Locomotory activity in the Namib Desert golden mole Eremitalpa granti namibensis (Chrysochloridae)

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Abstract

Eremitalpa granti namibensis is a small, blind, subterranean insectivore endemic to the Namib Desert sand dunes. Unlike other subterranean mammals which seldom leave their burrow systems, the Namib mole forages extensively on the dune surface for its insectivorous prey. Activity phasing in this atypical mole was examined in the field and in the laboratory. Free-living moles were almost exclusively nocturnal, while moles kept in the laboratory were active day and night. These findings are discussed in relation to prey availability, predator pressure and avoidance of diurnal extremes. Light and temperature appeared to be important cues for daily onset and cessation of activity.

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