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

Missing or extinct (Low & Booth, 2023)

Last record: 1985 or 1986

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)


Originally last seen either pre-1909 or in 1958 depending upon the source consulted, two individuals were caught on separate occasions in 1984/1985. 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


Biology & Ecology







At least three known photos of living individuals exist, taken by Hugh Yorkston. Two of these are reproduced in (Baker & Gynther, 2023:521,523), with the latter photo, cropped and reversed, earlier published in (Hoser, 1991:156). A third photo can be seen on the maxicard for the Christmas Island shrew stamp issued by Christmas Island on 30 August 2011.



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). Mammalia, pp. 22-33. In: Andrews, C. W. (ed.). 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.

Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). (2023). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

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. (2013). Taxonomic Uncertainty and the Loss of Biodiversity on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Conservation Biology 28: 572-579. [Abstract]

Fisher, Diana O. (2011). Trajectories from extinction: where are missing mammals rediscovered? Global Ecology & Biogeography 20: 415-425. [Appendix S1]

Garnett, Stephen T., Hayward-Brown, Brittany K. et al. (2022). Australia's most imperilled vertebrates. Biological Conservation 270: 109561.

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.

Holmes, Branden. (2021). What's Lost and What Remains: The Sixth Extinction in 100 Accounts (eBook). Self published.

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

Jackson, Stephen and Groves, Colin. (2015). Taxonomy of Australian Mammals. Clayton South, Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. 529 pp. [p. 226]

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.

Low, Tim and Booth, Carol. (2023). GONE: Australian animals extinct since the 1960s. Invasive Species Council Inc.

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. (1997). Christmas Island Shrew recovery plan (Crocidura attenuata trichura) 1997–2002. Environment Australia.

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]

Meek, Paul D. (2023). Christmas Island Shrew, Crocidura trichura, pp. 523-524. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

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.

Scheffers, Brett R., Yong, Ding Li, Harris, J. Berton C., Giam, Xingli and Sodhi, Navjot S. (2011). The world’s rediscovered species: back from the brink? PLoS ONE 6(7): e22531. [Supporting Information (Table S1)]

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

Threatened Species Scientific Committee. (2017). Conservation Advice Crocidura trichura Christmas Island shrew. Australian Government.

Ward, M., Carwardine, J., Yong, C. J., Watson, J. E., Silcock, J., Taylor, G. S., Lintermans, M., Gillespie, G. R., Garnett, S. T., & Woinarski, J. (2021). A national-scale dataset for threats impacting Australia’s imperiled flora and fauna. Ecology and Evolution, 11(17): 11749-11761.

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

Woinarski, J., Burbidge, A.A. & Lumsden, L. 2016. Crocidura trichura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136379A22304640. Accessed on 29 July 2022.

Woinarski, John C. Z., Tiernan, Brendan and Legge, Sarah. (Accepted). Should the Christmas Island shrew Crocidura trichura be considered extinct? Australian Mammalogy. [Abstract]


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