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... The sole member of the subfamily Geogalinae, Geogale aurita, has previously been placed ancestral to the other tenrec clades (Olson and Goodman 2003), and for this reason has been interpreted as exhibiting markedly conservative brain characters (e.g., Stephan et al. 1991). Despite its diminutive size, G. aurita occupies a distinct region of the unadjusted morphospace along the minimum extreme of PC1 and exhibits on the whole a far more elongate endocast than the comparably sized oryzorictines. ...
... The sole member of the subfamily Geogalinae, Geogale aurita, has previously been placed ancestral to the other tenrec clades (Olson and Goodman 2003), and for this reason has been interpreted as exhibiting markedly conservative brain characters (e.g., Stephan et al. 1991). Despite its diminutive size, G. aurita occupies a distinct region of the unadjusted morphospace along the minimum extreme of PC1 and exhibits on the whole a far more elongate endocast than the comparably sized oryzorictines. ...
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It has long been recognized that, among extant mammals, the afrotherian clade Tenrecomorpha contains an exceptional range of sensory specialists in which arboreal, fossorial, semiaquatic and possibly even echolocating species occur within a single clade. Despite their obvious interest in this regard, the sensory apparatus of these animals has not been investigated with modern techniques. Presented here is a geometric morphometric analysis of virtual endocasts of 24 tenrecomorph species (~ 69% of extant diversity) reconstructed via high-resolution uCT techniques. Utilizing linear regression and PCA analyses we identify a model including allometry, habitat, and evolutionary history as the main factors underlying shape variability. Distinct clusters in the tenrecomorph morphospace correspond to shifts within the olfactory and cortical regions of the brain, which covary with independent evolution of aquatic and fossorial behaviors. These results showcase remarkable instances of sensory convergence within the clade and provide a template for inter- and intra-clade analyses of this distinctive branch of the mammal tree.
... For mammals, a group thought to be fairly adept at overwater dispersal, only four extant native terrestrial lineages are represented : the nesomyine rodents (subfamily Nesomyinae), carnivores (family Eupleridae), lemurs (superfamily Lemuroidea), and tenrecs (family Tenrecidae). Each of these lineages was established by single colonization events and subsequent in situ diversification (Yoder et al., 1996, Yoder et al., 2003, Olson and Goodman, 2003, Poux et al., 2005. Today there are 27 recognized extant native species of rodents, seven species of carnivores, over 100 species of lemurs, and 31 species of ...
... separate single-colonization events and showing 100% endemism (Olson and Goodman 2003;Poux et al. 2005;Everson et al. 2016). Understanding what factors influence the distribution of Malagasy small mammals is important as these animals are seed dispersers or seed predators (Soarimalala and Goodman 2011;Dammhahn et al. 2013), predators of invertebrate pest species (Peveling et al. 2003), prey for a variety of native predators (Karpanty and Goodman 1999;Goodman 2012), and components of the local bushmeat trade (Golden 2009;Jenkins et al. 2011;Gardner and Davies 2014). ...
... Dispersal from Continental Africa to Madagascar has been suggested for various vertebrate taxa (see e.g. Olson & Goodman 2003;Vences et al. 2003Vences et al. , 2004Poux et al. 2005;Yoder & Nowak 2006), and the biogeography of the genus Lygodactylus, with two distinct dispersal events, respectively, from Madagascar and Continental Africa, shows interesting similarities with the complex dispersal routes of other Malagasy squamate taxa (see Rocha et al. 2007Rocha et al. , 2009. ...
We performed a phylogenetic analysis using nuclear (RAG-1, RAG-2) and mitochondrial (16S) markers, a statistical Bayesian reconstruction of ancestral distribution areas and a karyological analysis on most Malagasy species of the gekkonid genus Lygodactylus. The phylogenetic analysis largely confirms major basal branching pattern of previous molecular studies, but highlights significant differences concerning both the relationships between different species groups as well as those within groups. The biogeographic analysis supports a Malagasy origin of Lygodactylus, an oversea dispersal to continental Africa and a return to Madagascar. The L. madagascariensis group (also including a new candidate species identified herein) is the most basal clade in Lygodactylus, and the sister group of a clade with all the remaining species. The second most basal clade is the L. verticillatus group, placed as the sister group of a clade comprising African and Malagasy species. The sister lineage of the L. verticillatus group originated the African radiation through an oversea dispersal out of Madagascar. Eventually, the sister lineage of the L. capensis group originated secondary dispersals from Africa to Madagascar. In Madagascar, lineage diversification in different species groups mainly occurred from southern to northern and eastern regions. Dispersal, vicariance and paleoclimatic refugia probably played a relevant role in the evolutionary history of closely related taxa and in speciation mechanisms. The cytogenetic analysis evidenced a high karyotypic variability in Lygodactylus (from 2n = 34 to 2n = 40), which is at least partly consistent with the phylogenetic relationships and the composition of the various species group. Chromosome evolution occurred independently in different lineages, mainly through a reduction in the chromosome number and starting from a putative primitive karyotype of 2n = 40 with all telocentric elements.
