Mole (animal)
Overview
Moles are small cylindrical mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle
Fossorial
A fossorial organism is one that is adapted to digging and life underground such as the badger, the naked mole rat, and the mole salamanders Ambystomatidae...

. They have velvety fur; tiny or invisible ears and eyes; and short, powerful limbs with large paws oriented for digging. The term is especially and most properly used for the true moles, those of the Talpidae
Talpidae
The family Talpidae includes the moles, shrew moles, desmans, and other intermediate forms of small insectivorous mammals of the order Soricomorpha...

 family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 in the order Soricomorpha
Soricomorpha
The order Soricomorpha is taxon within the class of mammals. In previous years it formed a significant group within the former order Insectivora...

 found in most parts of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. It also refers to other completely unrelated mammals of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and southern Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 which have also evolved the mole body plan
Body plan
A body plan is the blueprint for the way the body of an organism is laid out. An organism's symmetry, its number of body segments and number of limbs are all aspects of its body plan...

; while it is not commonly used for some talpids, such as desman
Desman
The desmans or tribe Desmanini are one of several tribes of the mole family Talpidae.This tribe consists of two species of semiaquatic insectivores found in Europe; one in Russia and the other in the Pyrenees. Both species are considered to be vulnerable...

s and shrew-moles, which do not fit the common definition of “mole” as well.
By the era of Early Modern English
Early Modern English
Early Modern English is the stage of the English language used from about the end of the Middle English period to 1650. Thus, the first edition of the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare both belong to the late phase of Early Modern English...

, the mole was also known in English as mouldywarp, a name echoed in other Germanic languages
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 such as German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 (Maulwürfe), and Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

, Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

, Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 and Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

 (muldvarp, mullvad, moldvarpa), where the muld/mull/mold part of the word means soil and the varp/vad/varpa part means throw), hence "one who throws soil" or "dirt tosser".

Male moles are called "boars", females are called "sows".
Encyclopedia
Moles are small cylindrical mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle
Fossorial
A fossorial organism is one that is adapted to digging and life underground such as the badger, the naked mole rat, and the mole salamanders Ambystomatidae...

. They have velvety fur; tiny or invisible ears and eyes; and short, powerful limbs with large paws oriented for digging. The term is especially and most properly used for the true moles, those of the Talpidae
Talpidae
The family Talpidae includes the moles, shrew moles, desmans, and other intermediate forms of small insectivorous mammals of the order Soricomorpha...

 family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 in the order Soricomorpha
Soricomorpha
The order Soricomorpha is taxon within the class of mammals. In previous years it formed a significant group within the former order Insectivora...

 found in most parts of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. It also refers to other completely unrelated mammals of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and southern Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 which have also evolved the mole body plan
Body plan
A body plan is the blueprint for the way the body of an organism is laid out. An organism's symmetry, its number of body segments and number of limbs are all aspects of its body plan...

; while it is not commonly used for some talpids, such as desman
Desman
The desmans or tribe Desmanini are one of several tribes of the mole family Talpidae.This tribe consists of two species of semiaquatic insectivores found in Europe; one in Russia and the other in the Pyrenees. Both species are considered to be vulnerable...

s and shrew-moles, which do not fit the common definition of “mole” as well.

Terminology

By the era of Early Modern English
Early Modern English
Early Modern English is the stage of the English language used from about the end of the Middle English period to 1650. Thus, the first edition of the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare both belong to the late phase of Early Modern English...

, the mole was also known in English as mouldywarp, a name echoed in other Germanic languages
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 such as German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 (Maulwürfe), and Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

, Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

, Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 and Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

 (muldvarp, mullvad, moldvarpa), where the muld/mull/mold part of the word means soil and the varp/vad/varpa part means throw), hence "one who throws soil" or "dirt tosser".

Male moles are called "boars", females are called "sows". A group of moles is called a labour.

Breathing underground

Moles have been found to tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide than other mammals. This is because their blood has a special and unique sort of hemoglobin
Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells of all vertebrates, with the exception of the fish family Channichthyidae, as well as the tissues of some invertebrates...

 protein found in their blood cells. Moles are able to re-use the oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 inhaled when above ground and as a result are able to survive in low-oxygen environments such as underground burrows.

