Chaitanya's Random Pages

May 1, 2011

Shrews and Moles

Filed under: nature — ckrao @ 5:54 am

Shrews and moles are both small insectivorous mammals and may look alike, but according to at least one study they diverged on the evolutionary tree at least 80 million years ago. Moles live in underground tunnels, so have enlarged forefeet with long claws and webbing designed for burrowing, while shrews are mostly on the ground in a wide range of habitats, have small feet like mice, and may make tunnels through leaf litter at best. Shrews have hair on their snout while moles do not. Moles are generally larger than shrews too.

There are many life forms with the word shrew or mole in them!

shrew  any of 376 species in the family Soricidae
treeshrew  any of 20 species in the order Scandentia, found in the tropical forests of SE Asia, more closely related to primates than rodents or shrews
elephant shrew  any of 17 insectivorous species in the order Macroscelidea found in Africa, characterised by their long snout
otter shrew  any of 3 species in Afrosoricida (the order also containing tenrecs and golden moles) -> Tenrecidae -> Potamogalinae, found in subsaharan Africa
West Indies shrew  any of 6-12 now-extinct species of the family Nesophontidae
shrew mouse  either another name for shrew, or one of various rodents thought to resemble shrews
shrew opossum  any of 6 marsupial species of the order Paucituberculata living in the Andes mountains
shrew mole  any of 7 species of mole that resemble shrews
mole shrew  any of 6 species of shrew that resemble moles!
shrew gymnure or shrew hedgehog  single species of gymnure found in China, Myanmar and Vietnam
shrew rat  any of several species of rodents found in Sulawesi (Indonesia) and the Philippines
shrew tenrec  any of 22 species of the genus Microgale (including the interestingly named shrew-toothed shrew tenrec!)
shrew-faced squirrel  also known as the long-nosed squirrel, a single species found in SE Asia
shrewish short-tailed opossum  also known as the Southern Red-sided Opossum, a single species of opossum (not shrew opossum!), found in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay
shrewlike rat  any of 4 species of the rat genus Rynchomys, found only on the island of Luzon (Philippines), also known as tweezer-beaked rats
mole  most of the mammals of the family Talpidae (42 out of 44 species), including 7 shrew mole species mentioned above
golden mole  any of 21 species of the family Chrysochloridae, from Southern Africa
marsupial mole  any of 2 species of the order Notoryctemorphia from Western Australia, very similar in appearance to golden moles as an example of convergent evolution
mole-rat  one of various burrowing rodents from several groups
mole crab  also known as sand crabs, any member of Hippoidea, a super-family of crabs
mole cricket  any member of the cricket family Gryllotalpidae
Mexican mole lizard  also known as the five-toed worm lizard or Ajolote lizard, one of four amphisbaenians (worm lizards) to have legs
mole lobster  also known as a furry lobster, any member of the family Synaxidae (3 species)
mole plant  a species of spurge from southern Europe and north Africa through to western China
mole salamander  any of 32 species of North American salamanders of the family Ambystomatidae
mole snake  the single species of snake Pseudaspis cana
mole viper  any of 66 species of snake in the family Atractaspididae

Reference:

eHow.com – Difference Between a Mole and a Shrew

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