Current Topic: Rhynchocyon in Mozambique?

Is there an undescribed form of Rhynchocyon in northwestern Mozambique?

An expedition to northwestern Mozambique was completed in June 2011 to collect specimens of giant sengis (Rhynchocyon) to determine if the un-named subspecies proposed by Corbet & Hanks (1968) was justified. Return to this page in the near future for the results.

The sengis (elephant-shrews) of Mozambique are poorly known, especially the taxonomic status of the giant sengis, genus Rhynchocyon. Currently, Rhynchocyon from Mozambique are thought to be checkered sengis, R. cirnei with specimens from the central coastal areas being placed in the subspecies R. c. cirnei, while the subspecific status of those from northeastern areas has not been determined. To resolve this taxonomic ambiguity, voucher specimens were collected from north-eastern Mozambique. Based on a comparison of pelage patterns and colouration, features that are currently used to distinguish taxa in the genus Rhynchocyon, specimens from all of coastal Mozambique show minor variation, but are similar enough to indicate that they all are referable to R. c. cirnei. For additional information, see paper by Coals and Rathbun (2013) in the Journal of East African Natural History.

Checkered sengi (Rhynchocyon cirnei)

Checkered sengi (Rhynchocyon cirnei) from Mareja Community Reserve, northeastern Mozambique. Photo: G. Rathbun.

Lowland forest Pemba, Mozambique

Lowland forest inland of Pemba, northeastern Mozambique: giant sengi habitat. Photo: G. Rathbun.