Title page for ETD etd-07282008-145115

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Jackson, Craig Ryan
Email crjackson@zoology.up.ac.za
URN etd-07282008-145115
Document Title The ecology and conservation of Juliana’s golden mole (Neamblysomus julianae)
Degree MSc
Department Zoology and Entomology
Advisor Name Title
Prof N C Bennett Co-Supervisor
Dr M P Robertson Supervisor
  • Juliana's golden mole
  • Neamblysomus julianae
  • habitat requirements
  • Chrysochloridae
  • conservation planning
  • activity pattern
  • species distribution model
  • torpor
  • conservation management plan
Date 2007-09-06
Availability unrestricted

Despite an IUCN conservation status of critically endangered, Juliana’s golden mole (Neamblysomus julianae) has received no ecological research attention to date. The species urgently requires conservation attention, but a poor understanding its biology, ecology and distribution makes effective conservation planning almost impossible. In light of this, a thorough understanding of the habitat requirements for this habitat specific species was needed. Additionally, the cryptic lifestyle of Juliana’s golden mole has resulted in very few distribution records for the species. Little was known about the animals’ daily and seasonal activity patterns or movement patterns. This study revealed that Juliana’s golden mole is range restricted on account of sandy soils that have a uniform particle size distribution. This feature limits substrate compaction, making tunnelling far easier for these small mammals. In comparison to uninhabited areas, occupied habitat had greater vegetation cover provided by trees and shrubs, and this would be expected to provide a cooler and moister microenvironment. The ecological parameters associated with the species presence were then used, in addition to existing GIS data, to predict regions of potentially suitable habitat. This process revealed large potentially inhabitable areas in the northern parts of South Africa. Preliminary ground-truthing has shown the model to be relatively accurate with three potentially new populations having been identified. Contrary to what has been reported in the literature, Juliana’s golden mole does not appear to be strictly nocturnal. Instead, an adaptive pattern of activity was observed, governed by soil temperature. Body temperature was found to fluctuate to some degree with that of the soil temperature, but fluctuations were regulated by behavioural thermoregulation. Seasonal activity is highly correlated with rainfall. Rain moistens the soil making it significantly softer and far easier to tunnel through. Using this and other information acquired through the course of the study, the thesis culminates with an evaluation of conservation concerns and proposed conservation management actions.

Copyright © 2007, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Jackson, CR 2007, The ecology and conservation of Juliana’s golden mole (Neamblysomus julianae), MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07282008-145115/ >


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