Chrysochloris stuhlmanniStuhlmann's golden mole

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Geographic Range

Central and eastern Africa including parts of Cameroon, Zaire, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Habitat

Stuhlmann's golden moles usually live at high elevations in mountainous areas. They burrow just below the ground sometimes near vegetation. They are sometimes found in gardens.

Physical Description

Head and body = 90-140 mm with no tail. The fur is dense, short, and soft, usually light underneath and brown or dark green above. If looked at from different angles the fur seems iridescent and almost purple. The fur is also water-repellent and very insulating. The skin on the head is especially thick and forms a tough pad that covers the nostrils. This limbs are very short yet powerful. There are two very long, thick claws on the forlimbs, the hind feet are webbed and have smaller, sharp claws. The ears are very small and the eyes are covered with hairy skin. The upper teeth of the golden moles are longer than the lower teeth. Females have four mammae. Members of this genus have a temporal bullae.

Reproduction

The breeding season seems to be during the rainy season, April-July. This could be due to the fact that the moles are out of their burrows more at night (see behavior) and the chances of meeting others of their species are higher. After breeding, moles construct a circular nest layered with grass in their tunnel systems. The female gives birth here and suckles the 1-3 young for two-three months. After this time the young are fully grown and are evicted form the burrow.

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual

Behavior

Stuhlmann's golden mole tends to be solitary and is active any time of the day. they spend most of their time burrowing close to the surface in search of food. On nights after rain storms they often come out of their burrows and root around for worms or other invertebrates at the surface, a behavior that might be due to flooded tunnels. Golden moles are very sensitive to vibrations and use this sense to detect predators and other possible approaching danger. They can be territorial, especially when food sources are limited.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Like the other golden moles, Stuhlmann's golden mole eats mainly soil invertebrates including worms, grubs, and beetles.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

It is possible that this species removes insect pests, aerates the soil, and fertilizes (w/fecal matter) gardens.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

It is also possible that this species causes damage to plants root systems in gardens, but direct crop damage is unlikely because of their insectivorous diet.

Conservation Status

This species appears to be rather common throughout its range.

Other Comments

The skins of this species are used as charms or talismans by the Bakiga tribe in Kigezi.

Contributors

Eric J. Ellis (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Glossary

Ethiopian

living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

tactile

uses touch to communicate

References

Macdonald, Dr. David [Editor]. 1984. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Equinox (Oxford) ltd. Pgs 764-765.

Nowak, Ronald M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World, 5th Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Pgs 137-141.

Parker, Sybil P. 1990. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol 1. Mcgraw Hill Inc. Pg 475.