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Identification of Sri Lankan shrews using hair anatomy

Authors:

Udeni Menike,

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Dinushika Manawadu,

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Suyama Meegaskumbura

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

We report here characteristic features of hair anatomy of all twelve shrew species and subspecies occurring in Sri Lanka. They can be reliably identified using hair anatomy, in most cases by a single characteristic feature. We examined cross-sections, cuticular scale patterns, medulla patterns and made measurements (length and maximal diameter) of dorsal guard hairs (GH1 and GH2). We also provide a dichotomous key for identification of shrew species and subspecies based on hair anatomy supported by reference illustrations of cross-sections, photomicrographs of cuticular scales and medullae. Cross-sections of GH2 hairs are characteristic to most species and seven species (Solisorex pearsoni, Feroculus feroculus, Crocidura miya, C. hikmiya, C. horsfieldii, Suncus zeylanicus and S. fellowesgordoni) can be distinguished using cross-sections of GH2 hairs alone. Cuticular scale patterns are also characteristic to species and subspecies of S. murinus, even with variation within species and among hairs of individuals. Medulla pattern is of least importance in shrew species identification, since all have unicellular ladder pattern, but can be used in combination with other characters to distinguish certain species based on whether the ladder pattern is regular or irregular. Hair measurements alone cannot be used in species identification except for S. etruscus, which has the shortest guard hairs among the shrews studied.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/cjsbs.v41i1.4537

Ceylon Journal of Science (Bio. Sci.) 41 (1): 45-66, 2012

DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjsbs.v41i1.4537
How to Cite: Menike, U., Manawadu, D. & Meegaskumbura, S., (2012). Identification of Sri Lankan shrews using hair anatomy. Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Sciences). 41(1), pp.45–66. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjsbs.v41i1.4537
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Published on 01 Aug 2012.
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