Desman, an insectivorous mammal of the shrew family, mygale (galemys) Muscovitica (Desm.). It is 7 in. long, with a tail of 8 in.; it is brown above and white below, the fur being very soft and long; the feet are webbed, and the flattened tail is covered with scales, and is a powerful rudder; the nose is lengthened into a flexible proboscis. It is found in the Volga and adjacent streams and lakes in S. E. Russia, making burrows in the banks, beginning under water, and ascending above the level of the highest floods. The food consists of small fishes, frogs, leeches, and larvae of aquatic insects. It is itself devoured by pikes and other voracious fishes, to whose flesh it communicates a strong musky odor, from the penetrating secretions of glands near the tail. It is rarely seen on dry land; it is an excellent diver and swimmer, and, from its aquatic habits and the rodent look of the incisor teeth, was formerly classed near the beaver; the teeth, however, are like those of the shrews, differing in having two very small ones between the two great incisors of the lower jaw, and in the two upper triangular and flattened incisors.

The M. (G.) Pyrenaica is not much more than half the size of the Russian species; it is found in southern France, in the district of the Pyrenees.

Desman (Mygale Pyrenaica).

Desman (Mygale Pyrenaica).