... Despite primates' and rodents' relative success at overwater dispersal, a number of molecular phylogenetic analyses that have been carried out over the last decade have nevertheless provided strong support for the hypothesis that successful dispersal events such as these are probably exceedingly rare, and that the evolutionary dynamics of colonization can produce monophyletic radiations that are otherwise not easily detectable using morphological data alone (either due to morphological evolutionary inertia or rampant morphological convergence with distantly related taxa on other landmasses). Molecular approaches have, for instance, demonstrated that the Malagasy strepsirrhines are unambiguously monophyletic (Porter et al., 1995Porter et al., , 1997 Yoder et al., 1996; Yoder, 1997; Roos et al., 2004), despite previous claims to the contrary (Szalay and Katz, 1973; Cartmill, 1975; Schwartz and Tattersall, 1985), and have also detected a number of other monophyletic mammalian radiations, such as the immigrant carnivorans (Yoder et al., 2003) and tenrecs (Olson and Goodman, 2003) that now coexist with lemurs in Madagascar. Each of these Malagasy radiations were apparently allowed for by similarly unlikely colonization events. ...
... Molecular phylogenies suggest that in many genera, and some families and orders, of plants and animals, many, sometimes all, of Madagascar's species belong to a single adaptive radiation (Table III). Such phylogenies suggest, for example, that in each of Madagascar's four major extant orders of native mammals, the surviving species all belong to an adaptive radiation deriving from a single successful colonization (Yoder, 2003;Yoder & Flynn, 2003;Olson & Goodman, 2003;Poux et al., 2005). Lemurs, which all descend from a common ancestor that colonized Madagascar about 65 million years ago (Yoder & Zang, 2004), comprise one of Madagascar's most striking radiations. ...
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We compare selected aspects of the biotas of long-isolated islands ranging in size from Réunion to early Pliocene South America, focusing on Madagascar, New Zealand, New Caledonia and the Hawaiian Islands. Although Madagascar and New Zealand were joined to larger land masses less than 90 million years ago, their biotas are overwhelmingly dominated by descendants of colonists from overseas. The size of a long-isolated land mass decisively infl uences major features of its ecosystem. On smaller islands, extinction is more likely, colonization is rarer, and there are fewer opportunities for diversifi cation. The largest herbivores and the largest carnivores are smaller on smaller islands. Reduced diversity, lower predation pressure and diminished evolutionary innovation reduce the severity of competition on smaller islands: their plants are less well defended against vertebrate herbivores, and their primary productivity is lower, while their animals are longer-lived, less fecund, and have lower basal metabolism than mainland ecological counterparts. Herbivores are most likely to evolve convergently with counterparts on other land masses with predators of similar size and/or effi ciency. Thus sloth lemurs converged on tree sloths, Megaladapis on koalas, and moa-nalos on moas and elephant birds. The degree of an island's isolation also affects its ecosystem's characteristics. More isolated islands receive fewer immigrants, so diversity is lower on more isolated islands, especially small islands with high risks of extinction. Fewer mainland immigrants, whose effi ciency was tested against a variety of competitors and well-defended prey, reach more isolated islands, so competition is less intense on these islands, and these islands' predators are less effi cient. Smaller size and greater isolation therefore make a land mass more invasible. Islands with the fewest predators and the slowest pace of life are most likely to be catastrophically disrupted by mainland invaders. All these phenomena have analogues in human economies. As a rule, economies with higher total production support more intense competition, more innovation, a greater diversity of occupations, a faster pace of life, and greater productivity per capita.
