and body length is 160-90mm with a vestigial tail. Adult weights
vary from 80-280 gms. Two subspecies exist with slightly different
coloration. Base color is black with chestnut brown markings
in H. semispinosus and whitish markings in H. nigriceps.
The stripes of H. semispinosus are more distinct of the
two, but both have a prominent crest of spines at the nape of
the neck. The underparts of H. semispinosus are covered
with chestnut brown rather spiny hairs.
H. semispinosus is primarily terrestrial, though it is
capable of climbing, and may be active any time of day. During
winter months, the animal can achieve a state of torpor, the
body temperature becoming 1°C less than the ambient temperature.
It inhabits rainforests and brushland and has recently extended
its range to cultivated fields. H. semispinosus' diet
consist mainly of earthworms.
Sexual maturity is achieved at only five months for H. semispinosus
females and litter size averages 6.6 young. Babies are born
from November through March, after gestation periods of 55-63
There are three sounds produced by Tenrec, which are audible
to humans. A "putt putt", a crunching sound during agonistic
behavior and a vibration known as stridulation emanating from
specialized quills in the middorsal region. This last sound
appears to be most important in helping mother and young locate
Hemicentetes semispinosus is found in the eastern humid
forest and central highlands of E Madagascar.