Shrews, moles and their relatives are an order of small insect-eating mammals with long flexible snouts. This mammalian order also includes the endangered solenodons of Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The solenodons make up the smallest family with only two species, whereas the shrew family, known as true shrews, are the largest with nearly 400 species and a worldwide distribution. Unusually for mammals, the soricomorpha order contains a few species with venomous saliva and two of only three terrestrial mammals known to echolocate.
Scientific name: Soricomorpha
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The Shrews, moles and relatives can be found in a number of locations including: United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The order Soricomorpha ("shrew-form") is a taxon within the class of mammals. In previous years it formed a significant group within the former order Insectivora. However, that order was shown to be polyphyletic and various new orders were split off from it, including Afrosoricida (tenrecs and golden moles), Macroscelidea (elephant shrews), and Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs and gymnures), leaving just four families as shown here, leaving Insectivora empty and disbanded.
Subsequently, Soricomorpha itself was shown to be paraphyletic, because Soricidae shared a more recent common ancestor with Erinaceidae than with other soricomorphs. However, the combination of Soricomorpha and Erinaceidae, referred to as order Eulipotyphla, has been shown to be monophyletic.
Living members of the order range in size from the Etruscan shrew, at about 3.5 cm and 2 grams, to the Cuban solenodon, at about 32 cm and 1 kg.
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