Eastern Mole
(Scalopus aquaticus) #59-267

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Physical characteristics and distribution

The body length of S. aquaticus is 110-170 mm, tail length is 18-38mm. Adults weigh from 40-140 grams with males tending to be larger than females. Color ranges from black to gray to brown or copper. The fur is dense and velvety, covering all but the feet, tail and tip of the snout and hiding small pairs of eyes and ears.

The name aquaticus refers to a type of webbing between the toes rather than a preference for water, though this mole is a capable swimmer.

Habitats include well-drained soil in fields, meadows, pastures and open woodlands. S. aquaticus tunnels in search of food, leaving soil ridges from shallow tunnels. More permanent subterranean tunnels are constructed as passages to shelters and feeding grounds, and in the northern parts of its range, S. aquaticus builds deeper tunnels in the winter than in the summer, digging as much as 4.5 meters in an hour. Ranges average 1.09 ha. for males and 0.28 ha. for females.

The diet of S. aquaticus consists mainly of earthworms, but includes other insects and their larvae along with some vegetable matter.

Breeding occurs once per year and gestation varies from 30-45 days. Litter size is between 2 and 5, with the offspring becoming independent at about 1 month. They are sexually mature by the following breeding season.

S. aquaticus is found in N Tamaulipas and N Coahuila (Mexico) through E USA to Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Description of the brain

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

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