Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous – Recent
The Eulipotyphyla is an order of mammals. It was formed from those insectivorous mammals which are monophyletic, a single clade. The old order Insectivora is now abandoned because it was polyphyletic. The new order Eulipotyphla has been shown to be monophyletic.
The term insectivore (insect eater) can still be used to describe lifestyle. It explains the food habits of this and some other groups of mammals.
Although moles and shrews are not all strictly insectivorous, insects and other small animal life make up the main food of most members of the group. Some kinds, the otter shrews of Africa and the star-nosed mole of America, for example, feed also upon fish. The Townsend mole of the Pacific Northwest often is a nuisance to bulb growers because of its fondness for the bulbs of many kinds of plants.
Moles, as a group, are subterranean in habit. They spend most of their lives in the darkness of underground tunnels which they dig for themselves. The eyes of all moles are very small, in some species actually not opening to the outside, and of little value to them: vestigial organs. On the other hand, their senses of touch and smell are highly developed.
- ORDER Eulipotyphyla (old 'Insectivora')
- Family Erinaceidae
- Family Soricidae (true shrews)
- Family Talpidae
- Family Solenodontidae: solenodons
- Family Nesophontidae: extinct West Indian shrews
The following groups are now placed in other orders:
- Hutterer, Rainer; Wilson, Don E and Reeder, DeeAnn M. (eds) 2005. Mammal species of the World. 3rd ed, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols, pp. 212–311. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0
- Roca A.L. et al. (2004). "Mesozoic origin for West Indian insectivores". Nature 429 (6992): 649–651. doi:10.1038/nature02597. PMID 15190349.
- Beck R.M.D. et al. (2006). "A higher level MRP supertree of placental mammals". BMC Evolutionary Biology 6: 93. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-6-93. PMC 1654192. PMID 17101039. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/6/93.