Monday, May 3, 2021

[Mammalogy • 2021] Crocidura narcondamica • A New Mammal Species (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae) from Narcondam Volcanic Island, India


Crocidura narcondamica 
Kamalakannan, Sivaperuman, Kundu, Gokulakrishnan, Venkatraman & Chandra, 2021

Narcondam Shrew || DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-88859-4

We discovered a new Crocidura species of shrew (Soricidae: Eulipotyphla) from Narcondam Island, India by using both morphological and molecular approaches. The new species, Crocidura narcondamica sp. nov. is of medium size (head and body lengths) and has a distinct external morphology (darker grey dense fur with a thick, darker tail) and craniodental characters (braincase is rounded and elevated with weak lambdoidal ridges) in comparison to other close congeners. This is the first discovery of a shrew from this volcanic island and increases the total number of Crocidura species catalogued in the Indian checklist of mammals to 12. The newly discovered species shows substantial genetic distances (12.02% to 16.61%) to other Crocidura species known from the Indian mainland, the Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago, Myanmar, and from Sumatra. Both Maximum-Likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic inferences, based on mitochondrial (cytochrome b) gene sequences showed distinct clustering of all included soricid species and exhibit congruence with the previous evolutionary hypothesis on this mammalian group. The present phylogenetic analyses also furnished the evolutionary placement of the newly discovered species within the genus Crocidura.

Mammalia Linnaeus, 1758
Eulipotyphla Waddell et al., 1999

Soricidae G. Fischer, 1814
Crocidurinae Milne-Edwards, 1872

Crocidura Wagler 1832

Crocidura narcondamica sp. nov. (holotype ZSI-29313, female). 
(a) Dorso-lateral view of female (adult alive). Views of the cranium (b) dorsal, (c) ventral, and (d) lateral. Views of the mandible (e) lateral and (f) occlusal (BC braincase, I1 first incisor/first unicuspid).
The photographs were captured by Manokaran Kamalakannan (b–f) and Govindarasu Gokulakrishnan (a) using a Nikon D7000 camera and edited manually in Adobe Photoshop CS 8.0.

Crocidura narcondamica sp. nov.

Diagnosis and description: 
The new species C. narcondamica sp. nov. (Fig. 1) is assigned to the genus Crocidura by the presence of three upper unicuspids and clearly distinguished from all other AN Archipelago shrews by its body size and tail length, which are considerably shorter (Supplementary Table S2). The new species possesses a darker-grey dense fur dorsally and a thick and darker tail (Fig. 1a), whereas the species known from the AN Archipelago possesses a different dorsal pelage and tail; C. jenkinsi (Supplementary Fig. S3a) and C. hispida have a spiny dorsal fur with a slender tail, C. andamanensis has a bluish-grey dorsal fur washed with brown and a darker brown tail, C. nicobarica has a bristly sooty brown dorsal fur with a slender tail, and C. attenuata has a soft brownish-grey dorsal fur with a slender tail2,51 (Supplementary Fig. S2a).
Etymology: The new species is named for the type locality, Narcondam Island, where the type specimens were collected. The specific epithet is feminine latinized adjective. 
 Suggested common name: Narcondam Shrew.


Map showing the Narcondam Island (marked by a blue colour box) in the Andaman group of Island, India (marked by a blue colour box) along with the habitat where the new species was encountered.
Map prepared using QGIS 2.6.1 ( and edited manually in Adobe Photoshop CS 8.0. The habitat photographs were captured by the fourth author using a Nikon D7000 camera and edited manually in Adobe Photoshop CS 8.0.

Distribution and habitat: The new species is presently known only from its type locality, Narcondam Island, Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago, in the Bay of Bengal, India. It was collected from a littoral forest along the coastline at 11 m elevation. No anthropogenic disturbances were observed in the habitat except for a security post (Fig. 2).

Manokaran Kamalakannan, Chandrakasan Sivaperuman, Shantanu Kundu, Govindarasu Gokulakrishnan, Chinnadurai Venkatraman and Kailash Chandra. 2021. Discovery of A New Mammal Species (Soricidae: Eulipotyphla) from Narcondam volcanic island, India. Scientific Reports. 11: 9416. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-88859-4

Subjects: Classification and taxonomy, DNA, Molecular evolution, Phylogenetics, Phylogeny, Sequence annotation, Sequencing, Speciation, Taxonomy, Zoology