The Recently Extinct Plants and Animals Database

Crocidura trichura (Dobson, 1889:532)

Christmas Island shrew, Christmas Island musk shrew (Day, 1981)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Crocidura attenuata trichura (Dobson, 1889:532); Crocidura fuliginosa trichura Dobson, 1889:532 (original combination)


Conservation Status

Last record: 1985 or 1986

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered

Originally last seen either pre-1909 or in 1958 depending upon the source consulted, two individuals were caught on separate occasions in 1985. One of these survived in captivity for some 12 months, while the other died shortly after capture (Schulz, 2004). However, sadly no further specimens have been caught in the last 27 years despite several attempts to relocate the species (Schulz, 2004:8), and the species is generally considered to be either extinct or at least very close to it. However, since the species was rediscovered after not having been seen either between 1958 and 1985, or pre-1909 and 1985, the species cannot be declared extinct simply because of a prolonged period of time during which it went unrecorded. Most relevant information regarding this species can be found in (Schulz, 2004).



Christmas Island, Australia












Original scientific description:

Dobson [in Thomas, O.]. (1889).  On the mammals of Christmas Island. Proceedings of Zoological Society London 1888: 532-534.


Other references:

Andrews, C. W. (1900). A Monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). British Museum of Natural History, London, UK.

Andrews, C. W. (1909). On the fauna of Christmas Island. Proceedings of Zoological Society, London 1909: 101-103.

Beeton B, Burbidge A, Grigg G, Harrison P, How R, McKenzie N and Woinarski J. (2010). Final Report of the Christmas Island Expert Working Group to Minister for the Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, DEWHA, Canberra, 245 pp.

Day, David. (1981). The Doomsday Book of Animals: A Natural History of Vanished Species. New York, N.Y.: The Viking Press.

Corbet, G. B. and Hill, J. E. (1992). Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: A Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Eldridge, M. D. B., Meek, P. D. and Johnson, R. N. (In Press, 2013). Taxonomic Uncertainty and the Loss of Biodiversity on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Conservation Biology. [Abstract]

Goodwin, Harry A. and Goodwin, J. M. (1973). List of mammals which have become extinct or are possibly extinct since 1600. Int. Union Conserv. Nat. Occas. Pap. 8: 1-20.

Hoser, Raymond T. (1991). Endangered Animals of Australia. Mosman, NSW: Pierson & Co. 240 pp. [pp. 156]

Jenkins, P. D. (1976). Variation in Eurasian shrews of the genus Crocidura (Insectivora: Sodicidae). Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History 30: 271-309.

Lister, J. J. (1888).  On the natural history of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Proceedings of the Zoological Society 1888: 512-513.

Lumsden, L. and Schulz, M. (2008). Crocidura trichura. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 28 October 2011.

Meek, Paul D. (1998).  Christmas Island Shrew Recovery Plan. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia, Canberra.

Meek, Paul D. (2000). The decline and current status of the Christmas Island shrew Crocidura attenuata trichura on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Australian Mammalogy 22(1): 43-49. [Abstract]

Ruedi, M. (1995). Taxonomic revision of shrews of the genus Crocidura from the Sunda Shelf and Sulawesi with description of two new species (Mammalia: Soricidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 115: 211-265.

Schulz, M. (2004). National Recovery Plan for the Christmas Island Shrew Crocidura attenuata trichura.  Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

Woinarski, John. (2013). Australian endangered species: Christmas Island Shrew. The Conversation, 9 May, available online:


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