inc., 1975, Environmental baseline information of the Mount Vernon Region, Montana. January 31, 1975.
- Stewart, D.T., T.B. Herman, and T. Teferi. 1989. Littoral feeding in a high-density insular population of Sorex cinereus. Canadian Journal of Zoology 67: 2074-2077.
- Thompson, Richard W., Western Resource Dev. Corp., Boulder, CO., 1996, Wildlife baseline report for the Montana [Montanore] Project, Lincoln and Sanders counties, Montana. In Application for a Hard Rock Operating Permit and Proposed Plan of Operation, Montanore Project, Lincoln and Sanders Counties, Montana. Vol. 5. Stroiazzo, John. Noranda Minerals Corp., Libby, MT. Revised September 1996.
- Tweten, R.G. 1984. Baseline survey of furbearing mammals within the South Fork drainage Sun River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 63 p.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1993, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report; 1992 Field Season. December 1993.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1995, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana:1994 Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report; December 1, 1993 - November 30, 1994. February 27, 1995.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1996, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: 1995 Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report; December 1, 1994 - November 30, 1995. February 28, 1996.
- Waage, Bruce C., 1999, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: 1998 Annual Wildlife Monitoring Report; December 1, 1997 - November 30, 1998 Survey Period. February 24, 1999.
- Weckwerth, R. P. 1957. The relationship between the marten population and the abundance of small mammals in Glacier National Park. M.S. thesis. University of Montana, Missoula. 76 pp.
- Westmoreland Resources, Inc., Hardin, MT., 1981, Upper Sarpy Basin Wildlife Study. In 1981 Wildlife Report. April 1982.
- Whitaker, J. O., Jr. 2004. Sorex cinereus. American Society of Mammalogists, Lawrence, KS. Mammalian Species No. 743:1-9.
- Williams, O. 1955. Distribution of mice and shrews in a Colorado montane forest. J. Mammal. 36(2): 221-231.
- Wood, M.A. 1981. Small mammal communities after two recent fires in Yellowstone National Park. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 58 p.
- Woodman, N. 2018. American recent Eulipotyphla Nesophontids, Solenodons, Moles, and Shrews in the New World. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 650. 108 p.
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