Senkaku mole
Nesoscaptor uchidai

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Senkaku mole
Mass: 42.7 g
Body length: 129.9 mm
Tail length: 12.0 mm
Colour: dark grayish brown
Young: unknown

Habitat: unknown, but probably subtropical forests

Diet: unknown, but probably earthworms, insect larvae, snails and centipedes
Natural History:

The Senkaku mole is found on only one small island, Uotsuri-jima Island (4.3 square kilometers), in the Senkaku Islands. It is very difficult to approach this island, because of territorial conflicts over the area by China, Taiwan and Japan.

To date, only one female specimen has been obtained (in 1979), and most aspects on the natural history of this species are unknown. However, considering that Nesoscaptor uchadai has been isolated for a long time on Uotsuri-jima Island, it is thought that this mole may use a wider ecological niche than other fossorial moles, such as Talpa and Mogera spp. In fact, some natural history features of this species may be similar to those of the semifossorial shrew-moles!

The ecosystem on this island, including the Senkaku mole, is at risk of total destruction because of the damage caused by introduced domestic goats. Due to territorial conflicts over the Island, it is very difficult to study these affects on the Senkaku mole population (unfortunately, some researchers worry that it may already be extinct).

Uotsuri-jima Island

Click here for an enlarged view Senkaku mole - holotype specimen

Senkaku mole

Selected Readings:

Abe, H., S. Shiraishi and S. Arai. 1991. A new mole from Uotsuri-jima, the Ryukyu Islands. Journal of the Mammalogical Society of Japan, 15: 47-60.

Motokawa, M., L-K Lin, H-C Cheng and M. Harada. 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.

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  (Text © K. Campbell 1998-2009)