Hispaniolan solenodon Solenodon paradoxus, photographed by Eladio Fernandez.

Belongs within: Placentalia.
Contains: Nyctitheriidae, Dormaaliinae, Erinaceomorpha, Soricidae, Talpidae.

The Lipotyphla, or 'insectivores', are a group of small mammals including shrews, hedgehogs, moles and others. It is currently uncertain whether the Afrosoricida (tenrecs and golden moles) should be classified with the Lipotyphla: molecular analyses of modern taxa have strongly indicated they are instead allied to other Africa-derived mammals in a group called the Afrotheria. However, morphological analyses conducted to date such as Wible et al. (2007) persist in recovering a monophyletic Lipotyphla, even if they do recover a clade containing the remaining Afrotheria. Assignation of many fossil taxa is even more problematic. Butler (1988) regarded the placement of the Eocene Dormaaliidae and Palaeocene-Eocene Micropternodontidae as lipotyphlans as doubtful, but they are listed here as basal forms in the absence of suggested alternative placements.

Among the more divergent established lipotyphlans are the Solenodontidae (solenodons), moderately large (about a foot long excluding the tail) insectivores found only on the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. Until recently, the Caribbean islands were also home to the now-extinct species of Nesophontes.

Characters (from Butler 1988): Mobile snout, with enlarged olfactory organs, enlarged infraorbital canal, and reduced eyes. Palatine displaced from lacrimal by maxillar wing and confined to orbital floor; jugal reduced or absent, lower border of orbit formed from maxilla. Pubic symphysis reduced or lost. Caecum lost.

Lipotyphla [Centetoidea, Dormaalioidea, Eulipotyphla, Metacodontidae, Soricoidea, Soricomorpha]
    |  i. s.: Iconapternodus Tong 1997 AM02
    |           `--I. qii Tong 1997 AM02
    |         Ceciliolemur Weigelt 1933 [incl. Microtarsioides Weigelt 1933] S62
    |         Pontifactor B88
    |         Nyctitheriidae B88
    |--Micropternodontidae [Micropternodontinae] B88
    |    |--Prosarcodon lonanensis B88, AM02
    |    |--Micropternodus Matthew 1903 [incl. Kentrogomphios White 1954] AM02
    |    |    |--*M. borealis Matthew 1903 M58 [incl. Kentrogomphios strophensis White 1954 AM02]
    |    |    `--M. morgani AM02
    |    `--Sarcodon Matthew & Granger 1925 V66
    |         `--S. pygmaeus V66
    |--Dormaaliidae [Amphilemuridae] B88
    |    |--Dormaaliinae B88
    |    `--Litocherinae B88
    |         |  i. s.: Cedrocherus B88
    |         |--Litocherus B88
    |         `--+--Litolestes Jepsen 1930 B88, M60
    |            |    |--‘Adapisorex’ dolloi Teilhard de Chardin 1927 M60
    |            |    |--L. ignotus B88
    |            |    `--L. notissimus Simpson 1936 M60
    |            `--Eolestes B88
    `--+--Geolabididae [Geolabidinae] AM02
       |    |--Batodonoides B88
       |    |--Geolabis Cope 1884 [incl. Metacodon Clark 1936] M60
       |    |    |--G. marginalis (Cope 1873) (see below for synonymy) M60
       |    |    `--G. magnus (Clark 1936) [=*Metacodon magnus] M60
       |    |--Myolestes Matthew 1909 M60
       |    |    `--M. dasypelix Matthew 1909 M60
       |    `--Hypacodon McKenna 1960 M60
       |         `--*H. praecursor McKenna 1960 M60
       `--+--Nesophontes Anthony 1916 AM02, M58 [Nesophontidae, Nesophontoidea]
          |    |--*N. edithae Anthony 1916 M58
          |    |--N. hypomicrus Miller 1929 M58
          |    |--N. longirostris Anthony 1919 M58
          |    |--N. micrus Allen 1917 M58
          |    |--N. paramicrus Miller 1929 M58
          |    |--N. submicrus AC98
          |    `--N. zamicrus Miller 1929 M58
          `--+--Apternodus Matthews 1903 [Apternodontidae, Apternodontinae] AM02
             |    |--A. brevirostris Schlaikjer 1934 AM02
             |    |--A. dasophylakas Asher, McKenna et al. 2002 AM02
             |    |--A. iliffensis Galbreath 1953 AM02
             |    |--+--*A. mediaevus Matthew 1903 AM02
             |    |  `--A. baladontus Asher, McKenna et al. 2002 AM02
             |    `--+--A. gregoryi Schlaikjer 1933 AM02
             |       `--A. major Asher, McKenna et al. 2002 AM02
             |--+--Solenodontidae [Solenodontinae, Solenodontini] AM02
             |  |    |--Clinopternodus Clark 1937 [=Clinodon Scott & Jepsen 1936 non Regan 1920] AM02
             |  |    `--Solenodon Brandt 1833 [incl. Atopogale Cabrera 1925] M58
             |  |         |--*S. paradoxus Brandt 1833 [=Sorex (Solenodon) paradoxus] M58
             |  |         |--S. arredondoi Morgan & Ottenwalder 1993 AC98
             |  |         |--S. cubanus Peters 1864 [=*Atopogale cubana] M58
             |  |         `--S. marcanoi BP87
             |  `--Palaeoryctidae [Palaeoryctae, Palaeoryctinae] FN03
             |       |--Alveugena carbonensis Eberle 1999 FN03
             |       |--Pararyctes Van Valen 1966 V66
             |       |    |--*P. pattersoni Van Valen 1966 V66
             |       |    `--P. rutherfordi Scott, Fox & Youzwyshyn 2002 SFY02
             |       |--Eoryctes Thewissen & Gingerich 1989 AM02
             |       |    `--E. melanus WR07
             |       |--Procerberus Sloan & van Valen 1965 FN03
             |       |    `--P. formicarum Sloan & van Valen 1965 FN03
             |       `--Palaeoryctes Matthew 1913 M58
             |            |--*P. puercensis Matthew 1913 M58
             |            `--P. punctatus Van Valen 1966 V66
             `--Erinaceota B88
                  |--Erinaceomorpha WR07
                  `--+--Oligoryctes Hough 1956 [Oligoryctidae] AM02
                     |    |--*O. cameronensis Hough 1956 AM02
                     |    `--O. altitalonidus (Clark 1937) [=Apternodus altitalonidus] AM02
                     `--+--Parapternodontidae AM02
                        |    |--Parapternodus Brown & Schankler 1982 AM02
                        |    |    `--*P. antiquus Brown & Schankler 1982 AM02
                        |    `--Koniaryctes Robinson & Kron 1998 AM02
                        |         `--*K. paulus Robinson & Kron 1998 AM02
                        `--+--Soricidae AM02
                           |--+--Talpidae B88
                           |  |--Dimylidae B88
                           |  `--Proscalopidae B88
                           `--Plesiosoricidae B88
                                |--Butselia B88
                                |--Plesiosorex B88
                                |    |--P. germanicus M60
                                |    `--P. soricinoides M60
                                `--Pakilestes B88

