Chrysochloris visagiei 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Afrosoricida Chrysochloridae

Scientific Name: Chrysochloris visagiei
Species Authority: Broom, 1950
Common Name(s):
English Visagie's Golden Mole
Taxonomic Notes: Subgenus Chrysochloris. Possibly an aberrant asiatica; see Meester (1974). Simonetta (1968:31) listed it as a subspecies of asiatica. It’s taxonomic status should thus be considered incertae sedis.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-03-03
Assessor(s): Bronner, G.
Reviewer(s): Taylor, A.

Agriculture has dramatically transformed habitat at the type locality, but impact thereof cannot be assessed given uncertainty about the provenance of the type specimen and/or the habitat requirements of the species. No specimens have been seen or collected since its description, despite two expeditions to the type locality during which not even local farmers ever recalled having seen a golden mole in the district. Further research may show this species to qualify for Critically Endangered if indeed a population still survives at the type location.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Data Deficient (DD)
2006 Data Deficient (DD)
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)
1994 Indeterminate (I)
1990 Indeterminate (I)
1988 Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is known from a single specimen collected from the type locality at Gouna, Northern Cape, South Africa. Several field trips to ground-truth the occurrence of this species have yielded no specimens, or even signs of golden moles, suggesting either an error in recording provenance, or that the original specimen was transported there by anthropogenic means (Bronner 2013) or even perhaps by floodwaters of the Renoster River, flowing from the Roggeveld mountains further south where several other species of golden moles occur. The possibility exists that the holotype originated from Gouna Forest near Knysna (Eastern Cape), but was incorrectly assumed (by Broom, 1950) to be from Gouna in Northern Cape; surveying at Gouna Forest is needed to assess this possibility.

Countries occurrence:
South Africa
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Number of Locations: 1
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


No signs of this species have been found at the type location during two independent expeditions in the last 20 years.

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

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The type locality is situated in Bushmanland Nama-Karoo, with extensive agriculture on the alluvial sand floodplains of the Vis and Renoster Rivers. Adjacent natural habitats are gravel plains and small hills, which appear unsuitable habitats for chrysochlorids.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Extensive agriculture has dramatically transformed habitat at the type locality, but impact thereof cannot be assessed given uncertainty about provenance of the type specimen and/or the habitat requirements of the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Research is needed to ground-truth the existence of this species in the Gouna areas of both Northern and Eastern Cape, and/or to trace the locality from which the type specimen was collected. Study of more specimens is required to clarify the systematic status of this taxon.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:No
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Whole (>90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

Bibliography [top]

Afrotheria Specialist Group. 2014. Specialist Group website. Available at:

Bronner, G.N. 2013. Chrysochloris visagiei. In: J. Kingdon, D. Happold, T. Butynski, M. Hoffmann, M. Happold and J. Kalina (eds), Mammals of Africa, Volume I: Introductory Chapters and Afrotheria, pp. 246. Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Bronner, G.N. and Jenkins, P.D. 2005. Order Afrosoricida. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 70-81. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Broom, R. 1950. Some further advances in our knowledge of the Cape golden moles. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 21: 234-241.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Available at: (Accessed: 23 June 2015).

Meester, J. 1974. Family Chrysochloridae. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Nicoll, M.E. and Rathbun, G.B. 1990. African Insectivora and elephant-shrews: An action plan for their conservation. IUCN/SSC Insectivore, Tree-Shrew and Elephant-Shrew Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Simonetta, A.M. 1968. A new golden mole from Somalia with an appendix on the taxonomy of the family Chrysochloridae (Mammalia, Insectivora). Monitore zoologici Italiano, Supplement 2: 27–55.

Citation: Bronner, G. 2015. Chrysochloris visagiei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T4812A21287855. . Downloaded on 02 December 2015.
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