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Spalax giganteus

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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 Blind Mole Rat, GIANT BLIND MOLE RAT, Giant Mole Rat, GIANT MOLE RAT, Russian Mole Rat, RUSSIAN MOLE RAT
Spanish Rata Topo Gigante, RATA TOPO GIGANTE

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Tsytsulina, K., Formozov, N. & Sheftel, B.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species has a restricted range (extent of occurrence ca. 50,000 km2), within which its distribution is sporadic and fragmented. It is estimated that its area of occupancy is less than 2,000 km2. It is almost extinct in Chechnya as a result of civil war, and it is threatened elsewhere in its range by habitat loss due to irrigation, soil salinization, overgrazing, and ploughing. There is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of this species' habitat. Therefore it is listed as Vulnerable.
History:
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

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

Population [top]

Population: It is declining in some parts of the range due to human impacts, although in other parts of the range populations are considered stable. Almost extinct in Chechen Republic (Russia) and parts of Dagestan (Russia). Does not undergo periodical fluctuations. Data on population size are limited and somewhat contradictory. According to data for the beginning of 1980s in Dagestan there were about 700-750 individuals (Red Data Book of Russian Federation 1983). However, a later aerial survey showed that the population was about 10,000 individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

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, where it may be a pest. 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.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss due to irrigation and subsequent soil salinization, overgrazing, and ploughing. Low reproductive potential is a further limiting factor.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation in Category 3 (rare species). It occurs in reserves in Chechen Republic and Dagestan (Russia). Limitation of irrigation and grazing have been proposed as conservation measures.

Citation: Tsytsulina, K., Formozov, N. & Sheftel, B. 2008. Spalax giganteus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 July 2014.
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