A small semiaquatic European mammal related to the mole, with a long tubular muzzle and webbed toes.
Family Talpidae: the Russian desman (Desmana moschata) and the Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus)‘The family Talpidae consists of moles and desmans; currently, its approximately 42 species are grouped into 17 genera.’
- ‘Moles are from the family Talpidae which includes moles, desmans, and shrew-moles.’
- ‘Primarily an insectivore, the desman's diet consists of aquatic insects and their larvae, along with snails and small, slow-moving fish, which are attracted to its trenches by the musk smell and aerated water it leaves in its wake.’
- ‘Trunk and limb proportions of early middle Eocene Rodhocetus are most similar to those of the living, highly aquatic, foot-powered desmans.’
- ‘Reserves were created to save critical habitat for endangered species such as the Siberian tiger, saiga antelope, Russian desman and black stork.’
Late 18th century via French and German from Swedish desman-råtta ‘muskrat’, from desman ‘musk’.