Maxwell's duiker

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Maxwell's duiker [1]
Stavenn Cephalophus maxwellii.jpg
CITES Appendix II (CITES) [3]
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Philantomba
P. maxwellii
Binomial name
Philantomba maxwellii
(C. H. Smith, 1827)
Philantomba maxwellii.png
The range map of Maxwell's duiker
  • Cephalophus maxwelliiHamilton Smith, 1827
  • Antilope philantombaC. H. Smith, 1827
  • Antilope maxwelliiC. H. Smith, 1827

The Maxwell's duiker (Philantomba maxwellii) is a small antelope found in western Africa.




Blue duiker

Maxwell's duiker

Walter's duiker

Phylogenetic relationships of Maxwell's duiker, including Walter's duiker [4]

The scientific name of Maxwell's duiker is Philantomba maxwelli. It is classified in the genus Philantomba along with the blue duiker (P. monticola) and Walter's duiker (P. walteri). It was first described by English naturalist Charles Hamilton Smith in 1827. [5] [6] The species is sometimes treated as a species of Cephalophus , [2] [7] another genus of duikers, although Philantomba has been recognised as a genus by zoologists such as Peter Grubb and Colin Groves. [8] Theodor Haltenorth has considered this species to be a race of the blue duiker due to their identical features. [5] [6]

In 2012, Anne R. Johnston (of the University of Orleans) and colleagues constructed a cladogram of the subfamily Cephalophinae (duiker), that includes the three genera Cephalophus , Philantomba and Sylvicapra , based on mitochondrial analysis. Philantomba was shown to be monophyletic. It is sister to the rest of the subfamily, from which it diverged nearly 8.73 million years ago (in the late Miocene). Maxwell's duiker split from blue duiker 2.68 to 5.31 million years ago. [9] This cladogram, however, did not include the newly discovered Walter's duiker. Marc Colyn (of the University of Rennes 1) and colleagues, who had discovered this species in 2010, had prepared a similar cladogram that included it. [4]

Three subspecies are identified: [5] [7] [10]


An illustration of Maxwell's duiker from The Book of Antelopes (1894) The book of antelopes (1894) Cephalophus maxwelli.png
An illustration of Maxwell's duiker from The Book of Antelopes (1894)

Maxwell's duiker is a small antelope, as are the others in its genus. It is characterised by a slightly elevated back, short legs, a small head and short, round ears. According to measurements by Haltenorth, the head-and-body length is typically between 63 and 100 centimetres (25 and 39 in), and between 55 and 90 centimetres (22 and 35 in) excluding the head. It reaches 35–38 centimetres (14–15 in) at the shoulder, and weighs around 8–10 kilograms (18–22 lb). The tail, 8–10 centimetres (3.1–3.9 in) long, is bushy and lined with white. [7] [11] The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, as the females are slightly larger than the males. [10] The coat is grayish brown, sometimes with a bluish tinge; the colour varies with individuals. A short tuft of hair circles the base of the horns and covers the area between them. The underbelly, in contrast with the dorsal parts, is generally white. Four teats are present. [7]

Males, and sometimes females, possess straight, short, spiky horns. Heavily ringed and thick at the base, these measure 3.5–6 centimetres (1.4–2.4 in) in length. [7] [11] The length of the horns of the subspecies P. m. maxwelli rises from east to west, though this is not apparent in Ghana and the longest horns are observed in the western extremes of the range. The proportion of horned females reduces sharply from 100 percent in Nigeria and Togo to 5 out of 80 in Liberia. [12] P. m. libriensis females generally lack horns; in populations where female grow horns, the males are observed to have longer horns. [7] The broad skull, with a narrow, bare muzzle, is nearly 12.7 centimetres (5.0 in) long and 6.4 centimetres (2.5 in) wide. [13] In P. m. maxwelli, the skull measurements tend to increase from east to west between Togo and Liberia, though this trend is not observed in the eastern and western extremes of the range. [12]

The blue duiker bears a striking resemblance to Maxwell's duiker. However, the latter is nearly twice as large and heavier as the former, with a larger skull. While colouration is more uniform in Maxwell's duiker, the blue duiker shows two different colourations - there is a marked transition from the dorsal parts and the flanks to the rump. Another point of difference is the pedal gland (in the hooves), which has a simpler opening in the blue duiker. [7] [10] [12]

