Amblysomus septentrionalis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Amblysomus septentrionalis
Species Authority: Roberts, 1913
Common Name(s):
English Highveld Golden Mole
Taxonomic Notes: Traditionally recognized as a subspecies of the Zulu Golden Mole (A. iris - a species now incorporated into A. hottentotus and A. corriae). Bronner (1996) raised septentrionalis to a full species based on unique chromosomal and craniometric properties. No subspecies currently recognized, but orangensis from Parys/Heilbron district may qualify for subspecies status pending the availability of chromosomal data.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened 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 is listed as Near Threatened, as based on current information it is close to qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion B. Known thus far from 12 localities, but probably more widespread than current records indicate. Observed habitat degradation associated with 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. Farming and agro-forestry (exotic pine and eucalyptus plantations) have also transformed habitat, but less dramatically; this does not appear to pose a major threat. More data required on distribution limits, ecology, densities and reproduction.
2006 Near Threatened (IUCN 2006)
2006 Near Threatened

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species occurs in South Africa and Swaziland, ranging in the Mpumalanga highveld from Wakkerstroom northwards to Ermelo and Barberton, and westwards through Standerton district to northeastern Free State (Heilbron/Parys) and eastwards to Swaziland (Piggs Peak/Mbabane). A population from the Harrismith area is also provisionally attributed to this form.
South Africa; Swaziland
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Locally common; trapping data suggest densities of 3 ha-1 at one locality in the Wakkerstroom district. Based current estimate extent of occurrence, the global population is well over 10,000 individuals.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Meadows and edges of marshes in high-altitude grasslands of eastern Mpumalanga. Restricted to friable soils in valleys and on mountainsides, where individuals may co-exist with the Rough-haired Golden mole, Chrysospalax villosus. Common in farmyards, gardens, golf courses, and present also in exotic plantations, though seemingly at lower densities. In the Wakkerstroom district it is found in thickets of Oldwood trees (Leucosidea sericea) on the banks of streams in valleys, but avoid scrubby vegetation in kloofs and along rocky ridges, where it is replaced by Sclater’s Golden Mole Chlorotalpa sclateri.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to this species is likely to be habitat alteration/degradation associated with mining of coal deposits to fuel numerous power stations in the region. Habitat alteration owing to agriculture could be a more minor threat, but this species thrives in such landscapes and thus is probably not severely impacted; predation by domestic pets, and persecution by gardeners and greenkeepers, could represent a more localized threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Not recorded from any provincial or national nature reserves. Gelderblom et al. (1995) identified the southeastern Mpumalanga highveld as a hotspot of chrysochlorid endemicity, and recommended that urgent action be taken to augment the national protected areas network in this region. Research needed to confirm distinctness from A. h. meesteri, A. robustus and A. h. longiceps, and to determine distributional limits of these taxa.

Citation: Bronner, G. 2008. Amblysomus septentrionalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 28 May 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided