- Other Geographic Terms
- island endemic
Long-tailed tenrecs, M.longicaudata, are terrestrial mammals with a preference for areas of dense vegetation. They can be found in various habitats located across Madagascar, including Eastern humid forest, Central highlands, the mountainous Northern highlands, Sambirano lowland forest, Western deciduous dry forest, and the isolated humid forest of Montange d' Ambre. They inhabit elevations of from 440 m above sea level to 1990 m. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Goodman and Benstead, 2003)
- Habitat Regions
- Range elevation
- 440 to 1990 m
- 1443.57 to 6528.87 ft
- Average elevation
- 1250 m
- 4101.05 ft
Although data on this particular species are lacking, the genus Microgale is known to possess coats composed of a soft dark brown to black fur on the back with a gray or lead colored belly. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Nowak, 1999)
Since the testes, which have a volume of 50 mm^3, are found in the abdominal area and do not descend into a scrotum, there is very little to rely on for external physical cues to determine sex. Males and females are almost indistinguishable from one another. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Nowak, 1999)
The animals are very much like shews, except they have ears are conspicuous, and project above the fur. Their dental formula is 3/3 1/1 3/3 3/3. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Nowak, 1999)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- sexes alike
- Range mass
- 5 to 12 g
- 0.18 to 0.42 oz
- Average mass
- 7 g
- 0.25 oz
- Range length
- 75 to 158 mm
- 2.95 to 6.22 in
Although not much is known about the mating system of M. dobsoni males are known to pair up with a female only during the breeding season, whereas M. talazaci males may establish a more permanent male/female relationship. Mating may be polygynous or monogamous. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Nowak, 1999), some information is available for their relatives. The mating system apparently varies across the genus:
Information on the reproductive behaviors of M. dobsoni, has a spring and summer breeding season, although another congener, M. talazaci is known to have a breeding season that is 1 to 2 months longer. Parturition in members of the genus Microgale occurs from late November through early December with the start of the rainy season. These animals become sexually mature before their adult dentition is present and have 6 to 8 mammae. They are known to have a maximum litter size of 2 offspring. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Nowak, 1999)is not available. However, some data exist for other species in the genus. One congener,
- Key Reproductive Features
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- The breeding interval of is not known.
- Breeding season
- The breeding season for this species has not been determined.
- Range number of offspring
- 2 (high)
Details on the parental care of these animals are lacking. However, as mammals, we know that females provide their young with milk, grooming, and protection during the early part of their lives. The role of males in parental care of these animals is not known.
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
- female parental care
Information is unknown.
Members of the genus Microgale are known to be solitary in nature. has a nocturnal activity pattern and resembles a shrew in terms of lifestyle. It uses its hind limbs and elongated prehensile tail for climbing and richochetting among tree branches in forest habitats. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; Nowak, 1999)
Home range size for these animals is unknown.
Communication and Perception
With reduced eye size, visual cues are not thought to be very important to these animals. Microgale relies mainly on tactile, chemical, and auditory communication. (Nowak, 1999; Nowak, 1999; Nowak, 1999; Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Nowak, 1999)
Vocal communication ranges from a soft squeak to a trill. Wails are associated with submissive behavior. Squeaks are used when animals are in a defensive mode, and a buzzing is often produced during attacks. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Nowak, 1999)
Chemical communication may be involved in the practice of saliva spreading, which has been observed in tenrecs. Although there is little research on chemical communication in these animals, it is thought that chemical signals are also involved when the Microgale touches its nose to glandular areas on its body, such as the ear, forehead, or cloaca. (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Nowak, 1999)
Members of the genus Microgale are known to be insectivorous. Specifically, is known to consume various invertebrates including Coleoptera (beetles), Hymenoptera (bees, wasps,and ants), Orthoptera (grasshoppers), Arachnida (spiders and ticks), and Amphipoda (flat bodied crustaceans). (Eisenberg and Gould, 1970; Goodman and Benstead, 2003; )
- Animal Foods
- terrestrial non-insect arthropods
- aquatic crustaceans
Although specific information for Microgale fall prey to large reptiles, birds, and mammals. M. taiva is known to occasionally consume congeners , M. principula, and M. cawani. However, there were only seven instances of this cannibalism, which occurred in pitfall trapping and may have resulted from the absence of an escape, rather than the true nature of M. taiva. (Goodman and Benstead, 2003)is not available, members of the genus
Eimeria, Babesia (a vertebrate blood cell parasite), L.(M.) calcaratua, L.(A.) papillosus, and L.(M.) uniformis. (Goodman and Benstead, 2003)acts as both prey and predator in its ecosystem, although any influential role is either not present or remains undiscovered at this time. is known to serve as host for several parasites, including
- none known
- none known
- Eimeria, Babesia (a vertebrate blood cell parasite), L.(M.) calcaratua, L.(A.) papillosus, and L.(M.) uniformis.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
No economic importance for this species has been documented.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
No economic importance has been documented for these animals.
These animals are not known to be a conservation concern. Although not evaluated, it is likely that they are somewhat vulnerable to habitat loss, as are many other animals in Madagascar.
Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
sarah stevens (author), Michigan State University, Barbara Lundrigan (editor, instructor), Michigan State University.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
- 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
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 one mate at a time.
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.
active during the night
having more than one female as a mate at one time
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.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
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 and Evolution. City of Washington: Smithsonian Institution.
Goodman, S., J. Benstead. 2003. The Natural History of Madagascar. Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the Worls, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.