Calcochloris obtusirostris 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Afrosoricida Chrysochloridae

Scientific Name: Calcochloris obtusirostris (Peters, 1851)
Common Name(s):
English Yellow Golden Mole
Chrysochloris obtusirostris Peters, 1851
Taxonomic Notes: This genus has been variably assigned to Chrysochloris (Broom 1907), Amblysomus (Simonetta 1968, Petter 1981) or Calcochloris (Meester 1974, Bronner 1995a). The name Calcochloris predates Chrysotricha (Broom 1907) commonly used for this genus until 1953 (Ellerman 1953, Meester 1974) and also Huetia (Forcart 1942). Bronner (1995a) placed Calcochloris obtusirostris in the subgenus Calcochloris, and Calcochloris leucorhinus in the subgenus Huetia (Forcart 1942), which previously included Calcochloris tytonis [incertae sedis]. Huetia has been elevated to full generic status based on phylogenetic analyses of combined morphological and molecular characters (Asher et al. 2010), leaving Calcochloris to include only C. obtusirostris and C. tytonis [incertae sedis].

Three subspecies are recognized, C. o. obtusirostris, C. o chrysillus, and C. o. limpopoensis, all of which were once considered valid species; subspecies are discriminated by subtle morphological differences, but intergrade in size, making distinguishing among them difficult (Bronner 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-02-24
Assessor(s): Maree, S.
Reviewer(s): Bennett, N.C. & Taylor, A.
Contributor(s): Bronner, G.

A widespread species in a region that tolerates mild habitat alteration and is not heavily impacted by human activities, so the presumably large global population is unlikely to be in decline. Least Concern is justified also by its occurrence in many provincial, national and transfrontier protected areas in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. 

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Largely restricted to the Mozambique sand plain. Its ranges from Inhambane district in Mozambique southwards to northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and inland to the eastern slopes of the Lebombo Mountains and the southeastern Lowveld of Zimbabwe.

Calcochloris o. obtusirostris occurs in the Inhambane and Gaza districts of Mozambique, extends westwards along the Changane and Save river systems to marginally intrude into southeastern Zimbabwe and the Nyadu Sandveld in northern Limpopo Province, South Africa. Calcochloris o. limpopoensis occurs in the Masiene district in Mozambique southwards to the southern Mozambican coastal plains near Maputo where it is replaced by C. o. chrysillus. Calcochloris o. chrysillus occurs from Maputo southwards to Maputaland (north of St. Lucia) and in the Ingwavuma and Ubombo districts in northern KwaZulu Natal. Parts of the geographic ranges of C. o. obtusirostris and C. o. chrysillus are within protected areas, but this is not the case for C. o. limpopoiensis (see Threats).
Countries occurrence:
Mozambique; South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province); Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:20
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Locally common in suitable sandy habitats on the coastal plains of Mozambique and northern KwaZulu Natal (South Africa). 

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:3
All individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A strictly fossorial species restricted to light sandy soils, sandy alluvium and coastal sand dunes in southern African subtropical forest and savanna woodland transitions and mosaics. Calcochloris o. chrysillus occurs in coastal forest and savanna (woodland) transitions and mosaics from southern coastal Mozambique to northern KwaZulu Natal. Calcochloris o. limpopoensis occurs in the Miombo savanna (woodland) of eastern Mozambique. Calcochloris o. obtusirostris inhabits Acacia and Mopane savanna (thornveld woodland) in southeastern Mozambique, westwards  along the Changane and Save river systems into the Lowveld grasslands of southeastern Zimbabwe, and the Nyadu Sandveld in northern Kruger National Park, Limpopo Province.

The species lives in close proximity to human settlements and thrives in rural and urban gardens. It also occurs in cultivated and pastoral land and commercial forestry plantations, but the latter is considered suboptimal habitat for the species.

Predominantly insectivorous, this species is highly sensitive to vibrations produced by live insect prey, which include tenebreonid larvae, termites, grasshoppers, flies, moths and also small lizards. Shallow subsurface foraging tunnels are linked to nest chambers amongst roots of trees. Deeper tunnels of up to 20 cm below the soil surface emerging from nests and the species has been recorded to cover distances of up to 50 m between nest chambers and foraging areas (Roberts 1936).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

There are no known major threats. Minor threats may arise from rural and urban development, which include housing and associated roads infrastructure. Agriculture and commercial forestry operations no doubt contributes to degradation, fragmentation and loss of its natural soil habitat. However, these are localized threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Its cryptic and adaptable nature allows it to coexist successfully with humans. Calcochloris o. chrysillus is adequately protected in KwaZulu Natal at Ndumu Game Reserve, Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, Tembe Elephant Park, Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, Lake Sibaya Nature Reserve, and the Maputaland Coastal Forest Reserve. In Mozambique, this subspecies occurs in the Maputo Elephant Reserve. The Transfrontier Conservation Area (South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland) between the Lebombo Mountains and the Indian Ocean now connects the Maputo Elephant Reserve through the Futi Corridor and Lubombo Conservancy to Tembe Elephant Park and protects large areas of suitable habitat of this subspecies.

C. o. obtusirostris has been recorded from the Nyadu Sandveld in northeastern corner of Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park in southeastern Zimbabwe and northern part of the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.  These protected areas are part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. The subspecies may also occur in the Gorongoza National Park of central Mozambique.

C. o. limpopoensis has not been recorded from any conservation area in Mozambique.

Citation: Maree, S. 2015. Calcochloris obtusirostris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T3519A21284422. . Downloaded on 19 September 2017.
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