|Common Name||Etendaka Round-eared Sengi and Etendaka Round-eared Elephant Shrew|
|Range||Etendeka formation of north-west Namibia.|
The Etendaka round-eared sengi, (Macroscelides micus), also known as the Etendaka round-eared elephant shrew, is a species of elephant shrew]] in the family Macroscelididae. It is only found in gravel plains in the Etendeka formation of north-west Namibia. Measuring about 7.3 inches (19 cm) long and weighing less than an ounce (28 grams), the species is the smallest in the elephant shrew family.
The Etendaka round-eared elephant shrew is the smallest known elephant shrew. Its body shape resembles that of a long-nosed mouse. However, as a member of the superorder Afrotheria, it is actually more closely related to elephants and manatees than mice. It has pink skin and red fur which helps it camouflage itself against the volcanic rocks of its environment. It weighs less than one ounce (28 grams) and is 7.3 inches (19 cm) long, including the tail, when fully grown. Etendaka round-eared elephant shrews has a long, thin legs relative to its body.
Etendaka round-eared elephant shrews does not burrow, instead sleeping in bushes. It uses its long nose to hunt for ground insects. Some elephant shrew species are known to be monogamous and mate for life. It is unknown if this is the case for the shrew. The young of Etendaka round-eared elephant shrew's which are often born as twins, are capable of running from birth.
Discovery and Identification
The Etendaka round-eared elephant shrew was first spotted as an unusual sample (collected in 2006) among a collection of elephant shrews stored at the California Academy of Sciences, its red fur distinguishing it from other specimens. Genetic testing suggested it was a distinct species, but additional evidence was needed to confirm the finding. Dumbacher et al. traveled to the Namib Desert nine times over a number of years where they set traps baited with peanut butter, oats, and Marmite. A total of 21 elephant shrew specimens were obtained, 15 of which belonged to the new species.
In 2014, Dumbacher et al. formally described the Etendaka round-eared elephant shrew as a new species. The specific name comes from the Greek mikros, meaning small. The "Etendeka" in the common name is the native word for the mountain range where the shrew lives. The scientific team speculated the species had not previously been identified because it has a small range in a remote area that is hard to reach.
The Etendaka round-eared elephant shrew is a sympatric with the Namib round-eared elephant shrew, but remains physically and genetically distinguishable from it. The study which first identified M. micus did not find evidence of gene flow or interbreeding between the populations. Additionally, the species live in different habitats. Etendaka round-eared elephant is found among the gravel at the bases of hills and mountains in low-lying areas of the Etendeka geological formation; Namib round-eared elephant shrew is found among sedimentary deposits in the Awahab Outliers and river valleys.