Extra thumb

Moles have polydactyl
Polydactyly
Polydactyly or polydactylism , also known as hyperdactyly, is a congenital physical anomaly in humans, dogs, and cats having supernumerary fingers or toes....

 hands; each hand has an extra thumb (also known as a prepollex) next to the regular thumb
Thumb
The thumb is the first digit of the hand. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position , the thumb is the lateral-most digit...

. While the mole's other digits have multiple joints, the prepollex has a single, sickle-shaped bone which develops later and differently than the other fingers during embryogenesis
Embryogenesis
Embryogenesis is the process by which the embryo is formed and develops, until it develops into a fetus.Embryogenesis starts with the fertilization of the ovum by sperm. The fertilized ovum is referred to as a zygote...

 from a transformed sesamoid bone
Sesamoid bone
In anatomy, a sesamoid bone is a bone embedded within a tendon.Sesamoids are found in locations where a tendon passes over a joint, such as the hand, knee, and foot. Functionally, they act to protect the tendon and to increase its mechanical effect. The presence of the sesamoid bone holds the...

 in the wrist
Wrist
In human anatomy, the wrist is variously defined as 1) the carpus or carpal bones, the complex of eight bones forming the proximal skeletal segment of the hand;...

. This supernumerary digit is species-specific as it is not present in shrew
Shrew
A shrew or shrew mouse is a small molelike mammal classified in the order Soricomorpha. True shrews are also not to be confused with West Indies shrews, treeshrews, otter shrews, or elephant shrews, which belong to different families or orders.Although its external appearance is generally that of...

s, the mole's closest relative. Androgenic steroids are known to affect the growth and formation of bones and there is a possible connection between this species-specific trait and the "male" genital apparatus in female moles in many mole species (gonad
Gonad
The gonad is the organ that makes gametes. The gonads in males are the testes and the gonads in females are the ovaries. The product, gametes, are haploid germ cells. For example, spermatozoon and egg cells are gametes...

s with testicular and ovary tissues).

Diet

A mole's diet primarily consists of earthworm
Earthworm
Earthworm is the common name for the largest members of Oligochaeta in the phylum Annelida. In classical systems they were placed in the order Opisthopora, on the basis of the male pores opening posterior to the female pores, even though the internal male segments are anterior to the female...

s and other small invertebrates found in the soil and also a variety of nuts. Because their saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze earthworms, moles are able to store their still living prey for later consumption. They construct special underground "larders" for just this purpose—researchers have discovered such larders with over a thousand earthworms in them. Before eating earthworms, moles pull them between their squeezed paws to force the collected earth and dirt out of the worm's gut.

The Star-nosed Mole
Star-nosed mole
The star-nosed mole is a small mole found in wet low areas of eastern Canada and the north-eastern United States, with records extending along the Atlantic coast as far as extreme southeastern Georgia...

 can detect, catch and eat food faster than the human eye can follow (under .3 seconds).

Classification

The family Talpidae contains all the true moles and some of their close relatives. Desmans, which are Talpidae but are not normally called "moles", are not shown below but belong to the subfamily Talpinae, (note the slightly different name). Those species called "shrew-moles" represent an intermediate form between the moles and their shrew ancestors, and as such may not be fully described by the article.

On the other hand, there is no monophyletic
Monophyly
In common cladistic usage, a monophyletic group is a taxon which forms a clade, meaning that it contains all the descendants of the possibly hypothetical closest common ancestor of the members of the group. The term is synonymous with the uncommon term holophyly...

 relation between the mole and the hedgehog
Hedgehog
A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae and the order Erinaceomorpha. There are 17 species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand . There are no hedgehogs native to Australia, and no living species native to the Americas...

, both of whom were previously placed in the now abandoned order Insectivora
Insectivora
The order Insectivora is a now-abandoned biological grouping within the class of mammals...

