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insectivore(ĭnsĕk`təvōr'), term broadly given to any insect-eating animal or plant. The term also refers to mammals of the former order Insectivora, in which was included the shrewshrew,
common name for the small, insectivorous mammals of the family Soricidae, related to the moles. Shrews include the smallest mammals; the smallest shrews are under 2 in. (5.1 cm) long, excluding the tail, and the largest are about 6 in. (15 cm) long.
..... Click the link for more information. , molemole,
in zoology, common name for the small, burrowing, insectivorous mammals of the family Talpidae, found throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere. Moles are trapped as pests, although they probably do less damage than the animals they destroy, and for their fur, which is
..... Click the link for more information. , hedgehoghedgehog,
Old World insectivorous mammal of the family Erinaceidae.
The spiny hedgehogs are found in Africa and Eurasia, except SE Asia. They have rounded bodies up to 13 in.
..... Click the link for more information. , tenrectenrec
, any of the small insectivorous mammals of the family Tenrecidae, also called tendrecs or tanrecs. These animals are found on the island of Madagascar. In that closed environment they have evolved diverse forms, filling various ecological niches occupied by other small
..... Click the link for more information. , and solenodonsolenodon
, venomous insectivorous mammal, genus Solenodon, found in the West Indies. Related to moles and shrews, the solenodon resembles a rat with an elongated snout and coarse, shaggy fur. Its body is about 14 in. (36 cm) long, and its naked, scaly tail c.9 in.
..... Click the link for more information. . Members of this group, which were thought to be closely related to the earliest placental mammals, are small animals, ranging from 2 to 16 in. (5–40 cm) in length; they are generally quite active, are generally nocturnal, and feed on a variety of small animals, particularly worms and insects. The other groups of placental mammals, including the primates, the order to which humans belong, were considered to have evolved as radiations from a primitive insectivore stock; the tenrecs, for example, have certain anatomical features in common with the more primitive marsupialsmarsupial
, member of the order Marsupialia, or pouched mammals. With the exception of the New World opossums and an obscure S American family (Caenolestidae), marsupials are now found only in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, and a few adjacent islands.
..... Click the link for more information. , or pouched mammals. Those former insectivores that were not reclassified in another order are now included in the orders Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs) and Soricomorpha (shrews, moles, and solenodons).
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1. any placental mammal of the order Insectivora, being typically small, with simple teeth, and feeding on invertebrates. The group includes shrews, moles, and hedgehogs
2. any animal or plant that derives nourishment from insects
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005