The taxonomy of African shrew species is still unresolved due to their conserved morphology. This also affects knowledge concerning their geographic distribution. In Nigeria, using mitochondrial Cytochrome b gene sequences, we carried out a survey for shrews from the genus Crocidura across various ecological zones to determine taxa that are present and also to assess their phylogeographic structure. Our analyses include 183 specimens collected with Sherman traps from 19 localities around the country. We detected six taxa: Crocidura olivieri lineages II, III and IV, C. hildegardeae, C. jouvenetae, and C. foxi. Among these, C. hildegardeae and C. jouvenetae are reported in Nigeria for the first time. Phylogenetic comparison of our genetic sequences to those generated from other parts of Africa demonstrate that all species in our study, as currently defined, are in need of taxonomic revision. Geographically, Nigeria seems to represent the easternmost boundary for C. olivieri lineage II and C. jouvenetae, and the western distribution limit of C. olivieri lineage IV and C. hildegardeae. The Niger River appears to be the most significant topographical barrier restricting these taxa. This information is vital to preserving the diversity but also managing the epidemiological potential of these small mammals.
Igbokwe, J., Nicolas, V., Oyeyiola, A., Obadare, A., Adesina, A. S., Awodiran, M. O., … Olayemi, A. (2019). Molecular taxonomy of Crocidura species (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae) in a key biogeographical region for African shrews, Nigeria. Comptes Rendus - Biologies, 342(3–4), 108–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crvi.2019.03.004