Animal Info - Haitian Solenodon

(Other Name: Hispaniolan Solenodon, Solenodonte)

Solenodon paradoxus

Status: Endangered


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Weight, Habitat, Birth Rate, Early Development, Dispersal, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization)
5. References


Profile

Picture: Haitian Solenodon (76 Kb JPEG)

The Haitian solenodon is an insectivore weighing about 1 kg (2.2 lb). Solenodons inhabit forests and brushy or rocky areas, often around plantations. Insects and spiders found in soil and leaf litter form most of its diet. The Haitian solenodon is mainly nocturnal, hiding during the day in rock clefts, hollow trees, or burrows which it excavates itself. Solenodons obtain food by rooting in the ground with their snouts and by tearing into rotten logs and trees with their foreclaws. The 1 or 2 young in a litter are born in a nesting burrow.

The Haitian solenodon has apparently endemic to Hispaniola. It was thought to be extinct, or almost so, until 1907, when it was found living in the interior of the island. It was not considered to be in immediate danger early in this century. In 1966 it was known to occur in several localities of rocky, bushy and forested areas in the Dominican Republic. As of 1981, after extensive searching, it was concluded that the solenodon was 'functionally extinct' in Haiti, persisting only in the remote mountains of the south. In 1987 it still occurred in both countries but was thought to be particularly threatened in Haiti. It still occurred in both countries as of 1996.

The most significant threats to the Haitian solenodon appear to be the continuing loss of its forest habitat and predation by introduced cats and dogs, especially by dogs in the vicinity of settlements.


Tidbits

*** As in most nocturnal terrestrial insectivores, the Haitian solenodon's sense of touch is highly developed, while smell and hearing are also important.

*** The Cuban and Haitian solenodons secrete poison from a gland above their teeth to subdue prey.

*** Solenodons have a long life span and low reproductive rate, as a result of having been among the dominant predators before Europeans colonized the New World.


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

  • 1960's - 1994: Endangered
  • 1996 - 2004: Endangered; (Criteria: A1cde) (Population Trend: Decreasing) (IUCN 2004)

Countries Where the Haitian Solenodon Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti (IUCN 2004).

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

History of Distribution:

The Haitian solenodon has apparently only existed on Hispaniola. It was thought to be extinct, or almost so, until 1907, when it was found living in the interior of the island. It was not considered to be in immediate danger early in this century. In 1966 it was known to occur in several localities of rocky, bushy and forested areas in the Dominican Republic. As of 1981, after extensive searching, it was concluded that the solenodon was 'functionally extinct' in Haiti, persisting only in the remote mountains of the south, especially the area surrounding the Massif de la Hotte in the extreme southwest. It was thought to be common in certain areas of the Dominican Republic. In 1987 it still occurred in both countries but was thought to be particularly threatened in Haiti.

Distribution Map (10 Kb) (InfoNatura)  

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

The most significant threats to the Haitian solenodon appear to be the continuing loss of its forest habitat and predation by introduced cats and dogs, especially by dogs in the vicinity of settlements.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Weight:

The Haitian solenodon weighs 700 - 1000 g (25 - 35 oz).

Habitat:

The Haitian solenodon is found in forests and brush country, as well as around plantations.

The Haitian solenodon is one of the species that live in both the Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl.) and the Greater Antillean Moist Forests Global 200 Ecoregion. (Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999)

Birth Rate:

1 or 2 young per litter.

Early Development:

The young are born in a nesting burrow.

Dispersal:

Young solenodons remain with their mother for several months, which is exceptionally long for insectivores.

Diet:

Insects and spiders found in soil and leaf litter form most of its diet.

Behavior:

The Haitian solenodon is mainly nocturnal, hiding during the day in rock clefts, hollow trees, or burrows which it excavates itself. Solenodons obtain food by rooting in the ground with their snouts and by tearing into rotten logs and trees with their foreclaws.

Social Organization:

Adults are solitary, other than mothers with young.


References

Burton & Pearson 1987, Cons. Intl., Curry-Lindahl 1972, InfoNatura, IUCN 1969, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Macdonald 1984, Nowak & Paradiso 1983, Olson & Dinerstein 1998, Olson & Dinerstein 1999, Oryx 1977c, Woods 1981


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Last modified: November 2, 2005;

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