News | Latest News | New blog article ‘Pygmy shrew under threat?’

26th June 2014

Is the pygmy shrew under threat from the greater white-toothed shrew in Ireland? In our latest blog Allan McDevitt, molecular ecologist, and Jon Yearsley, lecturer in ecological modelling, discuss the impacts of the spread of greater white-toothed shrew on the pygmy shrew.

The pygmy shrew is Ireland’s smallest mammal. It was until very recently the only shrew species found in Ireland (the greater white-toothed shrew was discovered in Co. Tipperary in 2007). Although generally thought to be one of Ireland’s native mammals, fossil and molecular data revealed that it arrived in Ireland within the last few thousand years, likely being accidentally brought to Ireland from Britain by early human settlers. It can be distinguished easily in most of Ireland by its extremely small size and weighing at most about 6g. The recently introduced greater white-toothed shrew is about 3 times larger.

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