- Other Geographic Terms
- island endemic
Microgale species live sympatrically in at some point in their geographic range (e.g., all species have been recorded in the Andringitra National Park), however, lives at a higher elevation than most Microgale. (Garbutt, 2007; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Wilson and Reeder, 2005)prefers the eastern humid forests of Madagascar. Specimens have been recorded in valley bottoms with dense vegetation in moist, subtropical, montane areas from 1,200 m to 1,990 m elevation. Nearly all
- Range elevation
- 1,200 to 1,190 m
- to ft
Like other members of its family, pelage with buff speckles, and dark grey ventral pelage with a "buff wash." The tail is bicoloured, dark brown dorsally and light brown ventrally. Juveniles appear less speckled than adults, particularly posteriorly. The dentition is much reduced in size with slender canines and incisors. The adult dental formula of is I3/3, C1/1, P3/3, M3/3. (Garbutt, 2007; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Macdonald, 1987)retains many primitive traits, including a low and seasonally variable body temperature, a cloaca (common opening for the urogenital, anal and reproductive tracts) and testes that are undescended in the male. is shrew-like in appearance and many of its morphological features suggest that it is semi-fossorial. This species is characterized by an elongate skull, long rostrum and rhinarium, dense, velvety pelage, reduced eyes and ears, short forelimbs with broadened forefeet, and enlarged claws with five digits. The tail is shorter than the head/body length. Individuals have dark-brown dorsal
Microgale gymnoryncha, but the two can be differentiated by the posterior region of the rhinarium, which is reticulated in . Also, the braincase length is generally less than 8.5 mm in and greater than 8.5 mm in M. gymoryncha. (Goodman and Benstead, 2003)may be confused with
Basal metabolic rate of Microgale dobsoni is 77.1 kJ/d (mean body mass 42.6 g), which is 3.8 times the resting metabolic rate (RMR) of the species. Also, the mean FMR for nonreproducing M. talazaci (mean body mass 42.8 g) is 66.5 kJ/d, which is 3.2 times RMR. (Stephenson, 1994)is unknown, but there is information on closely related species. The field metabolic rate (FMR) for nonreproducing
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range mass
- 20 to 25 g
- 0.70 to 0.88 oz
- Average mass
- 23.2 g
- 0.82 oz
- Range length
- 165 to 190 mm
- 6.50 to 7.48 in
The mating system of Microgale species are polygynandrous. Evidence suggests that some Microgale use sound to communicate with potential mates, but this has not been studied in . (Garbutt, 2007; Vaughan, et al., 2000; Walker, 1964)has not been studied. However, other
Tenrecidae that have been studied have relatively long gestation periods. Though Microgale are nearly the same size as a true shrew, their gestation period is almost twice as long (eight weeks versus three to four weeks in a shrew). Litter size of related Microgale species tend to be small, with a maximum of three. All Tenrecidae lack a fluid-filled cavity (antrum) that develops in the ovarian follicle. Before ovulation, spermatozoa contact and penetrate the developing follicles, fertilizing the egg before ovulation. The only other mammal in which this occurs is Blarina brevicauda (the short-tailed shrew). can have up to six mammae. (Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Macdonald, 1987; Stephenson, 2007)becomes sexually mature after the formation of adult dentition, however, little else is know of the reproductive behavior of this species. All species of the family
Size at birth of and the timing of ontogenetic events of Microgale dobsoni offspring weigh 3.95 g at birth, on average and are fully furred by 18 to 22 days after birth. Most M. dobsoni young are weaned by 28 to 30 days, become sexually mature by about 2 years old, and weigh an average of 37.8 g upon reaching independence. (De Magalhaes and Costa, 2009)young is unknown. However,
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
No information is available regarding parental care in Microgale species (M. talazaci and M. dobsoni) suggests that offspring are weaned by 28 to 30 days, then followed the mother at night as she forages. Following behavior by young suggests that mothers may protect offspring prior to independence. There is no information on post-independence associations between mother and offspring. (Eisenberg and Maliniak, 1985; Walker, 1964). As mammals, females likely invest much time and energy in their young until they are weaned. Evidence from closely related
Little is known of the general behavior of Microgale species. Morphological traits suggest a semi-fossorial behavior (e.g., small eyes, small ears, short, dense pelage). is terrestrial, nocturnal and forages alone, suggesting that it is solitary. (Garbutt, 2007; Goodman and Benstead, 2003). This species is not arboreal or scansorial like many
There is no information available regarding home range in, or closely related species.
Communication and Perception
Like other Microgale species, is probably insectivorous, though there is no information on the feeding behavior of this species. It has been suggested that may also eat other small invertebrates and earthworms. The stomach contents of several closely related Microgale species (M. taiva, M. principula, and M. drouhardi) show predation on Coleoptera (beetles), Dermaptera (earwigs), Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps), Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, locusts), Annelida (segmented worms), Arachnida (arachnids) and Amphipoda (crustaceans). (Garbutt, 2007; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Stephenson, 2007)
- Animal Foods
- terrestrial non-insect arthropods
- terrestrial worms
No information is available concerning the major predators of carnivores, birds of prey, snakes and other Microgale. Remains of the closely related species (M. melanorrhachis and M. talazaci have been found in the scat of fossas and in barn owl pellets, and both Microgale species occur sympatrically with . There is no information on anti-predator adaptions of or closely related species, however, its suggested fossorial and nocturnal lifestyle may help reduce risk of predation. (Goodman, et al., 1997; Stephenson, 2007). However, this species is probably prey for small
- tick (Ixodes albignaci)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
was discovered by Charles Immanuel Forsyth Major on an expedition in 1896.
Microgale, Oryzorictes hova, Oryzorictes tetradactylus and Limnogale are placed in their own subfamily of tenrecids, the Oryzorictinae (spineless tenrecs). This split and phylogenetic tree is based on analysis of the mitochondrial genes 12S rRNA, tRNA-Valine and ND2 and exon 28 of the nuclear von Willebrand Factor gene. According to this study, is most closely related to Microgale gymnohyncha. (Goodman and Benstead, 2003)
Kayla Paulson (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, John Berini (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
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
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.
- female parental care
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
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.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
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.
- scent marks
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
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.
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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