Curtin, Charles B. Department of Biology, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.
Last reviewed:May 2016
Show previous versions
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An insectivorous mammal of the family Tenrecidae and indigenous to Madagascar. The tenrecs constitute the insectivorous mammalian family Tenrecidae. There are more than 30 species of tenrecs in 10 genera. Based on taxonomic revisions, the tenrecs (family Tenrecidae) and the golden moles (family Chrysochloridae) have been combined into the order Afrosoricida. Formerly, these animals were assigned to the now-abandoned order Insectivora. The tenrecs are nocturnally active and feed on insects, worms, and mollusks. All tenrecs are essentially primitive, unspecialized mammals (see illustration), with poor vision. The digits are clawed, and the first digit is not opposable to the others. Some species, such as the tailless or common tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus), become dormant during the hot dry season. The largest tenrecs are 30–40 cm (11.8–15.75 in.) in length. Their body is covered with a mixture of hair, spines, and bristles; the tail is rudimentary; and the toes may be separate or webbed, depending on the species. These animals exude a strong, offensive odor. The dental formula is I 2/3, C 1/1, Pm 3/3, M 4/3 × 2 for a total of 40 teeth. Tenrecs are adapted to climbing and swimming. The female is prolific, with litters of 12 to 20 young, and has 22 mammary glands to feed the offspring. See also: Dentition; Hibernation and estivation; Insectivora; Mammalia; Scent gland
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information