Position in the Eutherian phylogenetic tree (Murphy et al. 2001)

Order Erinaceomorpha

Common name hedgehogs
# of Genera 7
# of Species 21
Distribution Africa, Eurasia, Southeast Asia

  1. Mouse- to rabbit-sized
  2. Have spines (short ones) - roll into ball if threatened
  3. Omnivorous (skull)
  4. Temperature regulation is heterothermic
  5. Are capable of hibernation ( obligate in some species)

Order Soricomorpha

  1. Talpidae

    Common name moles
    # of Genera 17
    # of Species 42
    Distribution Eurasia, North America

    1. Mouse- or rat-sized
    2. Fossorial
    3. Small eyes, sometimes covered by skin
    4. Long snout
    5. Pinnae reduced or absent
    6. Thick, velvetty fur
    7. Front limbs rotated out to side (digits out) and very robust
    8. Long claws
    9. Keeled sternum
    10. Behavior and ecology

      1) Insectivorous (see skull)
      2) Burrow just under the surface, often leaving ridges
      3) Often considered a pest, but they're really helpful to plant growers because they aerate soil and eat insects that damage plants
    11. Baby star-nosed moles

  1. Solenodontidae

    Common name solenodon
    # of Genera 1
    # of Species 2
    Distribution relict species, only on Cuba and Haiti

    1. Muskrat-sized
    2. Outcompeted by other placentals; no natural predators until domestic dogs and cats
    3. Defensive behavior is to roll in ball but they lack spines...
    4. Submaxillary gland toxin, grooved lower incisors

  1. Soricidae

    Common name shrews
    # of Genera 23
    # of Species 312
    Distribution worldwide except Australia, some of South America and polar regions

    1. Among the smallest of all mammals (2.5-180 grams)
    2. In one subfamily the teeth are pigmented (dark red)
    3. Very high metabolic rate
    4. Ecology and behavior

      1) Terrestrial
      2) Prefer mesic habitat
      3) Solitary, territorial

    1. several species of shrews have venomous saliva

      1) Seems to have effects like a neurotoxin
      2) Venom is produced in and secreted from submaxillary salivary glands near the base of lower incisors
      3) Delivered via grooves in the lower incisors
      4) Probably used to kill prey (mice, frogs)
      5) Shrew delivers bite to nape of neck/base of skull, where venom could rapidly get to central nervous system