Species Profile

Gaspé Shrew

Scientific Name: Sorex gaspensis
Taxonomy Group: Mammals
Range: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2006
Last COSEWIC Designation: Not at Risk
SARA Status: Schedule 3, Special Concern - (SARA Schedule 1 provisions do not apply)

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Image of Gaspé Shrew

Gaspé Shrew Photo 1



The Gaspé Shrew is a small and slender insectivore with a long tail; it is light grey in colour. This shrew measures 95 - 115 mm in length, of which the tail is 47 - 55 mm, and weighs 5 g mm.


Distribution and Population

At the present time there are four populations of the Gaspé Shrew in Canada: one in the Gaspé peninsula, two in New Brunswick, and one in northern Nova Scotia. The size of these populations is not known. The Gaspé Shrew is considered closely related to the Long-tailed Shrew (Sorex dispar) of the Appalachian Mountains area.



The Gaspé Shrew prefers rock outcrops and talus slopes in highlands where there are steep slopes.



There is no information on the reproduction or general biology of these shrews. The Gaspé Shrew seems to be a sedentary species.


Habitat loss and degradation seems to be the major limiting factors for this species. In particular, fire and clear-cutting, which change the forest habitat of talus slopes, are major threats to Gaspé Shrews. Several groups of the Gaspé Shrew live in small limited areas where any disturbance could be disastrous for the species.




PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

3 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Gaspé shrew Sorex gaspensis in Canada (2006)

    Part of the Sorex complex comprising 40-50 Holarctic species, the Gaspé Shrew Sorex gaspensis (French, la Musaraigne de Gaspé) and long-tailed or rock shrew S. dispar (French, la Musaraigne longicaude) are closely related, separated to date primarily by size. Both are small, slender and slate-grey in colour with long tails, although S. dispar is slightly larger than S. gaspensis (S. dispar: 3.1-8.3 g, total body length 103-136 mm, tail length 46-67 mm, condylobasal length 16.45-18.70 mm, length of molariform tooth row 3.75-4.30 mm; S. gaspensis: 2.2-4.3 g, total body length 95 127 mm, tail length 45-55 mm, condylobasal length 15.35-16.35 mm, length of molariform tooth row 3.40-3.65 mm). While they are currently recognized as distinct species, the taxonomic status of these species is equivocal. Genetic analyses by Judith Rhymer and colleagues suggest that S. gaspensis should be recognized as a subspecies of S. dispar, and preliminary results from more detailed ongoing genetic studies currently in progress by Don Stewart and colleagues confirm Rhymer et al.’s findings. Because of current uncertainties regarding the taxonomic status of the species we treat S. dispar and S. gaspensis together in this report.

COSEWIC Assessments

  • COSEWIC Assessment - Gaspé Shrew (2006)

    Designated Special Concern in April 1988. Status re-examined and designated Not at Risk in April 2006. Last assessment based on an update status report.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006)

    2006 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.