. As a result, Soricomorpha
Soricomorpha
The order Soricomorpha is taxon within the class of mammals. In previous years it formed a significant group within the former order Insectivora...

("shrew-like animals" including moles), previously within Insectivora, has been elevated to the level of an order.

  • Subfamily Scalopinae
    Scalopinae
    The Scalopinae, or New World moles, are one of three subfamilies of the Talpidae family, which consists of moles and mole-like animals; the other two subfamilies being the Old World Talpids and the Chinese Shrew-like Moles...

    : "New World moles"
    • Tribe Condylurini Star-Nosed Mole (North America)
      • Genus Condylura: Star-nosed Mole (Sole species)
    • Tribe Scalopini
      Scalopini
      The Scalopini are a tribe of moles belonging to the Talpidae family. They include all the New World moles apart from the strikingly distinctive Star-nosed Mole...

       New World moles
      • Genus Parascalops: Hairy-tailed Mole (Northeastern North America)
      • Genus Scalopus: Eastern Mole (North America)
      • Genus Scapanulus: Gansu Mole (China)
      • Genus Scapanus
        Scapanus
        Scapanus is a genus of moles in the family Talpidae. They live in North America from west of the Rockies south to Baja California del Norte, and north to British Columbia, wherever conditions permit a mole population; that is to say, apart from the most sandy, rocky, or developed places...

        : Western North American moles (Four species)

  • Subfamily Talpinae
    Talpinae
    The subfamily Talpinae, sometimes called "Old World moles" or "Old World moles and relatives", is one of three subfamilies of the mole family Talpidae, the others being the Scalopinae, or New World moles, and the Uropsilinae, or shrew-like moles....

     Old World moles, desmans (not shown), and shrew-moles.
    • Tribe Talpini
      Talpini
      Talpini is a tribe, in the scientific classification system of binomial nomenclature. It encapsulates a group of mammals known as Old World Moles. It is a division of the subfamily Talpinae.-References:* Animal Diversity Web * Blackwell Synergy...

      : Old World Moles
      • Genus Euroscaptor
        Euroscaptor
        Euroscaptor is a genus of mammal in the Talpidae family. Members are found in China, Japan and other countries of South and Southeast Asia.It contains the following six species to date:* Greater Chinese Mole...

        : Six Asian species
      • Genus Mogera
        Mogera
        Mogera is a genus of mammal in the Talpidae family.It contains the following species:* Echigo Mole * Small Japanese Mole Mogera is a genus of mammal in the Talpidae family.It contains the following species:* Echigo Mole (Mogera etigo)* Small Japanese Mole Mogera is a genus of mammal in the Talpidae...

        Nine species from Japan, Korea, and Eastern China
      • Genus Parascaptor: White-tailed Mole
        White-tailed Mole
        The White-tailed Mole is a species of mammal in the Talpidae family. It is found in China, India, and Myanmar.It is the only species in the genus Parascaptor....

        , southern Asia
      • Genus Scaptochirus: Short-faced Mole
        Short-faced Mole
        The Short-faced Mole is a species of mammal in the Talpidae family. It is monotypic within the genus Scaptochirus. It is endemic to China.-References:* Insectivore Specialist Group 1996. . Downloaded on 30 July 2007....

        , China
      • Genus Talpa Nine species, Europe and western Asia
    • Tribe Scaptonychini Long-tailed Mole
      • Genus Scaptonyx: Long-tailed Mole (China and Myanmar)
    • Tribe Urotrichini
      Urotrichini
      Urotrichini are Japanese and American shrew-moles belonging to the Old World Moles and Relatives branch of the mole family. There are only three species, each of which represents its own genus. The name "Shrew-moles" refers to their morphological resemblance to shrews, while generally being thought...

      : Japanese shrew-moles
      • Genus Dymecodon: True’s Shrew Mole
      • Genus Urotrichus: Japanese Shrew Mole
    • Tribe Neurotrichini
      Neurotrichini
      Neurotrichini is a tribe within the subfamily Talpinae of the mole family. It includes the living genus Neurotrichus—with a single living species, the American shrew-mole as well as some fossil species—and the fossil Quyania....

