The Sierra de Perijá is the northern extension of the Cordillera Oriental of the Andes and includes part of the border between Colombia and Venezuela. The population of small-eared shrews (Mammalia, Eulipotyphla, Soricidae, Cryptotis) inhabiting the Sierra de Perijá previously was known from only a single skull from an individual collected in Colombia in 1989. This specimen had been referred to alternatively as C. thomasi and C. meridensis, but a more precise definition of the known Colombian and Venezuelan species of Cryptotis has since excluded the Sierra de Perijá population from any named species. The recent collection of a specimen from the Venezuelan slope of Sierra de Perijá prompted us to re-evaluate the taxonomic status of this population and determine its relationship with other Andean shrews. Our examination of the available specimens revealed that they possess a unique suite of morphological and morphometrical characters, and we describe the Sierra de Perijá population as a new species in the predominantly South American C. thomasi species group. Recognition of this new species adds to our knowledge of this genus in South America and to the biodiversity of the Sierra de Perijá.
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Vol. 96 • No. 4