Podogymnura trueiMindanao gymnure

Geographic Range

Podogymnura truei is endemic to the Philippines and restricted to Mindanao Island. Within Mindanao Island, P. truei occurs only in the provinces of Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, and Davao del Sur. It has been recorded on Mt. Apo, Mt. McKinley, and Mt. Katanglad. ("2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species", 2006; Heaney, 1998; Wilson and Reeder, 1995)


Podogymnura truei is confined to the mountainous forests of Mindanao. They prefer damp areas and are frequently found near standing water. They are widespread in primary and montane forests (1300 to 2000 m) and even more abundant in the mossy forests (2000 to 2900 m). They've been found among tangled tree roots, in thick moss covered roots, by logs in dense fern undergrowth, by dense stream edge vegetation, under grass at the edge of a lake, by boulders in densely fern covered valleys, and by hollowed tree trunks. Their habitats are comparable to those of true shrews (Soricidae). (Heaney, 1998; Heaney, 2001; Stone, 1995; Walker, 1991; Walker, 1999)

  • Range elevation
    1250 to 2900 m
    4101.05 to 9514.44 ft
  • Average elevation
    2200 m
    7217.85 ft

Physical Description

Mindanao gymnures are medium sized, ground dwellers with a body length of 130 to 150 mm. Their pelage is long, soft, and full. Dorsally their pelage is mostly gray mixed with coarser reddish brown hairs, while ventrally it is more hoary with some white and brown mixed in. Their ears are semi-naked and they have long whiskers. Their robust tail is about 1/3 of their body length (40 to 70 mm), moderately haired, and a buffy to purplish flesh color. Their pelage fades away to naked peach skin colored feet (hind food is 31 to 37 mm). Podogymnura aureospinula (found on Dinagat Island) is distringuished from P. truei by it's golden brown spiny dorsal pelage with black speckling. Podogymnura is closely related to Echinosorex; they share cranial and dental characteristics including a long rostrum and long, well-developed canine teeth. Podogymnura is smaller, has a shorter tail, and has less prominent temporal, sagittal, and nuchal crests. No reports on sexual dimorphism or mass measurements were found. Some pictures can be found at the Field Museum of Natural History webpage. ("ARCBC", 2006; Walker, 1999)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range length
    130 to 150 mm
    5.12 to 5.91 in


Mindanao gymnures are not well studied, no information on mating was found.

No information on reproduction could be found in the literature.

Like all mammals, female Mindanao gymnures are expected to nurse and care for their young until they are weaned.

  • Parental Investment
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • provisioning
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female


Almost nothing is known about the life history of this species. (Walker, 1991)


No information was found about behavior of Mindanao gymnures in the literature.

Communication and Perception

Their long whiskers give them good tactile sensation. Like other mammals, they are expected to use their sense of smell and chemical cues extensively.

Food Habits

Insects, worms, and possibly carrion seem to comprise the majority of their diet, although there was one report of herbivory. They have been caught in traps baited with worms, bird flesh, or even fried coconut coated with peanut butter. ("Wildlife Database", 2006; Rickart, et al., 2003; Walker, 1999)

  • Animal Foods
  • carrion
  • insects
  • terrestrial worms


No information on predation was found.

Ecosystem Roles

Podogymnura truei is an important component of the highland ecosystems of Mindanao because it helps control forest insect populations. ("ARCBC", 2006)

Commensal/Parasitic Species

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Humans benefit from their insect control.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Podogymnura truei on humans.

Conservation Status

Mindanao gymnures are currently listed under the IUCN Red List as endangered because they occur only in a fragmented forested region on Mindanao Island, Philippines which is threatened by logging, slash and burn agriculture, and forest degradation. Heaney (1998) however argues that because of their occurrence in high elevation forests, which have comparatively little commercial value, forest degradation is not as great a threat. With their relative abundance in these areas, current populations should be stable. ("2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species", 2006; Heaney, 1998)

Other Comments

Common names include: Mindanao gymnure, Mindanao wood shrew, and Mindanao moonrat. Podogymnura truei includes the occasionally referenced P. minima. (Heaney, 1998; Walker, 1999; Wilson and Reeder, 1995)


Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Andrew Rasmussen (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor, instructor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.



uses sound to communicate


young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


flesh of dead animals.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

island endemic

animals that live only on an island or set of islands.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.


Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).


remains in the same area


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


uses sight to communicate


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.


2006. "2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). Accessed November 13, 2006 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/17828/summ.

2006. "ARCBC" (On-line). Asean Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation. Accessed December 01, 2006 at http://arcbc.org/cgi-bin/abiss.exe/spd?SID=88632&spd=10671&tx=MA.

2006. "Wildlife Database" (On-line). Accessed November 20, 2006 at http://www.cbmall-gateway.com/insectivores/mindanao_gymnure.html.

Durden, L., J. Beaucournu. 2000. The Flea Genus Sigmactenus: A New Species from Timor and new material from New Guinea and the Philippines. Journal of Parisitology, Vol. 86, No. 3: 432-437.

Heaney, L. 1998. A Synopsis of the Mammalian Fauna of the Philippine Islands. Chicago, IL USA: Field Museum of Natural History.

Heaney, L. 2001. Special Issue: Diversity Patterns in Small Mammals among Elevational Gradients. Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 10, No. 1: 15-39.

Rickart, E., L. Heaney, B. Tabaranza. 2003. A New Species of Limnomys from Mindanao Island, Philippines. Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 84, Iss. 4: 1443-1455.

Stone, D. 1995. Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrews - Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.

Walker, E. 1999. Walkers Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press.

Walker, E. 1991. Walkers Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press.

Wilson, D., D. Reeder. 1995. Mammal Species of the World. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.