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The Uropsilinae or shrew-like moles are shrew-like members of the mole family of mammals endemic to the forested, high-alpine region bordering China, Myanmar, and Vietnam. They possess a long snout, a long slender tail, external ears, and small forefeet unspecialized for burrowing. Although they are similar to shrews in size, external appearance, and, presumably, ecological habits, they are nevertheless talpids and considered true moles, as they share a full zygomatic arch with all other moles, while this arch is completely absent in shrews.
Uropsilinae form one of the three main subfamilies of the mole family of mammals, the other two being Talpinae, or Old World moles and relatives; and the Scalopinae, or New World moles. Four known species of shrew-like moles have been identified, all conforming to the same one basic type or genus, Uropsilus.
- Anderson's shrew mole (U. andersoni)
- Gracile shrew mole (U. gracilis)
- Inquisitive shrew mole (U. investigator)
- Chinese shrew mole (U. soricipes)
Although each species' official English common name still calls them "shrew moles", the Uropsilinae today are referred to as "shrew-like moles" to distinguish them from other shrew moles, Neurotrichus gibbsii of North America, and the Urotrichini, or Japanese shrew moles, both of which are morphologically quite different from the Uropsilinae and are grouped with the Old World Moles and relatives. As a result, the term "shrew-like moles" has been used to refer to the Uropsilinae, although specific species are still called "shrew moles".
Although little is currently known regarding any aspect of their natural history, Uropsilinae are thought to be the most ancestral group of moles, and as such, very similar to the primitive talpid from which all Talpidae have evolved.
- Hutterer, R. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 310–311. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Smith, Andrew T.; Xie, Yan; Hoffmann, Robert S.; Lunde, Darrin; McKinnon, John; Wilson, Don E.; Wozencraft, W. Chris (2010). A Guide to the Mammals of China. Princeton University Press.
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