Cryptomys hottentotus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Bathyergidae

Scientific Name: Cryptomys hottentotus (Lesson, 1826)
Common Name(s):
English African Mole Rat
Cryptomys amatus (Wroughton, 1907)
Cryptomys hottentotus ssp. mahali (Roberts, 1913)
Cryptomys hottentotus ssp. natalensis Roberts, 1913
Cryptomys hottentotus ssp. nimrodi (de Winton, 1896)
Cryptomys hottentotus ssp. pretoriae (Roberts, 1913)
Cryptomys hottentotus ssp. whytei Thomas, 1897
Taxonomic Notes: Cryptomys hottentotus whytei, currently included here as a subspecies, may be a distinct species (Faulkes et al. 2004).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-09-03
Assessor(s): Maree, S. & Faulkes, C.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
This species is listed as Least Concern because it is a widespread species that is fairly common and very adaptable to anthropogenically disturbed habitats, including pasturelands and even rural gardens.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in South Africa, where it is found in Western Cape as far south as Stellenbosch and Somerset West in Cape Peninsula, extending to Stenkopf in the northwest, and then inland in the Northern Cape province to Prieska and Calvinia along consolidated sands along the east coast and inland to the Eastern Cape province, to the southern Free State and into Gauteng (subspecies C. h. hottentotus; C. h. pretoriae, C. h. mahali); the subspecies C. h. natalensis occurs from the Eastern Cape through KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Swaziland (where C. h. pretoriae may also occur in the west) and into southern Kruger National Park and extreme southern Mozambique. The range of C. h. nimrodi begins at the Limpopo River and goes up to Bulawayo, but the eastern limit is unclear. Animals formerly recognised as C. whytei, (Faulkes et al. 2004), exist as a disjunct, isolated population occurring in extreme southwestern Tanzania (at Suma, 9°10' S, 33°40' E), and the Nyika Plateau region of Malawi and adjacent Zambia southwards to the Nsanje District of southern Malawi (a single record; which may yet represent another taxon). The precise limits of distribution of the various subspecies remain to be properly delimited.
Countries occurrence:
Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The abundance of this species is not well-known. It is a widespread but localised species, presumably because of specific soil requirements (the population density may exceed 150 individuals per sq km in preferred habitats).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occurs in a wide range of substrates from friable sandy loams to exfoliated schists and sandy, stony soils. It is apparently, unable to utilize heavy red clay soils or the hard soils associated with mopane woodland. In South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, it occurs in a variety of habitats from short, mesic grassland to dense coastal forest, and from stony soils on hill slopes in the Drakensberg (Taylor 1998). In many parts of the range (e.g., Pretoria, Swaziland, and KwaZulu-Natal), they are found in a variety of man-made habitats including lawns, golf-courses and gardens. The species is subterranean, and social, with a colony size of around five animals (and up to 14) including a single reproductive pair. It has a litter size of two to six young and a generation time of about three years.
Generation Length (years):4

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in many protected areas throughout its range. Further taxonomic study of this species is needed to clarify the status of the various subspecies.

Errata [top]

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

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends

Bibliography [top]

Ansell, W.F.H. and Dowsett, R.J. 1988. Mammals of Malawi - an Annotated Checklist and Atlas. The Trendrine Press, Zennor, St Ives, Cornwall, UK.

Faulkes, C.G., Verheyen, E., Verheyen, W., Jarvis, J.U.M. and Bennett, N.C. 2004. Phylogeographical patterns of genetic divergence and speciation in African mole-rats (Family: Bathyergidae). Molecular Ecology 13(3): 613-629.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2017).

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

Rathbun, G.B. (subeditor). 2005. Macroscelidea. In: J.D. Skinner and C.T. Chimimba (eds), The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion, 3rd edition, pp. 22-34. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Taylor, P. 1998. The Smaller Mammals of KwaZulu-Natal. University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Woods, C.A. and Kilpatrick, C.W. 2005. Infraorder Hystricognathi. In: Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 1538-1599. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Citation: Maree, S. & Faulkes, C. 2016. Cryptomys hottentotus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T5755A115079767. . Downloaded on 21 May 2018.
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