Habitat and distribution

The Maxwell duiker prefers areas with fresh and dense growth of shrubs and other plants. It inhabits the warm, moist lowland forests prevalent in western African countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The habitat also includes forest fringes, secondary, scrub and gallery forests and farmlands. The western limits of the range lie in southwestern Senegal and western Gambia, from where it extends as far east as the Cross River in Nigeria. [2] [14]


The Maxwell duiker's diet mostly consists of fruits, seeds, secondary vegetation and shrubs. Maxwell's duiker and other duikers present in the same geographical area were found to have similar diets. Diets are subject to seasonal changes, with a shift towards vegetation and parts of flowers at the beginning of winter.

The animal's small size is reflected in its food choices. Due to its smaller mouth, body anatomy, and masseter muscle, it tends to concentrate on food items up to 3 cm in diameter, while larger species eat items up to 6 cm in diameter. [15]


Maxwell's duiker has a preorbital gland known to be used for marking objects and members of the same species, especially by dominant males. It was one of the first animals observed using its preorbital gland for scent marking. It was shown that scent marking is also associated with individual recognition or social appeasement as male and females will often press these glands together on both sides of each other's faces. [16]

Reproduction and Lifespan

Calves are born mainly during the two dry seasons in Africa. Females birth a single calf once per year, after a gestation period of 120 days. Offspring usually weigh around 1/10 the weight of their mother and are similar in color to calves from other duiker species. Maxwell's duikers can survive up to 10 years in captivity. [17]

Threats and conservation

Maxwell's duiker is listed as Least Concern, though with the population trend decreasing, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). [2]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Duiker</span> Subfamily of antelopes

A duiker is a small to medium-sized brown antelope native to sub-Saharan Africa, found in heavily wooded areas. The 22 extant species, including three sometimes considered to be subspecies of the other species, form the subfamily Cephalophinae or the tribe Cephalophini.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal antelope</span> Species of mammal

The royal antelope is a West African antelope recognized as the world's smallest. It was first described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758. It stands up to merely 25 cm (10 in) at the shoulder and weighs 2.5–3 kg (5.5–6.6 lb). A characteristic feature is the long and slender legs, with the hindlegs twice as long as the forelegs. Horns are possessed only by males; the short, smooth, spiky horns measure 2.5–3 cm (0.98–1.18 in) and bend backward. The soft coat is reddish to golden brown, in sharp contrast with the white ventral parts. In comparison to Bates's pygmy antelope, the royal antelope has a longer muzzle, broader lips, a smaller mouth and smaller cheek muscles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bay duiker</span> Species of mammal

The bay duiker, also known as the black-striped duiker and the black-backed duiker, is a forest-dwelling duiker native to western and southern Africa. It was first described by British zoologist John Edward Gray in 1846. Two subspecies are identified. The bay duiker is reddish-brown and has a moderate size. Both sexes reach 44–49 cm (17–19 in) at the shoulder. The sexes do not vary considerably in their weights, either; the typical weight range for this duiker is 18–23 kg (40–51 lb). Both sexes have a pair of spiky horns, measuring 5–8 cm (2.0–3.1 in). A notable feature of this duiker is the well-pronounced solid stripe of black extending from the back of the head to the tail.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Black duiker</span> Species of mammal

The black duiker, also known as tuba in Dyula, is a forest-dwelling duiker found in the southern parts of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, and Nigeria.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blue duiker</span> Species of mammal

The blue duiker is a small antelope found in central, southern and eastern Africa. It is the smallest species of duiker. The species was first described by Swedish naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg in 1789. 12 subspecies are identified. The blue duiker reaches 32–41 centimetres (13–16 in) at the shoulder and weighs 3.5–9 kilograms (7.7–19.8 lb). Sexually dimorphic, the females are slightly larger than the males. The dark tail measures slightly above 10 centimetres (3.9 in). It has short, spiky horns, around 5 centimetres (2.0 in) long and hidden in hair tufts. The subspecies show a great degree of variation in their colouration. The blue duiker bears a significant resemblance to Maxwell's duiker.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jentink's duiker</span> Species of mammal