... The family is comprised of 34 species, 31 of which are endemic to Madagascar (Olson, 2013). Body masses of tenrecs span three orders of magnitude (2.5 to >2,000 g): a greater range than all other families, and most orders, of living mammals (Olson & Goodman, 2003). Within this vast size range there are tenrecs which resemble shrews (Microgale tenrecs), moles (Oryzorictes tenrecs) and hedgehogs (Echinops and Setifer tenrecs, Eisenberg & Gould, 1969). ...
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It is important to quantify patterns of morphological diversity to enhance our understanding of variation in ecological and evolutionary traits. Here, we present a quantitative analysis of morphological diversity in a family of small mammals, the tenrecs (Afrosoricida, Tenrecidae). Tenrecs are often cited as an example of an exceptionally morphologically diverse group. However, this assumption has not been tested quantitatively. We use geometric morphometric analyses of skull shape to test whether tenrecs are more morphologically diverse than their closest relatives, the golden moles (Afrosoricida, Chrysochloridae). Tenrecs occupy a wider range of ecological niches than golden moles so we predict that they will be more morphologically diverse. Contrary to our expectations, we find that tenrec skulls are only more morphologically diverse than golden moles when measured in lateral view. Furthermore, similarities among the species-rich Microgale tenrec genus appear to mask higher morphological diversity in the rest of the family. These results reveal new insights into the morphological diversity of tenrecs and highlight the importance of using quantitative methods to test qualitative assumptions about patterns of morphological diversity.
The avifauna of Madagascar presents a complicated taxonomic and biogeographic problem. Although Madagascar was once connected to Africa, the birds of the island are not all of African origin. The Madagascar Pygmy Kingfisher (Ispidina madagascariensis) is sometimes placed in the African genus Ispidina and sometimes in the Southeast Asian genus Ceyx. We sequenced 755 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA from a fragment of the NADH dehydrogenase subunit II (ND2) and from the complete NADH dehydrogenase subunit III (ND3). We used these data to construct phylogenetic hypotheses for the Alcedinidae. Using these phylogenies, we evaluate previous hypotheses of relationships of I. madagascariensis. Although we cannot reject the hypothesis that I. madagascariensis is indeed a member of Ispidina, tree-building analyses support a relationship not with Ispidina or Ceyx, but instead with members of the African genus Corythornis. These data suggest that certain behaviors and plumage types have evolved several times in the Alcedinidae. Relations Phylogénétiques de Ispidina madagascariensis
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The mammal family Tenrecidae (Afrotheria: Afrosoricida) is endemic to Madagascar. Here we present the conservation priorities for the 31 species of tenrec that were assessed or reassessed in 2015–2016 for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Six species (19.4%) were found to be threatened (4 Vulnerable, 2 Endangered) and one species was categorized as Data Deficient. The primary threat to tenrecs is habitat loss, mostly as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture, but some species are also threatened by hunting and incidental capture in fishing traps. In the longer term, climate change is expected to alter tenrec habitats and ranges. However, the lack of data for most tenrecs on population size, ecology and distribution, together with frequent changes in taxonomy (with many cryptic species being discovered based on genetic analyses) and the poorly understood impact of bushmeat hunting on spiny species (Tenrecinae), hinders conservation planning. Priority conservation actions are presented for Madagascar's tenrecs for the first time since 1990 and focus on conserving forest habitat (especially through improved management of protected areas) and filling essential knowledge gaps. Tenrec research, monitoring and conservation should be integrated into broader sustainable development objectives and programmes targeting higher profile species, such as lemurs, if we are to see an improvement in the conservation status of tenrecs in the near future.
In a review written some 11 and published 9 years ago, I attempted to summarize the literature concerning mammalian social behavior and then proceeded to discuss two major issues: (1) the relationship of social structure to the species’ habitat and economy, and (2) the influence of evolutionary history on the form of social organization displayed (Eisenberg, 1966). The almost exponential increase of information during the last decade concerning mammalian social behavior and ecology, as well as the founding of social ecology as a subdiscipline (Crook, 1970), have rendered my earlier review out of date. My co-workers and I have recently attempted two reviews, one for primates, the other for selected carnivores (Eisenberg et al., 1972; Kleiman and Eisenberg, 1973). The problems of correlation and reconstruction remain as challenging as ever.