Neamblysomus gunningi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Afrosoricida Chrysochloridae

Scientific Name: Neamblysomus gunningi (Broom, 1908)
Common Name(s):
English Gunning's Golden Mole
Amblysomus gunningi (Broom, 1908)
Taxonomic Notes: Included in Amblysomus by Simonetta (1968), Meester (1974), Petter (1981) and Meester et al. (1986). Bronner (1995) elevated it to the genus Neamblysomus and retained as such by Bronner and Jenkins (2005) and Bronner (2013). Externally this species resembles the Hottentot Golden Mole (Amblysomus hottentotus) and has been misidentified as such by some authors.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-02-12
Assessor(s): Maree, S.
Reviewer(s): Bennett, N.C. & Taylor, A.
Contributor(s): Bronner, G.

Known from only six sites which probably represent a single location, a restricted distributional range estimated at 1,327 km2 and the area of occupancy is estimated at 96 km2 from six known locations (using a 16 km2 grid area). The main threat to this fossorial species is the continuous decline in the quality and extent of its preferred natural habitats within low-lying and high-altitude indigenous Afromontane forests in the Grootbos-Magoebaskloof area (Northern Mistbelt Forests, Envirotek 2003; Wolkberg Afromontane Forest Belt, IBA_SA SA005) and adjoining montane grasslands. Commercial forestry operations and associated road infrastructure cause severe degradation and fragmentation of natural forests, and only small fragments of its habitat are protected in state-controlled forest reserves. However, protection measures on the ground are dubious and do not target management of this species. Increasing privatization of some state forests brings the continued protection of this species’ habitat into doubt. Agriculture, rural and urban housing and tourism infrastructure development around Haenertsburg are additional but more localized causes of habitat destruction, fragmentation and loss. Therefore the species is listed as Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii).

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Recorded only from six localities in the Grootbos-Magoebaskloof area (Woodbush-De Hoek) of the far Northern Eastern Escarpment (Drakensberg) between Haenertsburg, New Agatha and Tzaneen in Limpopo Province (South Africa). Three of the six confirmed localities fall within protected indigenous forest reserves (De Hoek, Woodbush and New Agatha). All of these records fall within the southern section of the Northern Mistbelt Forests (Envirotek 2003)/ Wolkberg Afromontane Forest Belt (IBA_SA – SA005).

Countries occurrence:
South Africa (Limpopo Province)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:96
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Very localized population, but locally common; most numerous in moist sandy loam soils associated with high altitude riverine forests near watercourses and ponds.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Occurs in moist sandy loam soils along watercourses in low and high altitude moist Afromontane forests (Northern Mistbelt Forests, Envirotek 2003) and surrounding Northeastern Mountain Grassland of Limpopo Province (Savanna biome). Also occurs in pastoral and cultivated lands (livestock and tea farming) and young pine plantations, where it coexists with Common Mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus). It thrives in rural and urban gardens and uses stretches of suitable soil on road edges as movement corridors. Nocturnal foraging takes place in shallow subsurface tunnels; with increased activity after rain. Adults are solitary, except mothers with young. Little is known about the ecology of this species.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

In the former Transvaal Province (South Africa), a large geopolitical area now comprising the Gauteng, Limpopo, North-West and Mpumalanga provinces, this species was given the highest regional priority score for mammals (Freitag and van Jaarsveld 1997). Within its extent of occurrence, the distribution of populations is highly localized and naturally fragmented due to a preference for soft sandy loam soils along watercourses, especially in indigenous forests. Inferred major threats are severe habitat alteration and fragmentation of Afromontane forest and adjoining grasslands by commercial forestry operations and associated roads infrastructure. Although somewhat limited, expanding rural and urban housing, commercial and tourism infrastructure developments in the last five years have resulted in areas of suitable habitat being cleared or severely transformed. Minor threats include overgrazing of pastoral land along watercourses, predation by pets and persecution by gardeners in rural and urban settlements.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Protected in the De Hoek, New Agatha and Woodbush Forest Reserves. Research needed to document most aspects of natural history, ecology, evolutionary relationships, phylogeography and population genetics of this species. In the former Transvaal Province (South Africa), its was given the highest regional priority score for mammals (Freitag and van Jaarsveld 1997). It currently ranks among the top 100 mammalian species (no. 73) of the EDGE of Existence Programme (Zoological Society of London), which aims to conserve the world’s Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered species (Mammals on the EDGE: Conservation Priorities Based on Threat and Phylogeny, Isaac et al. 2007 and subsequent updates). The species is not receiving dedicated conservation attention at present.

Citation: Maree, S. 2015. Neamblysomus gunningi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T1087A21283546. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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