Spalax uralensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Spalacidae

Scientific Name: Spalax uralensis 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: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-10-29
Assessor(s): Tsytsulina, K.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kennerley, R.
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 (sand massifs) and its area of occupancy may consequently be quite small. Its range is fragmented as the sand massifs are isolated. It is a rare species, and is considered to be threatened by overgrazing. Assessed as Near Threatened (approaching criterion B2).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Spalax uralensis is distributed in Kazakhstan (lower Ural River basin, along Uil, Temir and Emba rivers flood plains).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Its spatial distribution is very uneven, as it is associated with isolated sand massifs. In Aktyubinsk region, population density ranges from 0.26 to 1 individual per ha. On the borders of sand massif Kokzhide it is 1-2 individuals per ha. On the southern border of Kumzhargan sands it is 4 individuals per hectare (Garbuzov 1977).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A steppe species, it inhabits moist sands and adjacent areas with sabulous soils and high underground water. It is found in clearings in forests, steppe islands, hilly fixed sands, ravine slopes and old river beds. The Kazakhstan Blind Mole Rate is a solitary and obligately subterranean species. It is active year round. Peak of digging activity is in spring, with the minimum in June. There are no evident peaks in daily activity. Burrows are complex, consisting 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 E. 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.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Spalax uralensis is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Overgrazing, extremely low temperatures in winter, and droughts form the main threats to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

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

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Citation: Tsytsulina, K. 2016. Spalax uralensis (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136581A115210023. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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