molerat, noun

Origin:
EnglishShow more Transferred use of general English molerat a name applied to any rodent of the Spalacidae, or (British dialect) to the common mole; named for its burrowing habits.
1. Any of several species of rodent of the Bathyergidae, especially a. the sand-mole Bathyergus suillus; b. the Common molerat (see sense 2 below); and c. the Cape molerat (see sense 2 below).
Note:
In early writings, molerats are usually called ‘moles’ (see quotation 1980).
[1795 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. I. 213The gardens both within and without the town, suffer great devastation from three or four different species of rats, which are generally termed moles...Moles also are found in the sand-downs near the town.]
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 57There is another kind of mole-rat..peculiar to this country and..known by the name of Bles moll (White-faced mole).
1901 W.L. Sclater Mammals of S. Afr. II. 77Georychus hottentotus, The Mole rat.
1912 State Sept. 229 (Pettman)The fur of the blesmols, mole rats, and sand moles is usually rusty grey above, whitish below, and without any sheen.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 322Mole rat, Georychus hottentotus. The members of this family are found only in Africa — Bathyergidae.
1951 A. Roberts Mammals 379Family Bathyergidae...Mole-rats.
1963 S.H. Skaife Naturalist Remembers 72In South Africa there is a family of rodents which have taken to a life underground and become mole-rats.
1972 C.M. Van der Westhuizen in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VII. 490Mole-rats, (Bathyergidae), an entirely African family of rodents, are widely distributed in Africa.
1980 C.J. Skead Hist. Mammal Incidence I. 20Mole and Molerat, These two groups, the first belonging to the Insectivora, the second to the Rodentia, have been confused in early writings. Where mole has been indicated for the tunnelers in the soft sandveld of the Western Province the blesmol, Georychus capensis or dune mole-rat, is intended.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 186The molerats are related more closely to the porcupines than to any other animals.
1992 Bennett & Jarvis in Afr. Wildlife Vol.46 No.4, 167The mole-rats, family Bathyergidae, are endemic to the African continent.
2. With defining word designating a particular species of molerat:
Cape dune molerat, dune molerat, the sand-mole, Bathyergus suillus;
Cape molerat, the rodent Georychus capensis; blesmol sense a;
Common molerat, the rodent Cryptomys hottentotus.
1986 R.H.N. Smithers Land Mammals 55Cape Dune Molerat,..Occurs only in the extreme southwestern parts of the Cape Province, in sandy soil.
1988 M. Branch Explore Cape Flora 24It can take days to dig up and follow the burrows of a huge Cape dune mole rat, for they run 30 centimetres below the surface and are about a third of a kilometre long.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 188Cape dune molerat,..They are called the Cape dune molerat as they are confined in their distribution to the Cape Province.
1972 C.M. Van der Westhuizen in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VII. 491Of the six genera of African mole-rats, three occur in South Africa. The Cape dune-mole...The Cape mole-rat (Georychus capensis)...The Common mole-rat (Cryptomys).
1988 R.A. Lubke et al. Field Guide to E. Cape Coast 303Cape molerat,..Georychus capensis.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 196Cape molerat,..The species was described originally from the Cape, hence the association of their name with this area. The Afrikaans blesmol refers to the conspicuous white frontal patch on the head.
1992 Bennett & Jarvis in Afr. Wildlife Vol.46 No.4, 167The Cape mole-rat is herbivorous, feeding on bulbs, corms and rootstocks.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 190Common molerats are capable of using a wide diversity of substrates...Over part of their range, in the southwestern Cape province, they occur sympatrically with Georychus capensis, Bathyergus suillus or B. janetta.
the sand-mole Bathyergus suillus;
the Common molerat (see 2 below); and
the Cape molerat (see 2 below).

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17951992