Temporal range: Early Miocene–Recent
The order Afrosoricida (a Latin-Greek compound name which means "looking like African shrews") contains the golden moles of southern Africa and the tenrecs of Madagascar and Africa, two families of small mammals that have traditionally been considered to be a part of the order Insectivora.
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.
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; however there is no strong morphological evidence to link the Afrosoricida together with other Afrotherians. The Afrosoricida are sometimes considered part of the Afroinsectiphilia, a clade within Afrotheria.
As a rule, tenrecs 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.
- INFRACLASS EUTHERIA: placental mammals
- Superorder Afrotheria
- Clade Afroinsectiphilia
- Clade Paenungulata
- (Other superorders, not listed here)
- Superorder Afrotheria
|This article is part of Project Mammal Orders, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each mammal order, including made-up orders.|
|This article is part of Project Mammal Taxonomy, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every order, family and other taxonomic rank related to mammals.|
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