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Spalax zemni

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA SPALACIDAE

Scientific Name: Spalax zemni
Species Authority: Erxleben, 1777
Common Name(s):
English Podolian Mole Rat, Podolsk Mole Rat
Synonym(s):
Spalax podolicus Trouessart, 1897
Spalax podolicus Trouessart, 1897
Spalax polonicus Méhely, 1909
Spalax polonicus Méhely, 1909

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Tsytsulina, K., Formozov, N., Zagorodnyuk, I. & Sheftel, B.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Temple, H. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Although the extent of occurrence of this species is relatively large (mapped as c.150,000 km2), it has an extremely patchy and severely fragmented distribution within that area, and its area of occupancy is estimated to be less than 2,000 km2. The area of occupancy and quality of habitat is declining continually. The species does not occur in protected areas, except perhaps Podolskiy Tovtry National Park. Assessed as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species occurs in Ukraine, where it is found from near the Polish border in the east to the Dnepr River in Central Ukraine and south to the Moldovan border. Populations are fragmented in Ukraine, so the area of occupancy could be much lower than the range indicated on the map..
Countries:
Native:
Ukraine
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no data on population size of the species. The range is highly fragmented and consists of isolated populations. Therefore although the species has relatively large extent of occurrence, the area of occupancy is low. Since the end of the 19th century the Podolsk mole rat has been considered a rare species across its whole range (Ognev 1947). Range contraction in historical time is probably due to shrinking of steppe habitats. Subfossil remains of the species were found on the left bank of Dnepr River in Kiev and Zhitomir regions. Therefore, losses of range in the south, north-west and north-east have a long history. Currently population density in optimal biotopes is about 1-8 individuals per hectare.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The major habitat of this species is virgin steppes. It also occurs in side roads, forest belts, and agricultural fields, and was recently found in former military firing ranges (I. Zagorodnyuk pers. comm. 2006). Does not avoid sandy soils. An obligate underground species. Its feeding habits are poorly studied, but according to data from southern and south-eastern part of the range it feeds on underground parts of lucerne, chicory, bindweed, mallows and tree seedlings (oak, mulberry, acacia etc.). There are no data on breeding or ecology.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat degradation and loss due to cultivation and development is a major threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Not found in protected areas (except perhaps Podolskiy Tovtry National Park). Listed in Ukraine Red Data Book under category 3 (rare species with limited number of individuals and restricted range).

Citation: Tsytsulina, K., Formozov, N., Zagorodnyuk, I. & Sheftel, B. 2008. Spalax zemni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 December 2014.
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