Spalax giganteus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Spalacidae

Scientific Name: Spalax giganteus
Species Authority: Nehring, 1897
Common Name(s):
English Giant Mole Rat, Russian Mole Rat, Giant Blind Mole Rat
Spanish Rata Topo Gigante

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-02-08
Assessor(s): Kennerley, R., Formozov, N. & Sheftel, B.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Tsytsulina, K.
This species has a large range with an estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) of 37,058 km2, there have been no changes to distribution because the sandy habitats it occupies have little agricultural value and are therefore not likely to be threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:It occurs in Ciscaucasia and southernmost Kalmykia (Russia). Within the range it is distributed very patchily, as separate settlements that often occur in sandy areas.
Countries occurrence:
Russian Federation
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Data on population size are limited and somewhat contradictory. The total number in Ciscaucasia was estimated at about 20,000-25,000 animals in the 1960s (Pavlov et al. 1963). From the mid-1970s numbers declined at a high rate. In the 1980s, average density fell to 0.2-0.3 animals/1000 ha. According to some estimates, total numbers in Daghestan, where most of the population is located, fell to 1,000-1,200 animals during that period (Spasskaya and Gitinomagomedov 1980, Spasskaya 1982). The number in Daghestan was about 10,000 (Gineev et al. 1988). The fall in numbers and range fragmentation were caused by strong anthropogenic pressure that affected the entire range up to the end of the 1980s. In habitats with the least human pressure, numbers reached their upper limit despite the overall downward trend. Unfortunately, no data on population fluctuations in the 1990s are available. Also during the 1990s, the entire complex of human impacts, primarily overgrazing, decreased in the north-west Precaspian zone.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits loamy and sandy semi-deserts in NE cis-Caucasia. Prefers moderately moist areas with light soils in river valleys, lake basins and lowlands with luxuriant vegetation. Also occurs in semi-deserts with shrubs and reed, herb-grasses and herb-absinth steppes. Also found in anthropogenic landscapes such as orchards and fields, areas along road embankments,
vegetable gardens, where it may be a pest (Omarov et al. 2009). Obligatory subterranean, feeds on subterranean plant parts. Active throughout the year. Generally monogamous. Heat occurs in December-January, females give birth to 2-3 young.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There may be some habitat loss due to irrigation and subsequent soil salinization, overgrazing, and ploughing, however most of the sandy habitats it occupies have no agricultural value.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation in Cateory 3 (rare species). It occurs in reserves in Chechen Republic and Dagestan (Russia). Conservation proposed include: reductions in anthropogenic pressure in the largest concentration zones; establish protected areas around large colonies; long-term monitoring; and restoration of the species within its range using reintroduction techniques (Omarov et al. 2009).

Citation: Kennerley, R., Formozov, N. & Sheftel, B. 2016. Spalax giganteus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T20429A2772339. . Downloaded on 24 October 2016.
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