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Heterocephalus glaber

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA BATHYERGIDAE

Scientific Name: Heterocephalus glaber
Species Authority: Rüppell, 1842
Common Name(s):
English Naked Mole Rat

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Maree, S. & Faulkes, C.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, it is relatively common, with no immediate major threats. However, continued population monitoring of this eusocial species is a necessary conservation measure.
History:
2004 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found throughout most of Somalia, central Ethiopia, and much of northern and eastern Kenya, extending as far south as the eastern border of Tsavo West National Park and the town of Voi (Jarvis and Sherman 2002). The species has also been recorded from Djibouti (e.g. Pearch et al. 2001) suggesting that the species has a wider range than is presently known. It has an altitudinal range of 400 to 1,500 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Djibouti; Ethiopia; Kenya; Somalia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is a common species.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Naked mole-rats live in arid habitats, characterized by high temperatures and low and irregular rainfall, which generally average 200-400 mm/year. They are found most frequently in hard, consolidated, lateritic loams, although they
can live in fine sand, pure gypsum, and laterite (Jarvis and Sherman 2002). The species is subterranean and eusocial, living in colonies averaging between 75 and 80 animals per colony (but may be as many as 290). The colonies are extended family groups, with overlapping generations. Reproduction is restricted to a single reproductive female, and at most three breeding males (usually one or two). Non-breeders (which are sociologically suppressed by aggressive behaviours of the dominant female) help care for and defend the reproductive animals and young. The non-breeding animals maintain and defense of the colony burrow system (Jarvis and Sherman 2002). The species has a gestation length of 66 to 74 days, after which between one and 28 young are born. Females can bear litters every 76 to 84 days, and wild females regularly bear more than 50 pups per year in four or five litters (Jarvis and Sherman 2002). In captivity, this is a relatively long-lived species; females lived to 23 years, and males to 28 years.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): According to Jarvis and Sherman (2002), naked mole-rats live in areas with little agriculture and minimal development, such that they do not pose a significant agricultural pest. However, they do eat crops such as casava and sweet potatoes, both important agricultural produce, and expansion of agricultural activities into the range of the species could lead to the species being regarded as a pest. Jarvis and Sherman (2002) also note that, given the patchy distribution of naked mole rat colonies, and their population genetic structure, extirpation of local, genetically distinct subpopulations is possible. In general, however, there are no immediate threats to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occur in several protected areas throughout the range, including Tsavo, Meru, and Samburu National Parks in Kenya. This species is also common in a number of zoological gardens across the world, and procedures for maintaining captive colonies are well established (Jarvis and Sherman 2002).

Citation: Maree, S. & Faulkes, C. 2008. Heterocephalus glaber. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 November 2014.
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