Date of this Version
Three nominal taxa of short-tailed shrews historically were recognized in Florida: Blarina carolinensis carolinensis in the north, Blarina carolinensis peninsulae on the southern peninsula, and Blarina carolinensis shermani in the vicinity of Fort Myers. The taxonomy of these shrews is complex, and researchers have suggested they may represent one, two, or even three species. To assess relationships among these taxa, we measured eight cranial characters on 363 specimens from Florida and used discriminant function analysis to characterize the mensural features of reference samples and to assign unknown specimens to a particular taxon. The reference sample of shermani averaged 7.8% larger than peninsulae and 9.5% larger than carolinensis; these differences are similar to those that exist between other species in the genus. Discriminant scores for shermani did not overlap with those of carolinensis or peninsulae, and only two possible hybrids were identified between shermani and peninsulae. Given the extent of differentiation of shermani and the paucity of possible hybrids, we recognize Blarina shermani as a distinct species. However, peninsulae and carolinensis are less well differentiated and show evidence of intergradation. Therefore, we regard peninsulae as a subspecies of B. carolinensis.