We assessed the distribution of Eastern moles Scalopus aquaticus in relation to loam soils under the hypothesis that the species' Canadian distribution is limited by soil type. We also explore the relationship between mole occurrence and the amount of forest cover at a local (49 m) and landscape (305 m) scale. We resurveyed 46 sites dispersed across much of the species' Canadian range in southern Ontario. These sites initially were inspected for mole sign (e.g., surface tunnels and earth mounds) in 1997, allowing us to compare between study periods to assess changes in species distribution. Eastern moles were eight times more likely to occur at sites with loam or sandy loam soils than at sites with other soil textures (e.g., coarse sands, clays). The likelihood of mole sign no longer occurring at a site in 2008 increased in the absence of loam or sandy loam soils. At sites with loam or sandy loam soils, including the proportion of forest cover within the surrounding landscape increased our ability to discriminate between sites with and without mole sign. We noted a 26% decrease in mole occurrence across our study area since it was surveyed more than a decade ago.
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Vol. 164 • No. 1