tenrec

/ten"rek/, n.
any of several insectivorous mammals of the family Tenrecidae, of Madagascar, having a long, pointed snout, certain species of which are spiny and tailless.
Also, tanrec.
[1720-30; < F < Malagasy tàndraka]

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▪ mammal family
 any of 29 species of shrewlike and hedgehoglike mammals. Most are endemic to Madagascar and nearby islands, but the otter shrews (otter shrew) (subfamily Potamogalinae) are native to the African mainland.

      The shrewlike tenrecs, such as the long-eared tenrec (Geogale aurita), have soft, dense fur and are analogous to true shrews (family Soricidae) found on other continents. The long-eared tenrec is a very small ground dweller weighing only 5 to 9 grams (0.2 to 0.3 ounce) and having a body 7 cm (2.8 inches) long and a shorter tail (3 cm). It is brown with a white underside. The 17 species of shrew tenrecs (genus Microgale) are larger and darker in colour; they can be either terrestrial or arboreal. Geogale and Microgale are counterparts to the white-toothed shrews (white-toothed shrew) of Asia and Africa. The three species of rice tenrecs (genus Oryzorictes) are burrowers that will inhabit rice fields. They are similar to American short-tailed shrews (short-tailed shrew) and have dark velvety fur, small eyes and ears, and long front claws. The amphibious tenrec (Limnogale mergulus) is the only species in its genus. In addition to its webbed feet, keeled tail, and water-repellent fur, the amphibious tenrec also has the body form, habits, and diet of water shrews (water shrew).

      The hedgehoglike tenrecs have bulky bodies, have short or no external tails, and are terrestrial or arboreal. Most species have specialized spines that scrape against each other to produce sounds used in communication. The lesser and greater hedgehog tenrecs (Echinops telfairi and Setifer setosus, respectively) have densely spined upperparts and can curl into a protective ball. The lesser hedgehog tenrec weighs up to 250 grams and has a body up to 18 cm long. The streaked tenrec is about the same size; its fur consists of detachable barbed spines and coarse hairs. The common, or tailless, tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus) is the largest, weighing 2 kg (4.4 pounds) or more.

      The eight tenrec genera belong to the family Tenrecidae, which also includes African otter shrews (subfamily Potamogalinae). The tenrecs of Madagascar belong to three subfamilies. Subfamily Oryzorictinae includes the 21 species of Oryzorictes, Limnogale, and Microgale; subfamily Tenrecinae includes four single-species genera, Echinops, Setifer, Tenrec, and Hemicentetes; Geogale aurita is the sole member of subfamily Geogalinae. Although tenrecs are currently placed in the same order (Soricimorpha) as solenodons (solenodon), true shrews (shrew), and moles (mole), the actual evolutionary relationships of tenrecs are unresolved. Anatomical and molecular studies, for example, suggest that they may be more closely related to golden moles (golden mole) (order Chrysochloridea).

      Tenrecs were considered to represent the classic island pattern of many different species evolving from a common ancestor. Recent evidence, however, suggests that the three subfamilies represent three independent colonizations of Madagascar. Tenrec fossils in Africa date to the Early Miocene Epoch (23.8 to 16.4 million years ago), which suggests a continental fauna that could have included the ancestors of the three living groups on Madagascar.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • tenrec — [ tɑ̃rɛk ] n. m. • 1791; tanrec 1761; du malgache tandraka, var. dial. de trandraka ♦ Zool. Mammifère insectivore de Madagascar, à museau pointu, au corps couvert de poils et de piquants. tanrec ou tenrec n. m. ZOOL Petit mammifère insectivore de …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • tenrec — [ten′rek΄] n. [Fr tanrac, tenrec < Malagasy tràndraka, tàndeke] any of a family (Tenrecidae) of small, burrowing insectivores of Madagascar and the Comoro Islands …   English World dictionary

  • Tenrec — Ten rec, n. [From the native name: cf. F. tanrac, tanrec, tandrec.] (Zo[ o]l.) A small insectivore ({Centetes ecaudatus}), native of Madagascar, but introduced also into the islands of Bourbon and Mauritius; called also {tanrec}. The name is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tenrec — Tenrec, Art der Gattung Borstenigel …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Tenrec — Nom vernaculaire ou nom normalisé ambigu : Le terme « Tenrec ou tanrec » s applique en français à plusieurs taxons distincts. Tenrec ou tanrec …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tenrec — Großer Tenrek Großer Tenrek (Tenrec ecaudatus) Systematik Überordnung: Afrotheria Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • tenrec — paprastasis tenrekas statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Tenrec ecaudatus angl. common tenrec; tailless tenrec; tenrec vok. großer Tanrek rus. бесхвостый тенрек; обыкновенный тенрек; тенрек pranc. tanrec… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • tenrec — Tendrac Ten drac, n. [See {Tenrec}.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of several species of small insectivores of the family {Centetid[ae]}, belonging to {Ericulus}, {Echinope}, and related genera, native of Madagascar. They are more or less spinose and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tenrec — n. (also tanrec) any hedgehog like tailless insect eating mammal of the family Tenrecidae, esp. Tenrec ecaudatus native to Madagascar. Etymology: F tanrec, f. Malagasy tagravendraka * * * tenrec see tanrec …   Useful english dictionary

  • tenrec — ► sustantivo masculino ZOOLOGÍA Mamífero insectívoro de Madagascar, de tamaño pequeño y con el cuerpo cubierto de púas y pelo. (Tenrec ecaudatus.) IRREG. plural tenreques …   Enciclopedia Universal

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