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tenrec

tenrec (tĕn´rĕk), any of the small insectivorous mammals of the family Tenrecidae, also called tendrecs or tanrecs. These animals are found on the island of Madagascar. In that closed environment they have evolved diverse forms, filling various ecological niches occupied by other small mammals elsewhere.

There are about 30 tenrec species, classified in 8 genera. The common tenrec, Tenrec ecaudatus, is one of the world's largest insectivores. It is tailless, with a body length of 12 to 16 in. (30–41 cm). Its coat is a yellow-brown mixture of hair, bristles, and spines. The hedgehog tenrec, Setifer setosus, resembles a true hedgehog. The short-haired rice tenrecs, genus Oryzorictes, are molelike animals whose tunneling causes much damage in rice fields. The long-tailed tenrec, Microgale longicaudata, is mouselike in size and appearance, with a tail two and a half times its body length, and it is able to jump. The water tenrec, Linmogale mergulus, is a rat-sized aquatic animal with webbed feet and a keeled tail. The streaked tenrecs, genus Hemicentetes, make ultrasonic calls by rubbing specialized spines on their backs together.

All tenrecs are nocturnal, most hibernate in the winter, and many are dormant in hot weather. They live on a diet of small animals, chiefly worms and insects. Females have as many as twenty-two teats and give birth to litters of fifteen to twenty young.

The giant water shrews of the central African forest belong to the subfamily Potamogalinae (sometimes considered a family, Potamogalidae) of the Tenrecidae. These animals are otterlike in appearance and way of life, with fine fur and a laterally compressed tail. Other animals called water shrews are members of the true shrew family.

Tenrecs are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Afrosoricida, families Tenrecidae.

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Tenrecidae

Tenrecidae (otter shrew, tenrec; suborder Lipotyphla, superfamily Soricoidea) A family of insectivores in which a cloaca is present, and in which the cusps of he molar teeth form a triangular V shape, except in the Potamogalinae, where they form a W shape. The Tenrecidae have undergone adaptive radiation to produce forms resembling shrews, moles, and hedgehogs, and Potamogale (otter shrew) is an aquatic form closely resembling true otters. Some are larger than most insectivores, one of the tenrecs attaining a length of 50 cm and P. velox (giant otter shrew) 60 cm. The Tenrecidae occur only in W. and Central Africa (Potamogalinae) and Madagascar (Tenrecinae). There are 11 genera, with 33 species.

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tanrec

tanrec, tenrec insectivorous mammal allied to the hedgehog. XVIII. — F. tanrec — Malagasy t(r)āndraka.

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tanrec

tanrec: see tenrec.

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tenrec

tenrec See TENRECIDAE.

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tenrec

tenrec see TANREC.

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