       New World shrew-moles
      • Genus Neurotrichus
        Neurotrichus
        Neurotrichus is a genus of shrew-like moles. It is classified, together with the fossil genus Quyania, in the tribe Neurotrichini of the subfamily Talpinae. The only living species is the American shrew-mole of the northwestern United States and British Columbia...

        : Shrew-mole (aka. "American Shrew Mole" Pacific northwest USA, southwest British Columbia.)
  • Subfamily Uropsilinae
    Uropsilinae
    The Uropsilinae are shrew-like members of the mole family endemic to the forested, high-alpine region bordering China, Myanmar, and Vietnam. They possess a long snout, a long slender tail, external ears, and small forefeet unspecialized for burrowing...

    : Asian shrew-like moles, ("Chinese Shrew-moles")
    • Genus Uropsilus Four Species in China, Bhutan, and Myanmar

Other "Moles"

While many groups of burrowing animals (pink fairy armadillo
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The pink fairy armadillo or pichiciego is the smallest species of armadillo...

s, tuco-tuco
Tuco-tuco
The tuco-tucos are members of a group of rodents that belong to the family Ctenomyidae. The tuco-tucos belong to a single genus: Ctenomys, but they include some 60 different species. The relationships among the species are debated by taxonomists. Their closest relatives are degus and other...

s, mole-rats; even mole cricket
Mole cricket
The mole crickets compose family Gryllotalpidae, of thick-bodied insects about long, with large beady eyes and shovel-like forelimbs highly developed for burrowing and swimming. They can also fly: the adult mole cricket may fly as far as during mating season, is active most of the year, and...

s and mole crabs) have developed close physical similarities with moles due to convergent evolution
Convergent evolution
Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.The wing is a classic example of convergent evolution in action. Although their last common ancestor did not have wings, both birds and bats do, and are capable of powered flight. The wings are...

, two of these are so similar to true moles that they are commonly called and thought of as "moles" in common English, although they are completely unrelated to true moles or to each other. These are the golden mole
Golden mole
Golden moles are small, insectivorous burrowing mammals native to southern Africa. They form the family Chrysochloridae, and are taxonomically distinct from the true moles which they resemble due to convergence...

s of southern Africa and the marsupial mole
Marsupial mole
Marsupial moles is a family of marsupials of the order Notoryctemorphia, consisting of only two extant species:* Notoryctes typhlops * Notoryctes caurinus ...

s of Australia. While difficult to distinguish from each other, they are most easily distinguished from true moles by shovel-like patches on their noses which they use in tandem with their abbreviated forepaws to swim through sandy soils.

The Golden Moles

The golden moles belong to the same branch on the tree of life
Tree of life
The concept of a tree of life, a many-branched tree illustrating the idea that all life on earth is related, has been used in science , religion, philosophy, mythology, and other areas...

 as the tenrecs, called Tenrecomorpha or Afrosoricida
Afrosoricida
The order Afrosoricida contains the golden moles of southern Africa and the tenrecs of Madagascar and Africa, two families of small mammals that have traditionally been considered to be a part of the order Insectivora.Some biologists use Tenrecomorpha as the name for the tenrec-golden mole clade,...

, which in turn stems from a main branch of placental mammals called the Afrosoricida
Afrosoricida
The order Afrosoricida contains the golden moles of southern Africa and the tenrecs of Madagascar and Africa, two families of small mammals that have traditionally been considered to be a part of the order Insectivora.Some biologists use Tenrecomorpha as the name for the tenrec-golden mole clade,...

. This means that they share a closer common ancestor with such existing Afrosoricids as Elephants, Manatees, and Aardvarks than they do with other placental mammals such as true Talpidae moles.
  • ORDER AFROSORICIDA
    Afrosoricida
    The order Afrosoricida contains the golden moles of southern Africa and the tenrecs of Madagascar and Africa, two families of small mammals that have traditionally been considered to be a part of the order Insectivora.Some biologists use Tenrecomorpha as the name for the tenrec-golden mole clade,...

