Rufous elephant shrew

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Rufous elephant shrew[1]
Elephantulus rufescens Peters 1878.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Macroscelidea
Family: Macroscelididae
Genus: Elephantulus
Species: E. rufescens
Binomial name
Elephantulus rufescens
(Peters, 1878)
Rufous Elephant Shrew area.png
Rufous elephant shrew range

The rufous elephant shrew, rufous sengi or East African long-eared elephant-shrew (Elephantulus rufescens) is a species of elephant shrew in the family Macroscelididae. Found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda,[2] its natural habitats are dry savanna and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland.[2]

Distribution[edit]

Elephantulus rufescens occupies the drywood land and grassland zone of East Africa.[3]

Characteristics[edit]

E. rufescens exhibits no sexual dimorphism. The probosis is long and flexible. The species' tails are dark-brown and can be long up to the its head-to-tail length.Both adults and juveniles are similar in color. The dorsal fur is of fine texture and the coloring is brown, reddish-brown in color, or buff while the ventral fur coloring is white. The coloration of the dorsal fur is influenced by the color of the soil in which the E. rufescens lives. [4]However, adults have white feet while juveniles' feet are brown. The large eye is surrounded by a white ring which is interrupted by a dark patch which extended towards the rear of the animal. The ears are large and without fur. A sternal gland is present on both males and females. The sternal gland is indicated by short, fringed white hairs. Females have three pair of teats and the males have internal testes. [5]

Ecology, diet, and behavior[edit]

Rufous elephant shrews are active throughout the day, with peaks in activity at dusk and dawn while having a midday rest. A mating male and female will build trails beneath leaf litter. The trails act as shelter and protection because the rufous elephant shrew does not build or use shelters or burrows. Throughout the trails are several rest spots for scent-marking and sunbathing.[6] Moving the forefoot laterally to push aside leaf litter and other loose debris, E. rufescens constructs and maintains trails.[7]The males usually spend most of their time cleaning the foraging trails. Except for foraging, all activities are performed in these trails. Trails act as an important means for escaping from predators. Insects form the major food resource of their diet in the dry season, while seeds are consumed during periods of rain.[3]

E. rufescens has not been observed sleeping with closed eyes, but has been observed resting with eyespartially closed for a period of 1 – 2 minutes. During these rest periods, which occur in rest spot along the trails, E. rufescens keeps their feet under their body to allow for a quick escape. This species takes flight when even the smallest noise is heard.[8]

This species is fairly monogamous; however, members of a monogamous pair spend little time together and are limited in social interaction. They live in a matriarchal society in which the female of the pair usually dominates the male. [9]

The Rufous elephant shrew gives birth to one or two precocial young per litter. The female gives birth at the base of bushes or by fallen tree limbs beside the trails. She does not stay will the neonates and only nurses them in infrequently and for only a short amount of time. The neonates remain in the parental trails, expanding their familiarity of the parental territory up to 14 days after birth. If the young wander into any neighboring rufous elephant shrew trails, the residing residents chase them out of their trails. Before the next litter is born, parents chase the previous litter for the trails resulting in dispersal or death of the previous litter.[10]

Olfactory communication between young E. rufescens and their parents is achieved through aprocrine glands (pedal glands) located on the bottoms of the young’s feet. Neonates less than five days old have been observed back-rubbing one of its parents. Parents crouch down, allowing the neonates to climb on their backs and vigorously rub their four feet in the fur in a rapid vibrating motion. Cooperation between the neonates and adults is necessary or the neonates will fall off. The act of back-rubbing allows neonates to deposit pedal gland products on the fur of the parents and in turn transfer parental odors to their own fur. The mixture of the scents creates a family odor that can be used for recognizing family members.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bronner, G.N.; Jenkins, P.D. (2005). "Order Afrosoricida". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b c Rathbun, G.B. (2015). "Elephantulus rufescens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T42664A21289073. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T42664A21289073.en. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Neal, B. R. "Relationship between feeding habits, climate and reproduction of small mammals in Meru National Park, Kenya". African Journal of Ecology. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1984.tb00695.x. Retrieved December 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ Koontz, F. W.; Roeper, N. J. (15 December 1983). "Elephantulus rufescens" (PDF). The American Society of Mammalogists (204): 1–5. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  5. ^ Fred W. Koontz & Nancy J. Koeper. "Elephantulus rufescens". The American Society of Mammalogists. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ Rathbun, G. B.; Redford, K. (20 August 1981). "Pedal Scent-Marking in the Rufous Elephant-Shrew, Elephantulus rufescens". Journal of Mammalogy. 62 (3): 635–637. doi:10.2307/1380414. ISSN 1545-1542. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  7. ^ Koontz, F. W.; Roeper, N. J. (15 December 1983). "Elephantulus rufescens" (PDF). The American Society of Mammalogists (204): 1–5. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  8. ^ Koontz, F. W.; Roeper, N. J. (15 December 1983). "Elephantulus rufescens" (PDF). The American Society of Mammalogists (204): 1–5. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  9. ^ Lumpkin, Susan & Fred W. Koontz. "Social and Sexual Behavior of the Rufous Elephant-Shrew (Elephantulus rufescens) in Captivity". JSTOR 1381007. 
  10. ^ Rathbun, G. B.; Redford, K. (20 August 1981). "Pedal Scent-Marking in the Rufous Elephant-Shrew, Elephantulus rufescens". Journal of Mammalogy. 62 (3): 635–637. doi:10.2307/1380414. ISSN 1545-1542. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  11. ^ Rathbun, G. B.; Redford, K. (20 August 1981). "Pedal Scent-Marking in the Rufous Elephant-Shrew, Elephantulus rufescens". Journal of Mammalogy. 62 (3): 635–637. doi:10.2307/1380414. ISSN 1545-1542. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 

External links[edit]