Tenrecs of Madagascar

Tenrecs are unusual insectivores that have radiated into ecological niches filled in other lands by hedgehogs, mice, shrews, opossums, and even otters. While a few species of tenrec are found in central Africa, they are most diverse in Madagascar which has around 30 species.

Perhaps the most unusual tenrec is the rare Web-footed Tenrec (Limnogale mergulus) which resembles a river otter and inhabits streams, marshes and lakes (elevation: 600-2,000 meters) where it feeds on frogs, crustaceans, insect larvae, and fish. According to Walker's Mammals of the World, the Web-footed Tenrec's "habitat is frequently associated with the aquatic lace plant, Aponogeton, the bases of which harbor abundant aquatic invertebrates."

Tenrecs are currently included in the Insectivora order although new evidence suugests they should be "placed within a group of African mammals, the Afrotheria, which includes aardvarks, elephants, hyraxes, sea cows, elephant shrews, and golden moles" (Walker's Mammals of the World).

Common tenrecTenrec ecaudatusx
Greater hedgehog tenrecSetifer setosusx
Lesser hedgehog tenrecEchinops telfairix
Lowland streaked tenrecHemicentetes semispinosus
Large-eared tenrecGeogale auritax