    • Suborder Tenrecomorpha
      • Family Tenrecidae
        Tenrecidae
        Tenrecidae is a family of mammals found on Madagascar and parts of Africa. Tenrecs are widely diverse, resembling hedgehogs, shrews, opossums, mice and even otters, as a result of convergent evolution. They occupy aquatic, arboreal, terrestrial and fossorial environments...

        : tenrecs, 34 species in 10 genera
    • Suborder Chrysochloridea
      • Family Chrysochloridae
        • Subfamily Chrysochlorinae
          • Genus Carpitalpa
            • Arend's Golden Mole
              Arend's Golden Mole
              Arend's Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is found in Mozambique and Zimbabwe...

               (Carpitalpa arendsi)
          • Genus Chlorotalpa
            Chlorotalpa
            Chlorotalpa is a genus of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family.It contains the following species:* Duthie's Golden Mole * Sclater's Golden Mole...

            • Duthie's Golden Mole
              Duthie's Golden Mole
              Duthie's Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is endemic to South Africa. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, moist savanna, temperate grassland, arable land, pastureland, plantations, rural gardens, urban areas, and introduced...

               (Chlorotalpa duthieae)
            • Sclater's Golden Mole
              Sclater's Golden Mole
              Sclater's Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is found in Lesotho and South Africa. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, temperate grassland, arable...

               (Chlorotalpa sclateri)
          • Genus Chrysochloris
            Chrysochloris
            Chrysochloris is a genus of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family.It contains the following species:* Subgenus Chrysochloris**Cape Golden Mole **Visagie's Golden Mole...

            • Subgenus Chrysochloris
              • Cape Golden Mole
                Cape Golden Mole
                The Cape Golden Mole is a small, insectivorous mammal of the family Chrysochloridae, the golden moles. It is native to certain south western regions of South Africa.-External links:*...

                 (Chrysochloris asiatica)
              • Visagie's Golden Mole
                Visagie's Golden Mole
                Visagie's Golden Mole is a mole endemic to South Africa....

                 (Chrysochloris visagiei)
            • Subgenus Kilimatalpa
              • Stuhlmann's Golden Mole
                Stuhlmann's Golden Mole
                Stuhlmann's Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is found in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda...

                 (Chrysochloris stuhlmanni)
          • Genus Chrysospalax
            Chrysospalax
            Chrysospalax is a small genus of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. The two members are endemic to South Africa.It contains the following species:* Rough-haired Golden Mole * Giant Golden Mole...

            • Giant Golden Mole
              Giant Golden Mole
              The Giant Golden Mole is an endangered species of golden mole whose natural habit is the forests of Eastern Cape Province in South Africa....

               (Chrysospalax trevelyani)
            • Rough-haired Golden Mole
              Rough-haired Golden Mole
              The Rough-haired Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is endemic to South Africa. Its natural habitats are temperate shrubland, temperate grassland, arable land, pastureland, plantations, rural gardens, and urban areas. It is threatened by habitat loss....

               (Chrysospalax villosus)
          • Genus Cryptochloris
            Cryptochloris
            Cryptochloris is a genus of golden moles, containing the two species De Winton's Golden Mole and Van Zyl's Golden Mole ....

            • De Winton's Golden Mole
              De Winton's Golden Mole
              De Winton's Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is endemic to South Africa. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation, and sandy shores. It is threatened by habitat loss....

               (Cryptochloris wintoni)
            • Van Zyl's Golden Mole
              Van Zyl's Golden Mole
              Van Zyl's Golden Mole 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...

               (Cryptochloris zyli)
          • Genus Eremitalpa
            • Grant's Golden Mole
              Grant's Golden Mole
              Grant's Golden Mole is a golden mole species. It is the only member of the genus, Eremitalpa.-Attributes:...

               (Eremitalpa granti)
        • Subfamily Amblysominae
          • Genus Amblysomus
            Amblysomus
            Golden Moles , also African Golden Moles and South African Golden Moles, is a genus of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family.It contains the following species:* Fynbos Golden Mole...

