The Indian musk shrew (Suncus murinus) can reach high densities and impact upon a wide range of other species, including plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, either through predation or competition. S. murinus is strongly implicated in the extirpation of several island lizard species (Jones 1993, Rodda & Fritts 1992, Fritts & Rodda 1998). It can damage seeds and young plants by digging for food (pers. obs.). S. murinus can also act as a reservoir for the plague (Duplantier et al., 2005).
Location Specific Impacts:
Reduction in native biodiversity: The extirpation pattern of one lizard species, the pelagic gecko (Nactus pelagicus), has coincided almost exactly with the spread of the Indian musk shrew (Suncus murinus. The shrew is also believed to have affected two skink species Emoia cyanura and E. caeruleocauda (Rodda and Fritts 1992; Fritts and Rodda 1998).
Reduction in native biodiversity: On Mauritius the Indian musk shrews (Suncus murinus) is known to prey upon native and introduced invertebrates as well as damaging seeds and young plants by digging. Through predation or competition, musk shrews are believed to have caused the extirpation of several species of endemic lizards from the mainland of Mauritius, Reunion and many of their offshore islands (Jones 1988 1993, in Varham et al. 2002). On the neighbouring island of Rodrigues they have been implicated in the decline of numbers of several invertebrate species including two native centipedes and a field cricket (Varham et al. 2002).
Ile aux Aigrettes (Mauritius)
Reduction in native biodiversity: Indian musk shrews (Suncus murinus) are known to both prey upon small lizards and compete with them for food (Jones 1988, 1993, in Varham et al. 2002).
Rodrigues Is. (Mauritius)
Reduction in native biodiversity: The exact nature of impact of the Indian musk shrews (Suncus murinus) is unknown. It probably interacts negatively with a great many other species, either through predation or competition. Through these means, the shrew is believed to have caused the extirpation of an endemic skink, (Jones 1993).