LSU Researchers Identify 14 New Shrew Species in Major Discovery

December 22, 2022

Crocidura pallida shrew

Crocidura pallida, one of the 14 species discovered by Jake Esselstyn and his team.

– Kevin Rowe

After a decade-long journey taking inventory of Indonesian shrews living on the island of Sulawesi, a group of scientists led by LSU mammalogist Jake Esselstyn has identified 14 new endemic species.

“Usually, we discover one new species at a time, and there is a big thrill that comes from it,” said Esselstyn, curator of mammals at the LSU Museum of Natural Science and associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. “But in this case, it was overwhelming because for the first several years, we couldn’t figure out how many species there were.” 

This discovery is a major milestone in Esselstyn’s research. Now that he feels he has a handle on the shrew diversity of the island, Esselstyn is interested in exploring the geographic, geological, and biological factors that have contributed to Sulawesi’s extraordinary biodiversity.

Learn more about this scientific discovery