Amblysomus robustus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Amblysomus robustus
Species Authority: Bronner, 2000
Common Name(s):
English Robust Golden Mole
Taxonomic Notes: Previously included in A. hottentotus; elevated to a full species by Bronner (2000) based on unique karyotype, robust build and subtle craniometric differences from A. hottentotus and A. septentrionalis. Monotypic.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Bronner, G.
Reviewer(s): Rathbun, G. (Afrotheria Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
The species overall distribution is estimated to be less than 20,000 km², with continuing decline and severe fragmentation of habitat. Currently known from only four locations. The highveld grasslands favored by this species are being degraded by mining for shallow coal deposits to fuel numerous power stations that occur in the preferred high-altitude grassland habitats of this species is an inferred major threat. Rehabilitation attempts at these sites have proved largely ineffective. These power stations form the backbone of South Africa's electricity network, and disturbance is likely to increase as human populations grow and the demand for power increases. While no mining sites and power generation plants occur at the four localities that this species is known from, it may be impacted by these activities since it is probably more widespread than previous records indicate. Farming, tourism resort developments and agro-forestry (exotic pine and eucalyptus plantations) have also transformed habitat, but less dramatically; these does not appear to pose a major threat. More data required on distribution limits, ecology, densities and reproduction.
2006 Vulnerable (IUCN 2006)
2006 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is endemic to South Africa. Known only from the Steenkamps mountains in the Belfast and Dullstroom districts of eastern Mpumalanga, possibly extending southwards to the Ermelo district where A. septentrionalis instead occurs.
South Africa
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Common in suitable natural habitats, also in gardens, orchards and cultivated lands; no quantitative data on population sizes or trends.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Montane grasslands and marshes in Moist Sandy Highveld Grassland in Eastern Mpumalanga, South Africa. Prefers friable soils, from sands to quite heavy clays. Avoid shallow substrates along rocky ridges (which may act as dispersal barriers) and waterlogged areas. Occurs in gardens and farmyards.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The highveld grasslands favoured by this species have, and continues to be, altered and degraded by mining of shallow coal deposits to fuel numerous power stations in the region. Although these activities are not currently occurring at the four known localities, the species may nevertheless be impacted if it is more widespread than current records indicate, which seems likely.

Agricultural activities, the development of numerous tourism resorts, and agroforestry have, and continue, to transform the habitat of this species, but it appears to survive (perhaps at lower densities) in such disturbed areas, suggesting that the nature and intensity of this alterations does not yet pose a major threat. Otherwise, predation by domestic pets, and persecution by gardeners in urban areas, likely represent more localized threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Recorded from the provincial Verloren-Vallei Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga. Research needed to accurately determine distribution limits of this species, document its basic ecology and reproductive parameters, and to confirm its distinctness from A. hottentotus and A. septentrionalis (possibly using molecular data).

Citation: Bronner, G. 2008. Amblysomus robustus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 28 May 2015.
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