Ellobius talpinus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae

Scientific Name: Ellobius talpinus (Pallas, 1770)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Northern Mole Vole
Taxonomic Notes: There are up to eight subspecies (Ognev 1950), but taxonomy needs to be reviewed. Molecular data has shown that the major barrier for the species is the Volga River which divides all northern mole voles into two large lineages (Bogdanov et al. 2015), which may correspond to subspecies. A former subspecies from the eastern rim of the distribution area has been elevated to a separate species – E. tancrei.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-05-09
Assessor(s): Rusin, M.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Zagorodnyuk, I. & Tsytsulina, K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kennerley, R.
This species has a wide range. Population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population size criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. less than 10,000 mature individuals in conjunction with appropriate decline rates and subpopulation qualifiers), as the species is described as common in at least parts of its range. Although declines have been reported in some parts of the range, it is not believed to approach the threshold for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, it is evaluated as Least Concern. However, in Ukraine this species is considered to be threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Steppe grassland and semi-deserts in SE Europe, Kazakhstan (except SE Kazakhstan), Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran. Sometimes found in forest-steppes. The Western part of the distribution area is highly fragmented.
Countries occurrence:
Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kazakhstan; Russian Federation; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Common throughout most of the range. In some parts it is abundant on cultivated lands. In some parts of Russia and Kazakhstan it is a considered a pest species. Populations west of the Don River are highly fragmented; east of the river Ellobius talpinus becomes more abundant and widespread. The Western part of the distribution area consists of several isolated clusters – Tsimlyansk sands, Seversky Donets sands, Lower Dnieper and Molochna river (Rusin 2012, Rusin et al. 2015). In the Crimea it inhabits Tarkhankut pennincula, Dzhankoy region and foothills of the mountains. It has not been found in the Kerch penninsula. Populations in Lower Dnieper and the Crimea were connected in the beginning of 20th century, but the split between Dnieper and Don River populations lasted at least several centuries. Populations in Cis-Caucasian region lost large parts of their area of occupancy because of intensive use of lands for farming.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

A typical subterranean steppe mammal. Highly social animal that lives in large families with up to twenty members (Evdokimov 2001). A family normally consists of one breeding female (queen), several males and their offspring. Each family constructs large burrows. Feeds on subterranean plant parts. Nesting chambers are usually about 4 meters underground. Seldom emerges above ground (usually only to clear soil from the burrow or to disperse, rarely for feeding). During dispersal could cover distances up to 800 meters. Existence of hibernation is still questionable (Evdokimov 2002). In some parts of the distribution area may go to estivation in July-August. During the warm period of the year gives birth to two litters with 2-3 young in each.

Generation Length (years):1-2
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats at present to the species as a whole. Cultivation of steppe habitat may lead to fragmentation of social groups and populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: As the species is abundant across most of the range and even sometimes a considerable agricultural pest, there have been no conservation measures in Russia and Kazakhstan. Ukrainian populations are severely fragmented and recently Ellobius talpinus was included in new edition of the Ukraine Red Data Book (2009). At least two isolated populations are located on protected area: Trekhizbenka population in Lugansk nature reserve (Lugansk region, Ukraine) and Tsimlyansk population in Tsimlyansk state sanctuary (Rostov region, Russia).

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Citation: Rusin, M. 2016. Ellobius talpinus. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T7656A115085720. . Downloaded on 17 October 2017.
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