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Shrew

An artist's rendition of the male and female Sonnerat's Shrew

Sonnerat's shrew (Diplomesodon sonnerati or Crocidura sonnerati) is a shrew species originally described by Pierre Sonnerat from Pondicherry around 1813.

Description[]

Described as larger than the more common Suncus murinus and lacking a musky odor, males of this species were noted for their shiny black coloration with a white band or patch along the middle of the back. Females also displayed this white patch but were typically gray in color. Sonnerat detailed the shrew as measuring five and a half inches [149 mm] from head to the base of the tail, with the tail itself measuring one inch and one line or 29 mm.

Taxonomy[]

As no specimens of this species have been found, both its taxonomic classification and its placement within a genus remain uncertain.

Illustration of the holotype by Sonnerat Anthony Cheke assigned a scientific name to the purported shrew species, first published in 2012. However, some disputed the validity of this description as no holotype (in this case, a specimen) was explicitly designated; therefore, it was redescribed in 2018. Tentatively, the species was classified within the genus Diplomesodon, which is nested within Crocidura according to a molecular phylogenetic study. Cheke provisionally placed the species in this genus based on the observation that the only other shrew species exhibiting a piebald pattern was the central Asian species Diplomesodon pulchellum. Given that no specimen matching this species has been found since its initial description, it is presumed to be extinct.

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