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Spalax uralensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA SPALACIDAE

Scientific Name: Spalax uralensis
Species Authority: Tiflov & Usov, 1939
Common Name(s):
English Kazakhstan Blind Mole Rat, Ural Blind Mole Rat
Taxonomic Notes: Distribution as summarized by other researchers includes S. giganteus from steppes west of the Caspian Sea (Gromov and Erbaeva 1995, Topachevskii 1969).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Tsytsulina, K.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Although this species has a relatively large distribution (extent of occurrence estimated to be greater than 100,000 km2), it is restricted to a very specific habitat type and the area of occupancy of the species may consequently be quite small. It is a rare species, and is considered to be threatened by overgrazing. Assessed as Near Threatened (approaching criterion B2).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Distributed in Kazakhstan (lower Ural River basin, along Uil, Temir and Emba rivers flood plains).
Countries:
Native:
Kazakhstan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Spatial distribution is very uneven, associated with isolated sand massifs. In Aktyubinsk region, population density ranges from 0.26 to 1 individuals per hectare. On the borders of sand massif Kokzhide it is 1-2 individals per hectare. On the southern border of Kumzhargan sands it is 4 indviduals per hectare (Garbuzov, 1977)
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A steppe species. It inhabits moist sands and adjacent areas with sabulous soils and high underground water. Found in clearings in forests, steppe islands, hilly fixed sands, ravine slopes and old river beds. A solitary and obligately subterranean species. Active year round. Peak of digging activity is in spring, the minimum is in June. There are no evident peaks in daily activity. Burrows are complex, consist of shallow feeding passages and deep passages that include nest cells. Nests range from 0.9 to 3 m in depth. Total length of passages is 145-540 m. This species feeds on underground parts of various plants, but the main part of the diet is volga wild rye (Elymus giganteus). Local distribution of Spalax uralensis is linked to that of Elymus giganteus. The species makes food caches of up to 2.5 kg in weight. Reproduction is usually once a year in spring or summer, some females can give a second litter in autumn. Litter size is 2-6.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Overgrazing, extremely low temperatures in winter and droughts.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed as rare in Red List of Kazakhstan (category 3: rare species with limited distribution).

Citation: Tsytsulina, K. 2008. Spalax uralensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 July 2014.
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