Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist, Vol. 51, Issue 2, December 2019, p 77


Copyright © 2019 The Great Plains Natural Science Society


North American water shrews in the genus Sorex are a complex of at least five species, three of which were recognized historically, Sorex alasksans, S. bendirii, and S. palustris (Hall 1981). Within what was previously considered the single, widespread northern species, S. palustris, two additional species are now recognized, S. albibarbis in the eastern US and Canada and S. navigator in the western United States and Canada (Hope et al. 2014; Nagorsen et al. 2017; Woodman 2018). The American water shrew (Sorex palustris) originally was documented in South Dakota by three females, two were collected 1876 and one in 1878 by Charles E. McChesney on the Fort Sisseton Reservation, which is in present-day Marshall County. Those specimens represented the southwestern most records for the species and have remained the only specimens known from South Dakota. All three specimens are in collections at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (USNM 18428, 59600, and 59608).