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Molecular phylogenetics of soricid shrews (Mammalia) based on mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences: with special reference to the Soricinae


Satoshi D. Ohdachi, Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0819, Japan.


Molecular phylogeny of soricid shrews (Soricidae, Eulipotyphla, Mammalia) based on 1140 bp mitochondrial cytochrome b gene (cytb) sequences was inferred by the maximum likelihood (ML) method. All 13 genera of extant Soricinae and two genera of Crocidurinae were included in the analyses. Anourosorex was phylogenetically distant from the main groupings within Soricinae and Crocidurinae in the ML tree. Thus, it could not be determined to which subfamily Anourosorex should be assigned: Soricinae, Crocidurinae or a new subfamily. Soricinae (excluding Anourosorex) should be divided into four tribes: Neomyini, Notiosoricini, Soricini and Blarinini. However, monophyly of Blarinini was not robust in the present data set. Also, branching orders among tribes of Soricinae and those among genera of Neomyini could not be determined because of insufficient phylogenetic information of the cytb sequences. For water shrews of Neomyini (Chimarrogale, Nectogale and Neomys), monophyly of Neomys and the ChimarrogaleNectogale group could not be verified, which implies the possibility of multiple origins for the semi-aquatic mode of living among taxa within Neomyini. Episoriculus may contain several separate genera. Blarinella was included in Blarinini not Soricini, based on the cytb sequences, but the confidence level was rather low; hence more phylogenetic information is needed to determine its phylogenetic position. Furthermore, some specific problems of taxonomy of soricid shrews were clarified, for example phylogeny of local populations of Notiosorex crawfordi, Chimarrogale himalayica and Crocidura attenuata.

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