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Related to Talpidae: Soricidae, Tupaiidae, Vespertilionidae


(vertebrate zoology)
The moles, a family of insectivoran mammals; distinguished by the forelimbs which are adapted for digging, having powerful muscles and a spadelike bony structure.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(moles), a family of mammals of the order Insectivora. All talpids except the shrew moles, which are terrestrial, are adapted to a subterranean, fossorial way of life. The trunk is cylindrical, the external ear is absent, the anterior limbs are short, and the claws are long and flattened. The fur is short, smooth, velvety, and almost devoid of nap. Talpids have poor vision; the eyes of some species are covered with skin. The olfactory and tactile senses are well developed.

There are four subfamilies, with 17 genera (more than 30 species). The subfamily Uropsilinae (shrew moles) has three genera and is distributed in Tibet and China. The subfamily Urotri-chinae consists of six genera and is found in Southeast Asia, Japan, and North America (the star-nosed mole belongs to this subfamily). The subfamily Scalopinae, with two genera, is native to North America; the subfamily Talpinae, with six genera, is native to Europe and Asia.

Only moles of the subfamily Talpinae are found in the USSR, including four species of the genus Talpa and two of the genus Mogera. The best-known species is the common European mole (Talpa europaea). It is distributed in the forest or forest-steppe zone of the Russian Plain, in the Caucasus, and in Siberia. It dwells in meadows and mixed and deciduous forests and is encountered in orchards and gardens. The common European mole ascends high in the mountains.

Talpids live underground in a complex system of tunnels and almost never surface; in open places they build up characteristic mounds of earth. They feed primarily on earthworms but also consume insects and their larvae (including moths, beetles, click beetles, and June bugs). They reproduce usually once a year. Gestation is about six weeks. The young are born in litters that average in size from four to five (up to nine). At birth the young are hairless and helpless; however, they become self-sufficient as early as five or six weeks of age.

The Siberian alpine mole (Talpa altaica), which is larger than the European common mole, is distributed between the Ob’ and the Baikal Region. Two other species of the genus Talpa are found in the Caucasus. The fur of the common European mole and the Siberian alpine mole is valued commercially. The mogera, Mogera robusta, which measures 16–20 cm long, is found in the Far East. The mogera M. wogura is found in the extreme southwest of the Primor’e. The soil-forming activity of all talpids is beneficial. Hunting of Talpidae is regulated by law in the USSR and the countries of Western Europe.


Stroganov, S. U. “Sistematika krotovykh (Talpidae).” Trudy Zoologicheskogo instituta AN SSSR, 1948, vol. 8, issue 2.
Deparma, N. K. Krot. Moscow, 1951.
Okhotina, M. V. Dal’nevostochnyi krot i ego promysel. Moscow, 1966.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Year 2008 2009 2010 Total Talpidae Scalopus aguaticus 1 1 1 3 Soricidae Blarina brevicauda 14 5 0 19 Sorex cinereus 8 2 0 10 Cricetidae: Arvicolinae Microtus ochrogaster 0 48 14 62 Microtus pennsylvanicus 0 32 27 59 Cricetidae: Neotominae Peromyscus leucopus 7 54 4 65 Peromyscus maniculatus 0 5 26 31 Reithrodontomys 0 10 3 13 megalotis Muridae Mus musculus 0 2 2 4 Dipodidae Zapus hudsonius 1 1 21 23 Sciuridae Tamias striatus 1 0 0 1 Total 32 160 98 290 Trap-nights 1211 2924 2985 7120 Captures/trap-night 0.026 0.055 0.033 0.041 Table 2.--Total mist net captures of 10 bat species on the IAA conservation lands between 1997 and 2010.
species in gradient in SW Ohio Didelphimorphia 1 1 (1) Soricomorpha 1 3 (1) Lagomorpha 1 1 (1) Rodentia 6 17 (13) Carnivora 1 9 (6) Artiodactyla 1 1 (1) * We did not use trapping methods designed to detect Talpidae (moles).
Analysis of dental anomalies in the Siberian mole, Talpa altaica (Insectivora, Talpidae).
longirostris Bachman, southeastern SC shrew Family Talpidae (moles) S Condylura cristata (Rafinesque) NE star-nosed mole Scalopus aquaticus (Linnaeus), I eastern mole Order Chiroptera (bats) Family Vespertilionidae (vespertilionid bats) Eptesicus fuscus (Beauvois), big I brown bat Lasionycteris noctivagans I (LeConte), silver-haired bat Lasiurus borealis (Muller), red bat I L.
Examples of common urban-adapting mammals include fossorial species such as moles (family Talpidae) and ground- and tree-dwelling squirrels (family Sciuridae), as well as a variety of medium-sized (5-15 kg) to large (>20 kg) carnivores (Randa and Yunger, 2006; Gehrt et al., 2009).
Moles (Mammalia: Talpidae) typically have been reported to have sex ratios skewed in favor of males (e.g., Arlton, 1936; Godfrey and Crowcroft, 1960; Hoslett and Imaizumi, 1966; Yates and Pedersen, 1982), but the reverse also has been reported (Leftwich, 1972; Davis and Choate, 1993).