Family: Tenrecidae - Tenrecs
Order: Afrosoricida - Tenrecs and Golden Moles
Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates
Red List status: Least Concern
Length: 130 - 190 mm
Weight: 90 - 220 g
Native only to Madagascar's eastern rainforest belt, occurring from as far south as Tolagnaro (Fort Dauphin) to Marojejy National Park. An apparently isolated population occurs at the northern tip of the island.
A moderately small, distinctive species of spiny tenrec, identifiable by the alternating stripes of yellow and black running down the back, a bright yellow crest of spines over the top of the head (which serves an antipredator function), and the long pointed snout. A yellow band extends from the forehead down the snout.
Similar species: The lowland streaked tenrec is more spiny than either the highland streaked tenrec, which it closely resembles, or the common tenrec, whose young may bear similar patterning. The highland streaked tenrec exhibits whitish, rather than yellow, colouration, and there is no band along the top of the snout. This species has cream underparts; those of the lowland streaked tenrec are brown. Adults are smaller than common tenrecs, and the young of that species have cream spines.
Rainforests at low and mid-elevations; however, the species is reportedly also common in gardens and agricultural land, and can be abundant even in urban areas.
Elevation: 0-1,500 m
A fully terrestrial species of the forest floor, the lowland streaked tenrec is a specialist feeder on soft-bodied leaf litter invertebrates, including earthworms. The species is active both by day and night, and nest in fixed burrows which are commonly located near water. Latrine sites are situated near the nest entrance, which may be covered by leaves. Social groups may excavate complex interconnected burrow systems.
Social behaviour is complex, with groups consisting of over 20 related individuals, mostly the year's young accompanying four or fewer adults. Animals may forage alone or in small subgroups, and maintain contact with other group members by stridulating specialised quills.
Lowland streaked tenrecs do not go into true hibernation, but lower their body temperature and become inactive in response to adverse conditions; typically this coincides with the dry season, when temperature and food availability are at their lowest.
Reproductive biology: Young are born after a rapid gestation period of up to 63 days, usually 45-55, with up to eleven young being born in a litter (rarely fewer than five).
Life cycle: Animals grow very rapidly, reaching sexual maturity within 35 days. This allows the species to produce several litters in a single breeding season.
Garbutt, N. (1999) Mammals of Madagascar. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK. 320pp
IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.. Downloaded on 07 October 2008
Shefferly, N. 1999. "Hemicentetes semispinosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed October 07, 2008