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Tenrec Species Profile:

Least Shrew Tenrec (Microgale pusilla) Major, 1896

by David G. Kupitz, Bünde, Germany. Published March 28, 2020. Updated April 11, 2020.

Least Shrew Tenrec (Microgale pusilla) - Tsinjoarivo - Madagascar - Copyright Harald Schütz
Least Shrew Tenrec (Microgale pusilla) - Tsinjoarivo - Madagascar - Copyright Harald Schütz


Family: Tenrecidae Tenrecs

        Subfamily: Oryzorictinae

Furred Tenrecs

              Genus: Microgale

Shrew Tenrecs

                    Species: Microgale pusilla

Least Shrew Tenrec

Other English name: Lesser Shrew Tenrec
Malagasy name: none known

The species is characterised by its very small size and relatively long tail. Head-body length is 47 to 56 mm, which is shorter than its tail length of 65 to 77 mm. Weight is 2.5 to 4 g. The dorsal fur is reddish buffy-brown and grizzled while the ventral fur is grey-brown, with an abrupt and noticeable transition between the dorsal and ventral colourations. The back paws are brownish but the lateral part is tawny. The tail is dark grey-brown on the dorsal side and distinct from the ventral portion which is slightly paler (tawny).

Similar species
Similar to Microgale longicaudata, which has a tail that is more than double its head-body length, but in M. pusilla, the tail length is only slightly longer than its head-body length. Its small size is similar to M. parvula, but M. pusilla is lighter in colour.

Behaviour and Natural History
The species forages on the ground and in the lower branches of undergrowth. No other details are known.

No details are known.


Microgale pusilla range map
Range of Microgale pusilla. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, species assessors and the authors of the spatial data. / CC BY-SA (

The distribution of Microgale pusilla is known from a variety of localities within the eastern rainforest belt and on the central plateau (e. g. central forests of Ambohitantely and Ankazomivady, central-eastern forests like the Mantadia-Zahamena region up to the Andringitra mountains). The species is known from 530 to 1,670 m of altitude. According to Garbutt (1999), records also exist from forest remnants on the Mahafaly plateau in south-west Madagascar (not shown in distribution map).

Microgale pusilla occurs in intact or disturbed evergreen rainforests, ranging from low altitudes to mountain rainforest. Occasionally it is recorded near paddies and in swampy areas close to forests. Its remains have been found in Barn Owl (Tyto alba) pellets close to Antananarivo in highly modified habitats including anthropogenic grasslands.

Conservation Status
Classified as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN. It is relatively common in suitable habitat. The ability of this species to live outside forests suggests it may not be declining as much as other species of Microgale. It has been recorded from at least three protected areas: Ambohitantely, Analamazaotra and Mantadia.


GARBUTT, N. (1999): Mammals of Madagascar. Yale University Press, New Haven and London. 320 pages. ISBN 1-300-07751-3.

SOARIMALALA, V. & GOODMAN, S. M. (2011): Les petits mammifères de Madagascar - Guide de leur distribution, biologie et identification. Association Vahatra, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 176 pages. ISBN 978-2-9538923-1-4.

STEPHENSON, P. J., SOARIMALALA, V. & GOODMAN, S. (2016): Microgale pusilla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41314A97201685. Downloaded on 28 March 2020.

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