Puneet Varma (Editor)

Van Zyl's golden mole

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Kingdom  Animalia
Class  Mammalia
Family  Chrysochloridae
Scientific name  Chrysochloris zyli
Phylum  Chordata
Order  Afrosoricida
Genus  Cryptochloris
Rank  Species
Van Zyl's golden mole httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Similar  Visagie's golden mole, De Winton's golden m, Duthie's golden mole, Marley's golden mole, Highveld golden mole

Van Zyl's golden mole (Cryptochloris zyli) is a golden mole endemic to the Western Cape Province, South Africa. It is listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss. Golden moles are an ancient group of mammals who live mostly below ground. They have shiny coats of dense fur and a streamlined, formless appearance. They have no visible eyes or ears; in fact, they are blind – the small eyes are covered with hairy skin. The ears are small and are hidden in the animal's fur.

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Description

Van Zyl's golden mole is about 80–90 mm (3–3.5") long and weighs about 20–30 g (0.7–1.0 oz). The face has white markings.The dorsal fur is short and dense and is a dark lead-grey colour, the under-layer of fur being pale grey. The underparts are a uniform drab colour. The claw on the third digit on the forefoot is about 10 mm (0.4 in) long and 4 mm (0.2 in) wide at the base. Claw one and two are slightly shorter making a pointed digging tool.

Ecology

It lives in the coastal dune belt and adjacent sandy areas. Usually two young are born, sometimes one. Van Zyl's golden mole eats various invertebrates, as well as legless lizards, which grow to a length of about 20 cm (8"). The young of golden moles are born in a grass-lined cavity in the ground. They usually dig their tunnels just below the ground.

Status

Van Zyl's golden mole was initially known only from Compagnies Drift, 16 km (10 mi) inland from Lambert's Bay, northwestern Cape Province, South Africa. Another specimen was collected at Groenriviermond, approximately 150 km (90 mi) farther north along the Namaqualand coast, in 2003. Van Zyl's golden mole is threatened by continued loss of habitat. For example, mining of coastal dunes for alluvial diamonds could lead to habitat degradation. Habitat alteration associated with tourism developments along the west coast could also pose a problem for this species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature now rates this species as "endangered".

References

Van Zyl's golden mole Wikipedia


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