Soil properties and the distribution of the endangered Juliana's golden mole


Craig R. Jackson, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa. Tel: +47 95783090; Fax: +27 12 4203210


The endangered Juliana's golden mole Neamblysomus julianae occurs in three small, geographically isolated populations within South Africa. As a sand-swimmer, it is a habitat specialist and has a highly fragmented distribution within each population. There is a need for a conservation action plan for this species, but this is difficult because of the dearth of knowledge of its biology, including its habitat characteristics. To better understand its patchy distribution, we selected 48 plots that were occupied or unoccupied by golden moles and measured the soil properties in each plot. The size distribution of sand particles influenced the density and compactability of the soil, and both were positively correlated with the presence of golden moles. These soil characteristics are thus vital in understanding and describing the distribution of this cryptic species.