John Bachman (1837:391) described the “fringe-footed shrew,” Sorex fimbripes Bachman, 1837, in his landmark monograph on the North American Soricidae (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla), in which he recognized 13 uniquely New World species. Characters he attributed to S. fimbripes resulted in its being interpreted as a tiny, semi-aquatic species and contributed to the complexity of its subsequent taxonomic history. The status and location of the holotype, which should aid in resolving questions about the nature of S. fimbripes, instead have added to the confusion. Originally studied by Bachman in South Carolina, the holotype was later thought to have been identified in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP), and it is currently considered to be in the National Museum of Natural History (USNM), Washington, D.C. To clarify the identity of the species and its holotype, I compared descriptions of the holotype and the ANSP type with the USNM specimen and with eight species of eastern North American shrews. I conclude that the three accounts of S. fimbripes refer to three different specimens and that the holotype was probably destroyed during the American Civil War. Bachman's S. fimbripes was most likely equivalent to S. cinereus Kerr, 1792, S. fontinalis Hollister, 1911, or S. fumeus Miller, 1895, but without the holotype, its identity cannot be determined definitively, and the name is a nomen dubium.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Taxonomic evaluation of the three “type” specimens of the fringe-footed shrew, Sorex fimbripes Bachman, 1837 (Mammalia: Soricidae) and recommended nomenclatural status of the name|
|Series title||Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington|
|Contributing office(s)||Patuxent Wildlife Research Center|