In a comparison of basic reproductive variables (number of teats, litter size, and duration of pregnancy) in the Madagascan Tenrecinae, some striking features (hyperthelia, litter size) are observed in Tenrec ecaudatus Lacépède, 1799 and the genus Hemicentetes Mivart, 1871. These variations are compared to Setifer setosus Froriep, 1806 and Echinops telfairi Martin, 1838. Tenrec ecaudatus gives birth to litters at intervals shorter than what was once believed to be the duration of pregnancy. This could be due either to superfetation, or to giving birth to one litter in two or more installments. The longitudinal stripe pattern of the genus Hemicentetes is interpreted as a mimicry of the sympatric, equally striped, juvenile Tenrec ecaudatus. The latter species protects its young with attending defensive-aggressive parents. The reproductive strategies of the Tenrecinae are discussed.

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Contributions to Zoology

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Naturalis journals & series

Poduschka, Walter. (1996). Hyperthelie, Wurfgröße und Trächtigkeitsdauer bei der Unterfamilie Tenrecinae Cabrera, 1925 (Mammalia: Insectivora: Tenrecidae), nebst Bemerkungen zur Längsstreifung der Gattung Hemicentetes. Contributions to Zoology, 66(2), 119–128.