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SPECIES Spalax giganteus

Author:Nehring, 1898.
Citation:Sitzb. Ges. Naturf. Fr. Berlin: 169.
Common Name:Giant Blind Mole Rat
Type Locality:Russia, Daghestan, W shore of Caspian Sea, near Makhachkala (see Topachevskii, 1969).
Distribution:Steppes north of the Caucuses and west of the Caspian Sea (Puzachenko, 1993). Distribution summarized by other researchers includes the Kazakhstan S. uralensis (Gromov and Erbajeva, 1995; Topachevskii, 1969; Vorontsov et al., 1977b).
Status:IUCN Vulnerable.
Comments:Once included in S. microphthalmus (Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1951), but revised by Topachevskii (1969) as a separate species and listed as such by Pavlinov and Rossolimo (1987, 1998) and Pavlinov et al. (1995a). Geographic range is parapatric with that of S. microphthalmus (Corbet, 1978c). The taxon uralensis has usually been included in S. giganteus (e. g., Gromov and Erbajeva, 1995; Topachevskii, 1969; Vorontsov et al., 1977b), but analyses of cranial dimensions and proportions indicated significant differences between populations from west of the Caspian Sea (giganteus) and the isolated segment in Kazakhstan (uralensis) and prompted the recognition of uralensis as a species (Puzachenko, 1993), an arrangement anticipated by Topachevskii (1969) and accepted by Pavlinov et al. (1995a) and Pavlinov and Rossolimo (1998). Chromosomal traits (2n = 64, FN = 124) documented by Lyapunova et al. (1974). Reviewed by Gromov and Erbajeva (1995, Russian segment).
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