Afrosoricida

The order Afrosoricida (a Latin-Greek compound name which means "looking like African shrews") contains the golden moles of southern Africa, the otter shrews of equatorial Africa and the tenrecs of Madagascar. These three families of small mammals have traditionally been considered to be a part of the order Insectivora, and were later included in Lipotyphla after Insectivora was abandoned as a wastebasket taxon, before Lipotyphla was also found to be polyphyletic.

Afrosoricida[1]
Temporal range: Early Miocene–Recent
Tanrek.jpg
Tailless tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Superorder: Afrotheria
Order: Afrosoricida
Stanhope et al., 1998
Suborders

 Chrysochloridea
 Tenrecomorpha

NamingEdit

Some biologists use Tenrecomorpha as the name for the tenrec-golden mole clade, but Gary Bronner and Paulina Jenkins argue that Afrosoricida is more appropriate, despite their misgivings about the similarity between the name "Afrosoricida" and the unrelated shrew subgenus Afrosorex.[1] However, Afrosorex Hutterer, 1986 is a synonym of Crocidura Wagler, 1832, eliminating any confusion.[2]

BiologyEdit

As a rule, tenrecs and otter shrews tend to be small animals varying from 4 cm to 39 cm in length. There is no pronounced body type since they have evolved to take over the insect-eating niche in Madagascar. However, based on the niche occupied, they look like shrews, hedgehogs or otters. Their coat can vary from smooth to spiny and the coloration of the fur is generally dirt brown. Most species are also nocturnal and have poor eyesight. However, their whiskers are rather sensitive and they can detect very minute vibrations in the ground to locate their prey.

PhylogenyEdit

Traditionally, these two families were grouped with the hedgehogs, shrews and moles in the Lipotyphla. However, there have always been minority opinions suggesting that Tenrecomorpha, or at least the golden moles, are not true lipotyphlans. These opinions are now supported by many genetic studies indicating an association between Tenrecomorpha and various other African mammals in the superorder Afrotheria.[3][4][5] Afrosoricids are sometimes considered part of the Afroinsectiphilia, a clade within Afrotheria.

Cladogram of living Afrosoricida[5][6]
Chrysochloroidea
(Chrysochloridae)

Eremitalpa granti

Kilimatalpa stuhlmanni

Chrysochloris asiatica

Cryptochloris wintoni

Chrysospalax trevelyani

Calcochloris obtusirostris

Chlorotalpa

C. duthieae

C. sclateri

Amblysomus

A. hottentotus

A. marleyi

A. septentrionalis

A. arendsi

A. gunningi

A. julianae

Tenrecoidea
Potamogalidae

Micropotamogale lamottei

M. ruwenzorii

Potamogale velox

Tenrecidae
Tenrecinae

Hemicentetes semispinosus

Tenrec ecaudatus

Echinops telfairi

Setifer setosus

Geogalinae

Geogale aurita

Oryzorictes hova

Microgale

M. talazaci

M. mergulus

M. brevicaudata

M. grandidieri

M. cowani

M. pusilla

M. longicaudata

M. principula

M. majori

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Bronner, G.N.; Jenkins, P.D. (2005). "Order Afrosoricida". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 71–81. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Hutterer, R. (2005). "Order Soricomorpha". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ Stanhope, M.J.; Waddell, V.G.; Madsen, O.; de Jong, W.; Hedges, S.B.; Cleven, G.C.; Kao, D.; Springer, M.S. (1998). "Molecular evidence for multiple origins of Insectivora and for a new order of endemic African insectivore mammals". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 95 (17): 9967–9972. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.17.9967.
  4. ^ Douady, C.J.; Douzery, E.J.P. (2003). "Molecular estimation of eulipotyphlan divergence times and the evolution of "Insectivora"". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 28 (2): 285–296. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(03)00119-2.
  5. ^ a b Everson, K. M.; Soarimalala, V.; Goodman, S. M.; Olson, L. E. (2016). "Multiple Loci and Complete Taxonomic Sampling Resolve the Phylogeny and Biogeographic History of Tenrecs (Mammalia: Tenrecidae) and Reveal Higher Speciation Rates in Madagascar's Humid Forests". Systematic Biology. 65 (5): 890–909. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syw034. PMID 27103169.
  6. ^ Upham, Nathan S.; Esselstyn, Jacob A.; Jetz, Walter (2019). "Inferring the mammal tree: Species-level sets of phylogenies for questions in ecology, evolution and conservation". PLoS Biol. 17 (12). doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000494.

See alsoEdit