What Are Examples of Insectivores?

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A few examples of insectivores include moles, hedgehogs, moonrots, tenrecs and solenodons. Insectivores are a group of about 450 mammals that eat primarily insects, earthworms and arthropods. Although their name implies that they consume insects, they may also eat plants and other animals, including fish, crustaceans, amphibians, small vertebrates and the eggs of birds.

Insectivores have common physical characteristics that include a long snout, small eyes and small nose. Claws are present on their toes. They are animals with several primitive features. They have small brains and testes that do not descend into a scrotum. Their habitats may be terrestrial or aquatic. Some also burrow, and they do not rely on their sense of vision as much as they do on their abilities to touch and smell, which are important for locating their prey.

In terms of taxonomy, insectivores are grouped into three orders, which include Chrysochloridea, Soricimorpha and Erinaceomorpha. Mammalogists place all three orders into a group known as grandorder Lipotyphla. Each member in grandorder Lipotyphia is classified as either an insectivore or a lipotyphlans. Insectivora is a taxonomic order that is no longer used. Previous classification schemes placed insectivores with elephant shrews and tree shrews. They are thought to be related to hoofed mammals, carnivores and bats.