Soricidae—Shrews // Talpidae—Moles
Taxa treated here were long included in the Order Insectivora. With accumulating evidence that the Insectivora is polyphyletic, various other classification schemes have arisen. The classification followed here is that of Hutterer (2005), who noted that there are still many problems within the present organization that need clarification.
As used here, the order contains four families. Two of these are island forms that do not require discussion here. The other two are the Talpidae (moles) and Soricidae (shrews), both of which occur or occurred in the Southwest. However, the Talpidae has been recorded as fossils only from the Blancan portion of the Pleistocene in our region. Schmidly (2004) noted that moles currently extend in the Canadian River drainage to the New Mexico line in the northern Panhandle of Texas, and there apparently is (or historically was) a population in Presidio County, Texas. Thus the possibility of Rancholabrean fossil appears strong.
The Soricidae is represented rather commonly by fossils in our region.
Literature. Hutterer 2005; Schmidly 2004.
Last Update: 23 Sep 2011