Damaraland molerat

Cryptomys damarensis

SUBFAMILY

Georychinae

TAXONOMY

Bathyergus damarensis (Ogilby, 1838), Damaraland, Namibia.

OTHER COMMON NAMES English: Damara mole-rat.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Two coat colors, fawn and dark brown, can occur in one colony; both colors have a large white head patch. Mean body mass is about 4.6 oz (130 g); males tend to be larger than females. However, mass varies with social status.

DISTRIBUTION

Widespread in Kalahari sands of Namibia, much of Botswana, extending into western Zimbabwe and northwestern South Africa.

HABITAT

Arid regions with mean annual rainfall of under 15.6 in (400 mm). Favor red Kalahari arenosols, and loose, unconsolidated alluvial sands.

BEHAVIOR

Social; colonies of up to 40 animals contain a single breeding female, her consorts, and their non-breeding offspring. The reproductives are dominant in the colony.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Geophytes; large geophytes are eaten in situ, smaller ones carried to a communal store. Dig cooperatively to find food.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Obligate out-breeders. Breeders are the founding members of the colony, while their pups remain as nonbreeding helpers. Breed throughout the year, gestation length 78-92 days, mean litter size three (range one to five); have up to four litters annually. Breeders can live more than 10 years.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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