thumbnail

The Stephen H. Long Expedition (1819?1820), Titian R. Peale?s field illustrations, and the lost holotypes of the North American shrews Sorex brevicaudus Say and Sorex parvus Say (Mammalia: Soricidae) from the Philadelphia Museum

Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington

7085_Woodman.pdf 4.2 MB
By:

Links

Abstract

While encamped for the winter of 1819?1820 at Engineer Cantonment along the Missouri River in present-day eastern Nebraska, members of Major Stephen Harriman Long?s Expedition to the Rocky Mountains collected a number of animals that were previously unknown. Among the mammals were two soricids that were subsequently described by Thomas Say as Sorex brevicaudus (Northern Short-tailed Shrew, Blarina brevicauda) and Sorex parvus (Least Shrew, Cryptotis parvus). The holotypes of these species were deposited and placed on public exhibit in the Philadelphia Museum, the predominant North American systematic collection of the early nineteenth century. Like most private museums of that era, the Philadelphia Museum eventually went out of business, and its collections were dispersed and, for the most part, lost. Fortunately, Titian R. Peale made a detailed field sketch of the two specimens soon after their capture and subsequently executed a watercolor based on that sketch. In addition, an engraving of the holotypes was published in the decade following the discovery of the two species. Illustrations of holotypes are taxonomically useful when they depict diagnostic characters of species. They take on added taxonomic significance in the absence of the holotypes. In the cases of Sorex brevicaudus and Sorex parvus, pictures provide strong confirmation of the taxonomic identities of these two species, as well as recording the early history of the specimens.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The Stephen H. Long Expedition (1819?1820), Titian R. Peale?s field illustrations, and the lost holotypes of the North American shrews Sorex brevicaudus Say and Sorex parvus Say (Mammalia: Soricidae) from the Philadelphia Museum
Series title:
Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington
Volume
122
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
117-129
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington
First page:
117
Last page:
129