Golden Moles

The Golden Moles (Chrysochloridae) comprise 21 species in 10 genera and 2 subfamilies. Some 18 species are endemic to southern Africa (with Chrysochloris stuhlmanni,, Calochlris leucorhina & Calochlris tytonis being outside).
For ID note the fur colour and roughness, skull size, relative sizes of foreclaws 1, 2 and 4. Of taxonomic importance is the malleus (the hammer bone in the inner ear), and the mallear vesicle that houses it, but this requires skulls.

Subfamily Chrysochlorinae

Genus Chrysospalax Giant Golden Moles
2 spp. differ in size.

  • larger (skulls > 30mm long)
  • fur long and course, without sheen
  • malleus (hammer bone in ear) in large mallear vesicle, showing as lump in skull.

All other genera have skulls < 30mm long and a sheen to the silky fur.

Genus Cryptochloris Sandveld Golden Moles
2 spp (fur colour, malleus shape): confined to west coast of Namaqualand

  • skull: frontal expanded, mallear vesicle reduced - not prominent, but visible
  • first and second front claws almost equal in size
  • plantar pad at base of first front claw

Genus Chrysochloris
2 spp (+1 c Africa) (fur colour, malleus shape)

  • mallear vesicle bulging in rear of eye orbit
  • first claw of forefoot much shorter than second claw
  • plantar pad absent

Genus Eremitalpa Coastal Golden Moles
1 sp - in loose coastal sands, West Coast

  • skull very broad (width 80-90% of length)
  • mallear vesicle only a very small swelling - malleus spherical
  • fourth claw of forefoot well developed (>2.5 mm long)

The following two genera lack a visible mallear vesicle on the external skull.

Genus Carpitalpa
1 sp

  • larger (>25mm skull length)
  • skull elongate (width < 60% length)
  • stylohyal bone bulbous

Genus Chlorotalpa
2 spp (fur colour, stylohyal bone, X chromosome)

  • smaller (<25mm skull length)
  • skull broader (width > 60% length)
  • stylohyal bone slender

Subfamily Amblysominae

Genus Huetia (Congo Golden Mole Huetia leucorhina) outside of region

Genus Calcochloris
1 sp - with 3 subspecies (+1 c Africa)

  • First premolar molariform, canine bicuspid
  • skull broad (rostral width >21% skull length; skull width >70% length)
  • claws gracile (3rd digit longest)
  • orange underfur

Genus Neamblysomus
2 spp (size, head width)

  • talonid (on lower molar) absent
  • third molar present
  • palate broad

Genus Amblysomus
5 spp (size of skull and claws (esp. 3rd), fur colour, chromosome number)

  • talonid (on lower molar) well developed
  • third molar absent
  • palate narrow
  • malleus small
Posted on 03 October, 2022 14:19 by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo



Eremitalpa granti
Eremitalpa granti ssp. granti West Coast Dune Golden Mole - s of Orange River to St Helena Bay
Eremitalpa granti ssp. namibensis Namib Golden Mole - n of Orange River to Kuiseb River

Calcochloris obtusirostris
Calcochloris obtusirostris ssp. chrysillus Coastal Yellow Golden Mole - Moz (Maputo), n KZN; coastal forest and Thornveld
Calcochloris obtusirostris ssp. limpopoensis Miombo Yellow Golden Mole - Moz (Sofala, Maputo); Miombo Savanna
Calcochloris obtusirostris ssp. obtusirostris Bushveld Yellow Golden Mole - Moz (Inhambane, Gaza), Zim (se lowlands), Lim (n KNP) Acacia and Mopane Savanna

Posted by tonyrebelo 8 months ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments