Cowan's shrew tenrecs are found in more habitats than most other shrew tenrec species. They mainly inhabit lowland humid and moist montane forests of the eastern regions. They are also known from forest patches in the eastern regions of the central highlands. A few specimens have been trapped on the edges of agricultural fields. There is no evidence of from western Madagascar. It has been suggested that is not well adapted to the more pronounced seasonal variation typical of western Madagascar. (Goodman and Rasolonandrasana, 2001; MacPhee, 1987)
The adult tooth formula of (MacPhee, 1987)is I 3/3, C 1/1, P 3/3, M 3/3. The only deciduous tooth lost before the molars erupt and are fully functional is I 3/3. The replacement of the deciduous teeth happens so rapidly it is difficult to obtain specimens showing intermediate stages of tooth loss. Deciduous and adult teeth look nearly identical, requiring expertise to tell them apart. Premolars P3 and P4 are very molariform and the canine usually has a small paraconid.
Little is known of the mating systems of (Stephenson and Racey, 1993). When kept in captivity, male-female pairs sometimes share a nest.
The reproduction of closely related M. dobsoni and M. talazaci were studied in the late 1960s. Three pairs of M. dobsoni were mated, resulting in one abortion and two litters of 3 young each. Four litters of M. talazaci were born in captivity, averaging 1 to 3 young. Both species started breeding after their autumn molt, around the age of 22 months. The average length of gestation was 58 to 64 days. The young started to grow hair around 12 days and opened their eyes around day 18. They grew their full coat of hair by 18 to 22 days. Around day 28 to 30 the young started following the mother at night, and were presumably weaned. (Eisenberg and Maliniak, 1985)
Little is known of the home range ofas they have not been extensively studied in a wild.
In captivity, orthopteran insects, ground meat, and earthworms. There is evidence of cannibalism and eating of smaller Microgale species from traps. They forage in leaf litter and among fallen branches and tree roots on the forest floor. Prey is seized with the mouth before being consumed. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Eisenberg and Maliniak, 1985; Jenkins, 2003)will accept
does not negatively affect humans.
There are no known major threats to (Raherisehena and Jenkins, 2008). IUCN considers it to be a species of least concern as it is widely distributed, including several protected park areas, and seems to have large population numbers. It also adapts well to disturbed areas and agricultural fields.
Microgale species is primarily studied through trapping. In areas where is found it tends to be trapped more often than other Microgale species. This could be due to many reasons, including it being more common, or because it has specific habits that increase its susceptibility to trapping. (Goodman and Rakotondravony, 2000; Goodman and Rasolonandrasana, 2001; Goodman, et al., 2000)along with the other
Iris Hartshorn (author), University of Alaska Fairbanks, Link E. Olson (editor, instructor), University of Alaska Fairbanks, Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
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.
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
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
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.
union of egg and spermatozoan
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
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.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
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.
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
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.
Eisenberg, J., E. Gould. 1970. The Tenrecs: A Study in mammalian Behavior. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Eisenberg, J., E. Maliniak. 1985. The reproduction of the genus g. Microgale in captivity. International Zoo Yearbook, 14(1): 108-110.
Goodman, S., C. Raxworthy, C. Maminirina, L. Olson. 2006. A new species of shrew tenrec (Microgale jobihely) from northern Madagascar. Journal of Zoology, 270: 384-398.
Goodman, S., P. Jenkins. 1998. The insectivores of the Reserve Speciale d'Anjanaharibe-Sud, Madagascar. A floral and faunal inventory of the Reserve Speciale d'Anjanaharibe-Sud, Madagascar: with reference to the elevational variation. Fieldiana: zoology New Series, 90: 139-161.
Goodman, S., P. Jenkins, M. Pidgeon. 1999. Lipotyphla (Tenrecidae and Soricidae) of the Reserve Naturelle Integrale d'Andohahela, Madagascar. A floral and faunal inventory of the Reserve Naturelle Integrale d'Andringitra. Madagascar: with reference to the elevational variation. Fieldiana: zoology New Series, 94: 187-216.
Goodman, S., P. Jenkins, D. Rakotondravony. 2000. The biogeography of rodents (Rodentia: Muridae: Nesomyinae) and tenrecids (Lipotyphla: Tenrecidae) in the eastern forests of Madagascar: An assesment of altitudinal zonation along a latitudinal gradient. Memoires de la Societe de Biogeographie, 1: 127-138.
Goodman, S., D. Rakotondravony. 2000. The effects of forest fragmentation and isolation on insectivorous small mammals (Lipotyphla) on the Central High Plateau of Madagascar. Journal of Zoology, 250: 193-200.
Goodman, S., B. Rasolonandrasana. 2001. Elevational zonation of birds, insectivores, rodents and primates on the slopes of Andrigitra Massif, Madagascar. Journal of Natural History, 35: 285-305.
Jenkins, P. 2003. Microgale, Shrew Tenrecs. Pp. 1273-1278 in S Goodman, J Benstead, eds. The Natural History of Madagascar. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Jenkins, P. 1992. Description of a new species of Microgale (Insectivora: Tenrecidae) from eastern Madagascar. Bulletin British Museum of Natural History Zoology, 58(1): 53-59.
Jenkins, P., S. Goodman, C. Raxworthy. 1996. The Shrew Tenrecs (Microgale) (Insectivora: Tenrecidae) of the Reserve Naturelle Integrale d'Andringitra, Madagascar. A floral and faunal inventory of the eastern slopes of the Reserve Naturelle Integrale d'Andringitra. Madagascar: with reference to the elevational variation. Fieldiana: zoology New Series, 85: 191-217.
MacPhee, R. 1987. The Shrew Tenrecs of Madagascar: Systemic Revision and Holocene Distribution of Microgale (Tenrecidae, Insectivora). American Museum Novitates, 2889: 1-45.
Racey, P., P. Stephenson. 1996. Reproductive and energetic differentiation of the Tenrecidae of Madagascar. Biogeographie de Madagascar, 1: 307-319.
Raherisehena, M., P. Jenkins. 2008. "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40586.. Accessed November 10, 2008 at
Stephenson, P. 1995. Taxonomy of shrew-tenrecs (Microgale spp.) from eastern and central Madagascar. Journal of Zoology, 235: 339-350.
Stephenson, P., P. Racey. 1993. Reproductive energetics of the Tenrecidae (Mammalia: Insectivora). II. The Shrew-Tenrecs Microgale spp . Physiological Zoology, 66(5): 664-685.