Mouflon

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Mouflon
Mouflon in the Buffalo Zoo
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Bovidae
Subfamily:Caprinae
Genus:Ovis
Species:Ovis orientalis
Binomial name
Ovis orientalis
Linnaeus, 1758
Synonyms

Ovis aries
Ovis musimon
Ovis gmelini

 
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Mouflon
Mouflon in the Buffalo Zoo
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Bovidae
Subfamily:Caprinae
Genus:Ovis
Species:Ovis orientalis
Binomial name
Ovis orientalis
Linnaeus, 1758
Synonyms

Ovis aries
Ovis musimon
Ovis gmelini

The mouflon (Ovis orientalis orientalis[1] group) is a subspecies group of the wild sheep Ovis orientalis. Populations of Ovis orientalis can be partitioned into the mouflons (orientalis group) and the urials (vignei group).[1] The mouflon is thought to be one of the two ancestors for all modern domestic sheep breeds.[2][3]

Description[edit]

A European mouflon male in the German forest

Mouflon have red-brown, short-haired coats with dark back-stripes and light-colored saddle patches. The males are horned; some females are horned while others are polled. The horns of mature rams are curved in almost one full revolution (up to 85 cm). Mouflon have shoulder heights of about 0.9 meters and body weights of 50 kg (males) and 35 kg (females).[4]

Range[edit]

Mouflon ram

Today mouflon inhabit the Caucasus, northern Iraq, and northwestern Iran. The range originally stretched further to Anatolia, the Crimean peninsula and the Balkans, where they had already disappeared 3,000 years ago. Mouflon were introduced to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Rhodes and Cyprus during the neolithic period, perhaps as feral domesticated animals, where they have naturalized in the mountainous interiors of these islands over the past few thousand years, giving rise to the subspecies known as European mouflon (O. aries musimon).

On the island of Cyprus, the mouflon or agrino became a different and endemic species only found there, the Cyprus mouflon (Ovis orientalis ophion). The Cyprus mouflon population contains only about 3000 animals. They are now rare on the islands, but are classified as feral animals by the IUCN.[5] They were later successfully introduced into continental Europe, including Spain, France, Germany, central Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, the Canary Islands, and even some northern European countries such as Sweden and Finland.

A small colony exists in the remote Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean, and on the Veliki Brijun Island in the Brijuni Archipelago of the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. In South America, mouflon have been introduced into central Chile and Argentina.[6] Since the 1980s, they have also been successfully introduced to game ranches in North America for the purpose of hunting; however, on game ranches, purebreds are rare, as mouflon interbreed with domestic sheep and bighorn sheep.[citation needed] Mouflon have also been introduced into the Hawaiian islands of Lanai and Hawaii as game animals.

Their normal habitats are steep mountainous woods near tree lines. In winter, they migrate to lower altitudes.[4]

Subspecies[edit]

Ewe

The scientific classification of the mouflon is disputed.[7] Five subspecies of mouflon are distinguished by MSW3:[1]

A mouflon was cloned successfully in early 2001 and lived at least seven months, making it the first clone of an endangered mammal to survive beyond infancy.[8][9][10] This demonstrated a common species (in this case, a domestic sheep) can successfully become a surrogate for the birth of an exotic animal such as the mouflon. If cloning of the mouflon can proceed successfully, it has the potential to reduce strain on the number of living specimens.

Mouflon in culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M. (2005). Mammal Species of the World A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-8221-4. 
  2. ^ Hiendleder, S; Kaupe, B; Wassmuth, R; Janke, A (2002). "Molecular analysis of wild and domestic sheep questions current nomenclature and provides evidence for domestication from two different subspecies". Proceedings. Biological sciences / the Royal Society 269 (1494): 893–904. doi:10.1098/rspb.2002.1975. PMC 1690972. PMID 12028771. 
  3. ^ Hiendleder, S.; Mainz, K.; Plante, Y.; Lewalski, H. (1998). "Analysis of mitochondrial DNA indicates that domestic sheep are derived from two different ancestral maternal sources: No evidence for contributions from urial and argali sheep". Journal of Heredity 89 (2): 113–20. doi:10.1093/jhered/89.2.113. PMID 9542158. 
  4. ^ a b MacDonald, David; Priscilla Barret (1993). Mammals of Britain & Europe 1. London: HarperCollins. pp. 220–221. ISBN 0-00-219779-0. 
  5. ^ International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (April 2009). "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". IUCN. Retrieved 2009.  More specifically in the island of Cyprus they became a new endemic species that only found there the "Cyprus mouflon" (Ovis orientalis ophion)
  6. ^ "Mouflon hunting in Chile and Argentina". 
  7. ^ Tonda, J. (2002). "Ovis ammon". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved November 19, 2005. 
  8. ^ Loi, P; Ptak, G; Barboni, B; Fulka Jr, J; Cappai, P; Clinton, M (2001). "Genetic rescue of an endangered mammal by cross-species nuclear transfer using post-mortem somatic cells". Nature biotechnology 19 (10): 962–4. doi:10.1038/nbt1001-962. PMID 11581663. 
  9. ^ Trivedi, Bijal P. (2001). "Scientists Clone First Endangered Species: a Wild Sheep". National Geographic Today. Retrieved February 21, 2006. 
  10. ^ Winstead E (October 12, 2001). "Endangered wild sheep clone reported to be healthy". Genome News Network. Retrieved April 10, 2007. 
  11. ^ E.g. Ptak, G; Clinton, M; Barboni, B; Muzzeddu, M; Cappai, P; Tischner, M; Loi, P (2002). "Preservation of the wild European mouflon: The first example of genetic management using a complete program of reproductive biotechnologies". Biology of reproduction 66 (3): 796–801. PMID 11870088. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]