Wednesday 15 May
Ryukyu mole (Mogera uchidai)
Ryukyu mole fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Ryukyu mole description
The single existing specimen of the Ryukyu mole was captured in 1979, but it was not until 1991 that scientists described it and recognised a number of unique morphological features, in particular characters of the skull and dentition, that distinguished it from other Japanese moles (3) (4). The Ryukyu mole has dark greyish-brown fur, which is paler on the underparts (2), a relatively short tail, and nostrils that are directed outwards (5). Whilst some believe the Ryukyu mole should be placed in its own genus, Nesoscaptor, others believe it is more closely related to Mogera insularis (insular mole) from Taiwan (4), and thus should be called Mogera uchidai (5).
- Also known as
- Senkaku mole.
- Nesoscaptor uchidai. Top
- EDGE of Existence:
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- IUCN Red List (June, 2009)
- EDGE of Existence (April, 2008)
- Yokohata, Y., Ikeda, Y., Yokota, M. and Ishizaki, H. (2003) The effects of introduced goats on the ecosystem of Uotsuri-jima, Senkaku Islands, Japan, as assessed by remote-sensing techniques. Biosphere Conservation, 5(1): 39 - 46.
- Kawada, S. (2005) The historical notes and taxonomic problems of East Asian moles, Euroscaptor, Parascaptor and Scaptochirus, of continental Asia (Insectivora, Talpidae). Mammal Study, 30: 5 - 11.
- Motokawa, M., Lin, L.K., Cheng, H.C. and Harada, M. (2001) Taxonomic status of the Senkaku Mole, Nesoscaptor uchidai, with special reference to variation in Mogera insularis from Taiwan (Mammalia: Insectivora). Zoological Science, 18: 733 - 740.
- Stone, R.D. (1996) Eurasian Insectivores and Tree Shrews: Status, Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Insectivore, Tree Shrew and Elephant Shrew Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
- Yokohata, Y. (2005) A brief review of the biology on moles in Japan. Mammal Study, 30: 25 - 30.
- Yokohata, Y. (1999) On the “Urgent appeal for the conservation of the natural environment in Uotsuri-jima Island in Senkaku Islands, Japan”. In: Yokohata, Y. and Nakamura, S. (Eds) Recent Advances in the biology of Japanese Insectivora – Proceedings of the Symposium on the Biology of Insectivores in Japan and on Wildlife Conservation. Hiba Society of Natural History and Hiwa Museum for Natural History, Shobara and Hiwa.
- Japan Integrated Biodiversity Information System (April, 2008)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Ryukyu mole biology
As the Ryukyu mole is currently only known from a single specimen, nothing is known about this species’ behaviour, biology or ecology (6).Top
Ryukyu mole range
The Ryukyu mole is only known from the west coast of Uotsuri-jima, the largest of the Senkaku Islands, in the East China Sea (5).Top
Ryukyu mole habitatTop
Ryukyu mole status
Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Ryukyu mole threats
Despite being so poorly known, it is clear that this species, like others endemic to Uotsuri-jima, is threatened by the introduction of goats (Capra aegarus) (3) (7). A pair of goats was deliberately introduced to the island in 1978. Since then, the goat population has increased to over 300 individuals (8), a population size which can have a significant impact on an island measuring only 3.8 square kilometres (7). The natural habitat of the island has been obviously damaged by the goats’ foraging and trampling, with bare patches appearing in the island’s vegetation (3). Without action, the increasing goat population may impact the island ecosystem to such an extent that many endemic species will be pushed to extinction in the near future (3).Top
Ryukyu mole conservation
The Red List of Japan classifies the Ryukyu mole as Critically Endangered (9), but unfortunately, this listing has not yet resulted in any conservation action. The sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands is disputed, with Japan, China and Taiwan all claiming them as national territory, and this political conflict has made it almost impossible to conduct research on the islands, let alone implement conservation measures (3) (7). Action to prevent the further destruction of Uotsuri-jima’s unique biodiversity is urgently needed (3), but until the human conflict is resolved, the Ryuku mole will be left to slip further towards extinction.Top
Find out more
For further information on the Ryukyu mole see:
Authenticated (01/05/08) by Yasushi Yokohata, Faculty of Science, University of Toyama, Japan.
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.