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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(mole rats), a family of mammals of the order Rodentia. Mole rats are approximately 35 cm long and have a short tail. The external ears and eyes are rudimentary, with the eyeballs concealed under the skin. The dense, soft fur varies in color from pale yellow to brown.

Mole rats are burrowers, digging complex systems of underground tunnels. They inhabit steppes, forest steppes, semi-steppes, and mountain meadows in Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. In mountains they live at elevations reaching 2,500 m.

There are two genera, embracing eight species. The best-known species is the Russian mole rat (Spalax microphthalmus), which inhabits the steppes of the European USSR. Mole rats feed on the underground parts of plants and store food for the winter. They produce from one to three offspring once or twice a year. Mole rats do sporadic damage by breaking the soil, destroying root crops, and gnawing tree seedlings. [23–1667–]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Zima, "The chromosome banding pattern in two cytotypes (2n=36 and 38) of blind mole rats from Turkey (Mammalia: Spalacidae)," Zoology in the Middle East, vol.
Soldatovic, "Distribution range and evolution of chromosomal forms in the Spalacidae of the Balkan Peninsula and bordering regions," Journal of Biogeography, vol.
Matur et al., "Phylogeny of species and cytotypes of mole rats (Spalacidae) in Turkey inferred from mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences," Folia Zoologica, vol.
1998: Morphological and karyological peculiarities of Spalax ehrenbergi Nehring, 1898 (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from Sirnak province.
2003: A study on the morphology and karyology of Nannospalax nehringi (Satunin, 1898) (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from north-eastern Anatolia, Turkey.
2004a: A new species of mole rat, Nannospalax munzuri sp.n., and karyotype of Nannospalax tuncelicus (Coskun, 1996) (Rodentia: Spalacidae) in eastern Anatolia.
2004b: Morphological and karyological characteristics of Nannospalax ehrenbergi (Nehring, 1898) (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from Hatay Province, Turkey.
2014: Nucleolar organizer region distribution in Nannospalax ehrenbergi (Nehring, 1898) (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from Iraq.
Karyotype of Nannospalax ehrenbergi (Nehring, 1898) (Rodentia: Spalacidae) in the Mosul Province, Iraq.
Nucleolar organizer region distribution in Nannospalax ehrenbergi (Nehring, 1898) (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from Iraq.
A new karyotype and chromosomal banding pattern in Nannospalax ehrenbergi (Nehring, 1898) (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from southeast Anatolia, Turkey.
Morphological Properties of Nannospalax (Rodentia: Spalacidae) Distributed in North-Iraq.