Nomen nudum: Procerberus grandis Middleton 1983 FN03

Geolabis marginalis (Cope 1873) [=Herpetotherium marginale, Embassis marginalis; incl. Metacodon mellingeri Patterson & McGrew 1937, *Geolabis rhynchaeus Cope 1884] M60

*Type species of generic name indicated


[AC98] Alcover, J. A., X. Campillo, M. Macias & A. Sans. 1998. Mammal species of the world: additional data on insular mammals. American Museum Novitates 3248: 1-29.

[AM02] Asher, R. J., M. C. McKenna, R. J. Emry, A. R. Tabrum & D. G. Kron. 2002. Morphology and relationships of Apternodus and other extinct, zalambdodont, placental mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 273: 1-117.

[BP87] Burton, J. A., & B. Pearson. 1987. Collins Guide to the Rare Mammals of the World. Collins: London.

[B88] Butler, P. M. 1988. Phylogeny of the insectivores. In The Phylogeny and Classification of the Tetrapods, vol. 2. Mammals (M. J. Benton, ed.) pp. 117-141. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

[FN03] Fox, R. C., & B. G. Naylor. 2003. A Late Cretaceous taeniodont (Eutheria, Mammalia) from Alberta, Canada. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie – Abhandlungen 229 (3): 393-420.

[M58] McDowell, S. B., Jr. 1958. The Greater Antillean insectivores. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 115 (3): 113-214.

[M60] McKenna, M. C. 1960. The Geolabidinae: a new subfamily of early Cenozoic erinaceoid insectivores. University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 37 (2): 131-164.

[SFY02] Scott, C. S., R. C. Fox & G. P. Youzwyshyn. 2002. New earliest Tiffanian (late Paleocene) mammals from Cochrane 2, southwestern Alberta, Canada. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 47: 691-704.

[S62] Simons, E. L. 1962. A new Eocene primate genus, Cantius, and a revision of some allied European lemuroids. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History): Geology 7 (1): 1-36.

[V66] Van Valen, L. 1966. Deltatheridia, a new order of mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 132 (1): 1-126.

[WR07] Wible, J. R., G. W. Rougier, M. J. Novacek & R. J. Asher. 2007. Cretaceous eutherians and Laurasian origin for placental mammals near the K/T boundary. Nature 447: 1003-1006.

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