Cryptochloris wintoni Broom, 1907:264

De Winton's golden mole



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

C. wintoni and C. zyli may be conspecific (Mynhardt et al., 2023).


Generic placement

"Recent (but still unpublished) phylogenetic analyses based on both morphological and genetic data support the allocation of these taxa to separate species, and justify synonymizing Cryptochloris as a subgenus of Chrysochloris, corroborating the close phylogenetic association of these taxa reported by Asher et al. (2010)."

(Bronner, 2015)


Conservation Status

Last record: 1907 (Fisher & Blomberg, 2012; Lee et al., 2017; Martin et al., 2023); 1937 (Bronner, 2015; Bronner & Asher, 2016; Mynhardt et al., 2023)

Rediscovered in June 2021 (Mynhardt et al., 2023)

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)


Previouslly restricted to the type locality of Port Nolloth, Northern Cape Province, where it had not been seen for more than 50 years, the species was rediscovered using eDNA (and a single pitfall trap) in June 2021.



Northern Cape Province, South Africa

Type locality: Port Nolloth, Little Namaqualand, Northern Cape Province, South Africa


Anatomy & Morphology

Total length 9cm (Stuart & Stuart, 2015)


Biology & Ecology




Only known from 3 specimens (Bronner, 2008).






Original scientific description:

Broom, R. (1907). On some new species of Chrysochloris. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (7) 19: 262-268.

Other references:

Asher, Robert J., and Avery, D. Margaret. (2010). New Golden Moles (Afrotheria, Chrysochloridae) from the Early Pliocene of South Africa. Palaeontologia Electronica 13(1); 3A: 12p; [radiograph of the forelimb of Cryptochloris wintoni]

Asher, R. J., Maree, S., Bronner, G. N., Bennett, N. C., Bloomer, P., Czechowski, P., Meyer, M. and Hofreiter, M. (2010). A phylogenetic estimate for golden moles (Mammalia, Afrotheria, Chrysochloridae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 10: 69.

Avery, D. M. and Avery, G. (2011). Micromammals in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, past and present. African Natural History 7(1): 9-39.

Bronner, G. N. (1997). Golden moles (Chrysochloridae). In: The Complete Book of Southern African Mammals, (eds) G. Mills & L. Hes. Struik Publishers, Cape Town

Bronner, G. N. (2008). Cryptochloris wintoni. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. ( Downloaded on 09 September 2012.

Bronner, G. N. (2013). Cryptochloris wintoni De Winton's Goldenmole, pp. 250-251. In: Kingdon J, Happold D, Hoffmann M, Butynski T, Happold M, Kalina J, editors. Mammals of Africa, Volume I: Introductory Chapters and Afrotheria. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Bronner, G. N. and Asher, R. (2016). A conservation assessment of Cryptochloris wintoni. In: Child, M., Roxburgh, L., Do Linh San, E., Raimondo, D. and Davies-Mostert, H. (eds.). The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South Africa: South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust

Broom, R. (1950). Some further advances in our knowledge of the Cape golden moles. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 21: 234-241.

Cowan, O. S., Henry, D. A. W. and Little, I. T. (2020). Using applied research to conserve secretive Afrotheria: species distribution modelling to inform Environmental Impact Assessments in South Africa. Afrotherian Conservation 16: 2-4.

Ellerman, J. R., Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. and Hayman, R. W. (1953). Southern African Mammals 1758 to 1951: A Reclassification. London: British Museum (Natural History). 363 pp.

Fisher, Diana O. and Blomberg, Simon P. (2012). Inferring Extinction of Mammals from Sighting Records, Threats, and Biological Traits. Conservation Biology 26(1): 57-67.

Gelderblom, C. M. and Bronner, G. N. (1995). Patterns of distribution and protection status of the endemic mammals in South Africa. African Zoology 30(3): 127-135.

Lee, T. E., Fisher, D. O., Blomberg, S. P. and Wintle, B. A. (2017). Extinct or still out there? Disentangling influences on extinction and rediscovery helps to clarify the fate of species on the edge. Global Change Biology 23(2): 621-634.

Martin, Thomas E., Bennett, Gareth C., Fairbairn, Andrew J. and Mooers, A. Ø. (2023). ‘Lost’ taxa and their conservation implications. Animal Conservation 26(1): 14-24. [Appendix S2 (1617 taxa not seen >10 years); Appendix S3 (562 taxa not seen >50 years)]

Meester, J. A. J. (1974). Family Chrysochloridae, pp. 1-7. In: Meester, J. A. J. and Setzer, H. W. (eds.). The Mammals of Africa: An Identification Manual. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.

Meester, J. A. J. (1976). South African red data book–small mammals. S. Afr. Natl. Sci. Programmes Rept. 11: vi + 59 pp.

Mynhardt, S., Matthew, E., le Roux, J.P. et al. (2023). Environmental DNA from soil reveals the presence of a “lost” Afrotherian species. Biodivers. Conserv.

Mynhardt, Samantha and Theron, Cobus. (2021). Diamond mine or gold mine? Using eDNA to identify golden moles along the west coast of South Africa. Afrotherian Conservation 17: 14-16.

Siegfried, W. R. and Brown, C. A. (1992). The distribution and protection of mammals endemic to southern Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 22(1): 11-16.

Simonetta, Alberto M. (1968). A new golden mole from Somalia with an appendix on the taxonomy of the family Chrysochloridae (Mammalia, Insectivora). Monitore Zoologico Italiano. Supplemento, 2: 27-55.

Skinner, John Dawson and Chimimba, Christian T. (2005). The Mammals of the Southern African Sub-region, 3rd ed. Cape Town, South Africa: Cambridge University Press. [15 November]

Skinner, John Dawson and Smithers, R. H. N. (1990). Mammals of the Southern African Subregion, 2nd edition. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.

Stuart, Chris T. and Stuart, Mathilde. (2015). Stuarts' Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa: Including Angola, Zambia & Malawi. Penguin Random House South Africa. [27 March]

Meester, J. (1974). Family Chrysochloridae. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Meester, J. (1976). South African red data book–small mammals. S. Afr. Natl. Sci. Programmes Rept. 11: vi + 59 pp.


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