Jentink's duiker, also known as gidi-gidi in Krio and kaikulowulei in Mende, is a forest-dwelling duiker found in the southern parts of Liberia, southwestern Côte d'Ivoire, and scattered enclaves in Sierra Leone. It is named in honor of Fredericus Anna Jentink.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oribi</span> Species of mammal

The oribi is a small antelope found in eastern, southern and western Africa. The sole member of its genus, it was described by the German zoologist Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann in 1783. While this is the only member in the genus Ourebia, eight subspecies are identified. The oribi reaches nearly 50–67 centimetres (20–26 in) at the shoulder and weighs 12–22 kilograms (26–49 lb). It possesses a slightly raised back, and long neck and limbs. The glossy, yellowish to rufous brown coat contrasts with the white chin, throat, underparts and rump. Only males possess horns; the thin, straight horns, 8–18 centimetres (3.1–7.1 in) long, are smooth at the tips and ringed at the base.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Black-fronted duiker</span> Species of mammal

The black-fronted duiker is a small antelope found in central and west-central Africa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red-flanked duiker</span> Species of mammal

The red-flanked duiker is a species of small antelope found in western and central Africa in countries as far apart as Senegal and Sudan. Red-flanked duikers grow to almost 15 in (38 cm) in height and weigh up to 31 lb (14 kg). They have russet coats, with greyish-black legs and backs, and white underbellies. They feed on leaves, fallen fruits, seeds and flowers, and sometimes twigs and shoots. The adults are territorial, living in savannah and lightly wooded habitats, and the females usually produce a single offspring each year. They have lifespans of ten to fifteen years in captivity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zebra duiker</span> Species of mammal

The zebra duiker is a small antelope found primarily in Liberia, as well as the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and occasionally Guinea. They are sometimes referred to as the banded duiker or striped-back duiker. It is believed to be one of the earliest duiker species to have evolved.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yellow-backed duiker</span> Species of antelope

The yellow-backed duiker is a shy, forest-dwelling antelope of the order Artiodactyla, from the family Bovidae. Yellow-backed duikers are the most widely-distributed of all duikers. They are found mainly in Central and Western Africa, ranging from Senegal and Gambia on the western coast, through to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to western Uganda; their distribution continues southward into Rwanda, Burundi, and most of Zambia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red forest duiker</span> Species of mammal

The red forest duiker, Natal duiker, or Natal red duiker is a small antelope found in central to southern Africa. It is one of 22 extant species form the subfamily Cephalophinae. While the red forest duiker is very similar to the common duiker, it is smaller in size and has a distinguishing reddish coloring. Additionally, the red forest duiker favors a denser bush habitat than the common duiker. The Natal red duiker is more diurnal and less secretive than most forest duikers, so therefore it is easier for them to be observed. In 1999, red forest duikers had an estimated wild population of 42,000 individuals.

Sapo National Park is a national park in Sinoe County, Liberia. It is the country's largest protected area of rainforest, was the first national park established in the country, and contains the second-largest area of primary tropical rainforest in West Africa after Taï National Park in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire. Agriculture, construction, fishing, hunting, human settlement, and logging are prohibited in the park.

Mont Sângbé National Park is a national park in Ivory Coast. The Encyclopædia Britannica lists it among the "principal national parks of the world". It acquired national park status in 1976.

<i>Philantomba</i> Genus of mammals

Philantomba is a mammal genus which contains three species of duiker, a type of small antelope. The three species are Maxwell's duiker, the blue duiker and the Walter's duiker.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Walter's duiker</span> Species of deer

Walter's duiker is a species of duiker found in Togo, Benin and Nigeria. It was described in 2010. Its name commemorates Professor Walter Verheyen, who was the first to obtain a specimen of this species of duiker from Togo in 1968.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Preorbital gland</span> Paired exocrine gland in many hoofed animals

The preorbital gland is a paired exocrine gland found in many species of artiodactyls, which is homologous to the lacrimal gland found in humans. These glands are trenchlike slits of dark blue to black, nearly bare skin extending from the medial canthus of each eye. They are lined by a combination of sebaceous and sudoriferous glands, and they produce secretions which contain pheromones and other semiochemical compounds. Ungulates frequently deposit these secretions on twigs and grass as a means of communication with other animals.


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