            • Fynbos Golden Mole
              Fynbos Golden Mole
              The Fynbos Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is endemic to South Africa.Its natural habitats are [Fynbos]] Mediterranean shrubland vegetation, temperate forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, moist savanna, temperate shrubland, temperate...

               (Amblysomus corriae)
            • Hottentot Golden Mole
              Hottentot Golden Mole
              The Hottentot Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is found in South Africa, Swaziland, and possibly Lesotho...

               (Amblysomus hottentotus)
            • Marley's Golden Mole
              Marley's Golden Mole
              Marley's Golden Mole is a species of burrowing mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is found in South Africa and possibly Swaziland. It has been separated from Amblysomus hottentotus by Bronner . Its natural habitat is indigenous forests and moist grassland, and also gardens...

               (Amblysomus marleyi)
            • Robust Golden Mole
              Robust Golden Mole
              The Robust Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is endemic to South Africa. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, temperate shrubland, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, temperate grassland, subtropical or...

               (Amblysomus robustus)
            • Highveld Golden Mole
              Highveld Golden Mole
              The Highveld Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is found in South Africa and Swaziland...

               (Amblysomus septentrionalis)
          • Genus Calcochloris
            Calcochloris
            Calcochloris is a genus of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family.It contains the following species:* Congo Golden Mole * Yellow Golden Mole * Somali Golden Mole...

            • Subgenus Huetia
              • Congo Golden Mole
                Congo Golden Mole
                The Congo Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is found in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo...

                 (Calcochloris leucorhinus)
            • Subgenus Calcochloris
              • Yellow Golden Mole
                Yellow Golden Mole
                The Yellow Golden Mole is a species of mammal in the Chrysochloridae family. It is found in Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, arable land, pastureland,...

                 (Calcochloris obtusirostris)
            • Subgenus incertae sedis
              Incertae sedis
              , is a term used to define a taxonomic group where its broader relationships are unknown or undefined. Uncertainty at specific taxonomic levels is attributed by , , and similar terms.-Examples:*The fossil plant Paradinandra suecica could not be assigned to any...

              • Somali Golden Mole
                Somali Golden Mole
                The Somali Golden Mole is a golden mole endemic to Somalia....

                 (Calcochloris tytonis)
          • Genus Neamblysomus
            • Juliana's Golden Mole
              Juliana's Golden Mole
              Juliana’s Golden Mole is a golden mole endemic to South Africa. It is listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss and a restricted range. 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...

               (Neamblysomus julianae)
            • Gunning's Golden Mole
              Gunning's Golden Mole
              Gunning's Golden Mole, Neamblysomus gunningi, is a small mammal endemic to South Africa. It was listed in 2006 as an endangered species. Its decreasing numbers are due to habitat clearance or destruction and predation from domesticated cats and dogs...

               (Neamblysomus gunningi)

Marsupial Moles

As marsupials, these moles are even more distantly related to true talpidae moles than golden moles, both of which belong to the eutheria
Eutheria
Eutheria is a group of mammals consisting of placental mammals plus all extinct mammals that are more closely related to living placentals than to living marsupials . They are distinguished from noneutherians by various features of the feet, ankles, jaws and teeth...

, or placental mammals. This means that they are more closely related to such existing Australian marsupials Kangaroo
Kangaroo
A kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae . In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, Red Kangaroo, Antilopine Kangaroo, Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Western Grey Kangaroo. Kangaroos are endemic to the country...

s or Koala
Koala
The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia, and the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae....

s, and even to a lesser extent to American marsupials such as opossums than they are to placental mammals such as Golden Moles or Talpidae moles.

Class Mammalia
  • Subclass Prototheria
    Prototheria
    Prototheria is a taxonomic group, or taxon, to which the order Monotremata belongs. It is conventionally ranked as a subclass within the mammals.Most of the animals in this group are extinct...

    : monotremes: echidna
    Echidna
    Echidnas , also known as spiny anteaters, belong to the family Tachyglossidae in the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals. There are four extant species, which, together with the platypus, are the only surviving members of that order and are the only extant mammals that lay eggs...

    s and the Platypus
    Platypus
    The platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young...

