Nesophontid Insectivores

INSECTIVORES of the West Indies, presumed extinct since the seventeenth century.

Scientific name: Family Nesophontidae. Known species include the Atalaye nesophontes (Nesophontes hypomicrus), the Greater Cuban nesophontes (N. major), the Haitian nesophontes (N. zamicrus), the Lesser Cuban nesophontes (N. submicrus), the Puerto Rican nesophontes (N. edithae), the St. Michel nesophontes (N. paramicrus), the Slender Cuban nesophontes (N. longirostris), and the Western Cuban nesophontes (N. micrus).

Physical description: Size of a mouse or rat. Long snout.

Distribution: Cuba; Haiti; Puerto Rico. Present status: Fresh bone and tissue samples taken from barn owl pellets in Haiti in 1930 suggest a recent survival. The introduction of rodents and habitat destruction undoubtedly contributed to their demise.

Sources: Gerrit S. Miller, "Three Small Collections of Mammals from Hispaniola," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 82 (1930): 1-10; Bruce J. MacFadden, "Rafting Mammals or Drifting Islands? Biogeography of the Greater Antillean Insectivores Nesophontes and Solenodon," Journal ofBiogeography 7 (1980): 11-22.

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