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Patterns of morphological variation amongst semifossorial shrews in the highlands of Guatemala, with the description of a new species (Mammalia, Soricomorpha, Soricidae)



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    1. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 20013-7012, USA
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Members of the Cryptotis goldmani group of small-eared shrews (Mammalia, Soricomorpha, Soricidae) represent a clade within the genus that is characterized by modifications of the forelimb that include broadened forefeet, elongated and broadened foreclaws, and massive humeri with enlarged processes. These modifications are consistent with greater adaptation to their semifossorial habits than other members of the genus. The species in this group occur discontinuously in temperate highlands from southern Tamaulipas, Mexico, to Honduras. In Guatemala, there are three species: the relatively widespread Cryptotis goodwini and two species (Cryptotis lacertosus, Cryptotis mam) endemic to highland forests in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes of western Guatemala. Ongoing studies focusing on the relationships of variation in cranial and postcranial skeletal morphology have revealed a fourth species from remnant cloud forest in the Sierra de Yalijux, central Guatemala. In this paper, I describe this new species and characterize its morphology relative to other species in the C. goldmani group and to other species of Cryptotis in Guatemala. In addition, I summarize available details of its habitat and ecology.

© 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2011, 163, 1267–1288.