  • Subclass Theriiformes: live-bearing mammals and their prehistoric relatives
    • Infraclass Holotheria: modern live-bearing mammals and their prehistoric relatives
      • Supercohort Theria
        Theria
        Theria is a subclass of mammals that give birth to live young without using a shelled egg, including both eutherians and metatherians . The only omitted extant mammal group is the egg-laying monotremes....

        : live-bearing mammals
        • Cohort Marsupialia: marsupials
          • Magnorder Ameridelphia
            Ameridelphia
            Ameridelphia is traditionally a superorder that includes all marsupials living in the Americas except for the Monito del Monte...

            : New World marsupials
            • Order Didelphimorphia
              Didelphimorphia
              Opossums make up the largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, including 103 or more species in 19 genera. They are also commonly called possums, though that term technically refers to Australian fauna of the suborder Phalangeriformes. The Virginia opossum was the first animal to be...

               (opossums)
            • Order Paucituberculata (shrew opossums)
          • Superorder Australidelphia
            Australidelphia
            Australidelphia is the superorder that contains roughly three-quarters of all marsupials, including all those native to Australasia and a single species from South America...

             Australian Marsupials
            • Order Dasyuromorphia
              Dasyuromorphia
              The order Dasyuromorphia comprises most of the Australian carnivorous marsupials, including quolls, dunnarts, the numbat, the Tasmanian devil, and the recently extinct thylacine...

               Tasmanian Devils, numbats,
            • Order Peramelemorphia
              Peramelemorphia
              The order Peramelemorphia includes the bandicoots and bilbies: it equates approximately to the mainstream of marsupial omnivores...

               Bilbies and bandicoots
            • Order Diprotodontia
              Diprotodontia
              Diprotodontia is a large order of about 120 marsupial mammals including the kangaroos, wallabies, possums, koala, wombats, and many others. Extinct diprotodonts include the rhinoceros-sized Diprotodon, and Thylacoleo, the so-called "marsupial lion"....

               Koalas, Wombats, Diprotodons, possums, cuscuses, sugar gliders, kangaroos, and many more
            • Order Notoryctemorphia Marsupial moles and closely related extinct families of marsupials
              • Family Notoryctidae Living marsupial genera and extinct marsupial mole genera
                • Genus Notoryctes Only genus of marsupial moles with existant species
                  • Species Notoryctes typhlops, the Southern Marsupial Mole
                  • Species Notoryctes caurinus, the Northern Marsupial Mole

Pelts

Moles' pelts have a velvety texture not found in surface animals, whose pelts tend to be longer and react differently to being rubbed in different directions. To facilitate their burrowing lifestyle, mole pelts are short and very dense and have no particular direction in which friction moves more or less smoothly. The leather is extremely soft and supple. Queen Alexandra, the wife of Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

, ordered a mole-fur garment in order to start a fashion that would create a demand for mole fur, thereby turning what had been a serious pest problem in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 into a lucrative industry for the country. Hundreds of pelts are cut into rectangles and sewn together to make a coat. The natural color is taupe
Taupe
Taupe is a dark grayish-brown color. The word "taupe" derives from the Latin name for the European Mole, Talpa europaea.Originally, this referred only to the average color of the French mole, but like the colors pink and lavender, the name expanded to encompass a wide range of varying...

, but it is readily dyed any color.

Pest status

Moles are considered to be agricultural pests in some countries, while in others, such as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, they are a protected species but may be killed if a permit is received. Problems cited as caused by moles include contamination of silage
Silage
Silage is fermented, high-moisture fodder that can be fed to ruminants or used as a biofuel feedstock for anaerobic digesters. It is fermented and stored in a process called ensiling or silaging, and is usually made from grass crops, including corn , sorghum or other cereals, using the entire...

 with soil particles making it unpalatable to livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

, the covering of pasture with fresh soil reducing its size and yield, damage to agricultural machinery by the exposure of stones, damage to young plants through disturbance of the soil, weed invasion of pasture through exposure of fresh tilled soil, and damage to drainage systems and watercourses. Other species such as weasel
Weasel
Weasels are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. They are small, active predators, long and slender with short legs....

s and vole
Vole
A vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes, and differently formed molars . There are approximately 155 species of voles. They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America...

s may use mole tunnels to gain access to enclosed areas or plant roots.

