Taxonomy of shrew-tenrecs (Microgale spp.) from eastern and central Madagascar



As remaining habitats come under threat from deforestation, there is an urgent need to survey the insectivore fauna of Madagascar. However, within the endemic family Tenrecidae there is uncertainty over the taxonomy of the largest genus, Microgale. The number of species recognized in this genus ranges from 10 to 21.

In the present study, Microgale specimens were obtained by live-trapping in four forests in eastern and central Madagascar. Data on morphology, ecology and behaviour are used to review Microgale taxonomy. It is proposed that M. melanorrhachis, M. longirostris and M. laiva are distinct species, so that a total of 16 species are recognized in the genus. Further trapping is advocated to clarify the situation. The consequences for conservation are discussed