NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF UKRAINE
State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Spalax microphthalmus Guldenstaedt, 1770

Synonym
  • Spalax typhlus Pallas, 1779
  • Spalax pallasii Nordmann, 1839
Vernacular Name
Greater Blind Mole Rat, Greater Mole Rat
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Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Remarks
Detail
Distributed in steppes and forest-steppes in Ukraine and S Russia between Dnepr and Volga Rivers, north to Orel-Kursk line, and south to Ciscaucasia (Gromov and Erbaeva 1995). In Crimea most probably absent since the Pleistocene. During Holocene the northern border of the range has moved significantly southward, leaving behind isolated relict populations, for example in Samarskaya Luka (Samara District, Russia). A common species. In historical times in some parts ot the range it became rare or even extinct, but elsewhere extended its area of occurrence. In the northern part of the range and the Volga Region is occurs in small isolated populations and is considered rare. These populations are threatened by habitat loss (ploughing of major habitats). In the southern part of the range (Stavropol Region) in the 1950s, population and range declines occurred because of ploughing. Population density differs significantly in different parts of the range. Maximum densities are found in Central Black Earth Region (Russia) adjacent Ukrainian territories. Population density there is on average 3-10 individuals per hectare, however locally it could reach up to 20. In the southern part of the range the density may be lower, as the arid climate of the steppes is less favourable. Populations are stable and do not undergone periodical fluctuations. Obligatory subterranean species. Inhabits steppes; prefers lowlands with black earth and avoids loamy and sandy soils. Inhabits crop fields, melon plantations, gardens, orchards and forest belts. Feeds on underground parts of dandelion, cow parsnip, chicory and tree seedlings (oak, mulberry, acacia). Makes hoards for winter, sometimes up to 10-14 kg. Breeds once a year, females give birth in March to 2-5 young. During dispersal juveniles emerge above ground and often fall prey to carnivorous mammals and birds. A significant pest in southern parts of the range.
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Taxonomic branch

Biota
Eukaryota
Animalia
Eumetazoa
Chordata
Gnathostomata
Mammalia
Muriformes
Spalacidae