Moles burrow lawns, raising molehill
Molehill
A molehill is a conical mound of loose soil raised by small burrowing mammals, including moles, but also similar animals such as mole-rats, marsupial moles and voles...

s, and killing the lawn, for which they are sometimes considered pests
Pest (animal)
A pest is an animal which is detrimental to humans or human concerns. It is a loosely defined term, often overlapping with the related terms vermin, weeds, parasites and pathogens...

. They can undermine plant roots, indirectly causing damage or death. However, contrary to popular belief, moles do not eat plant roots.
They are controlled with traps such as mole-catchers, smoke bombs, and poisons such as calcium carbide
Calcium carbide
thumb|right|Calcium carbide.Calcium carbide is a chemical compound with the chemical formula of CaC2. The pure material is colorless, however pieces of technical grade calcium carbide are grey or brown and consist of only 80-85% of CaC2 . Because of presence of PH3, NH3, and H2S it has a...

 and strychnine
Strychnine
Strychnine is a highly toxic , colorless crystalline alkaloid used as a pesticide, particularly for killing small vertebrates such as birds and rodents. Strychnine causes muscular convulsions and eventually death through asphyxia or sheer exhaustion...

, which is no longer available in Britain. The most common method now is Phostoxin or Talunex tablets. They contain aluminium phosphide
Aluminium phosphide
Aluminium phosphide is an inorganic compound used as a wide band gap semiconductor and a fumigant. This colourless solid is generally sold as a grey-green-yellow powder due to the presence of impurities arising from hydrolysis and oxidation.-Properties:...

 and are inserted in the mole tunnels, where they turn into phosphine
Phosphine
Phosphine is the compound with the chemical formula PH3. It is a colorless, flammable, toxic gas. Pure phosphine is odourless, but technical grade samples have a highly unpleasant odor like garlic or rotting fish, due to the presence of substituted phosphine and diphosphine...

 gas (not be confused with phosgene
Phosgene
Phosgene is the chemical compound with the formula COCl2. This colorless gas gained infamy as a chemical weapon during World War I. It is also a valued industrial reagent and building block in synthesis of pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds. In low concentrations, its odor resembles...

 gas). More recently high grade nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 gas has proven an effective remedy, with the added advantage of having no polluting effect to the environment.
Other common defensive measures include cat litter and blood meal
Blood meal
Blood meal is a dry, inert powder made from blood used as a high-nitrogen fertilizer and a high protein animal feed. N= 13.25%, P = 1.0%, K = 0.6%. It is one of the highest non-synthetic sources of nitrogen. Blood meal is completely soluble and can be mixed with water to be used as a liquid...

, to repel the mole, or flooding or smoking its burrow. There are also devices sold to trap the mole in its burrow, when one sees the "mole hill" moving and therefore knows where the animal is, and then stabbing it. Humane traps which capture the mole alive so that it may be transported elsewhere are also options.
However, in many gardens, the damage caused by moles to lawns is mostly visual, and it is also possible to simply remove the earth of the molehills as they appear, leaving their permanent galleries for the moles to continue their existence underground.

See also

  • List of fictional moles
  • Molehill
    Molehill
    A molehill is a conical mound of loose soil raised by small burrowing mammals, including moles, but also similar animals such as mole-rats, marsupial moles and voles...

  • Moles in popular culture
  • Moleskin
    Moleskin
    Moleskin, originally referring to the short, silky fur of a mole, is heavy cotton fabric, woven and then sheared to create a short soft pile on one side. The word is also used for clothing made from this fabric, as well as adhesive pads stuck to the skin to prevent blisters.Clothing made from...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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