Southern giraffe

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See Giraffe for details on how this proposed taxonomy fits within the currently accepted taxonomy of giraffes.
An Angolan giraffe in the savannahs of Etosha National Park, Namibia. Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis.jpg
An Angolan giraffe in the savannahs of Etosha National Park, Namibia.

The southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa), also known as two-horned giraffe, [1] is a proposed species of giraffe native to Southern Africa. [2] However, the IUCN currently recognizes only one species of giraffe with nine subspecies. [3] [4]

Contents

Southern giraffes have rounded or blotched spots, some with star-like extensions on a light tan background, running down to the hooves. They range from South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique. Their approximate population is composed of 44,500 individuals. [5]

All giraffes are considered Vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN. [6]

Taxonomy and evolution

Living giraffes were originally classified as one species by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, under the binomial name Cervus camelopardalis. Morten Thrane Brünnich classified the genus Giraffa in 1772. [7] Once considered a subspecies of the conglomerate Giraffa camelopardalis species, recent studies proposed the southern giraffe as a separate species of a reorganised genus Giraffa , under the binomial name Giraffa giraffa. [8] [5] [9] However, the taxonomic scheme has been criticized, and currently the IUCN recognizes only one species of giraffe with nine subspecies. [3] [4]

Subspecies

Two subspecies of southern giraffe are proposed.

Proposed Subspecies of Southern giraffe
SubspeciesDescriptionImage
Angolan giraffe (G. g. angolensis), also known as Namibian giraffeIs found in northern Namibia, south-western Zambia, Botswana, and western Zimbabwe. A 2009 genetic study on this subspecies suggests the northern Namib Desert and Etosha National Park populations each form a separate subspecies. [10] This subspecies has large brown blotches with edges that are either somewhat notched or have angular extensions. The spotting pattern extends throughout the legs but not the upper part of the face. The neck and rump patches tend to be fairly small. The subspecies also has a white ear patch. [11] :51 Around 13,000 animals are estimated to remain in the wild; and about 20 are kept in zoos. [5] Giraffa camelopardalis -Zambia-8.jpg
South African giraffe (G. g. giraffa), also known as Cape giraffeIs found in northern South Africa, southern Botswana, southern Zimbabwe, and south-western Mozambique. It has dark, somewhat rounded patches "with some fine projections" on a tawny background colour. The spots extend down the legs and get smaller. The median lump of males is less developed. [11] :52 Approximately 31,500 are estimated to remain in the wild, and around 45 are kept in zoos. [5] Giraffe standing.jpg

Descriptions

The Cape subspecies of the southern giraffe has dark, somewhat rounded patches "with some fine projections" on a tawny background colour. The spots extend down the legs and get smaller. The median lump of bulls is less developed. [11] :52

Distribution and habitat

The southern giraffes live in the savannahs and woodlands of northern South Africa, Angola, southern Botswana, southern Zimbabwe, Zambia and south-western Mozambique. After local extinctions in various places, the South African giraffes have been reintroduced in many parts of Southern Africa, including in Swaziland. They are common in both inside and outside of protected areas. [6]

Ecology and behavior

Southern giraffes usually live in savannahs and woodlands where food plants are available. Southern giraffes are herbivorous mammals. They feed on leaves, flowers, fruits and shoots of woody plants such as Acacia.

Threats

Southern giraffes are not threatened, as their population is increasing. [6]

Related Research Articles

Giraffe Tall African ungulate

The giraffe (Giraffa) is an African artiodactyl mammal, the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. It is traditionally considered to be one species, Giraffa camelopardalis, with nine subspecies. However, the existence of up to eight extant giraffe species has been described, based upon research into the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, as well as morphological measurements of Giraffa. Seven other species are extinct, prehistoric species known from fossils.

Okapi Species of mammal

The okapi, also known as the forest giraffe, Congolese giraffe, or zebra giraffe, is an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Although the okapi has striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. The okapi and the giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae.

Giraffidae A family of mammals belonging to even-toed ungulates

The Giraffidae are a family of ruminant artiodactyl mammals that share a common ancestor with cervids and bovids. This family, once a diverse group spread throughout Eurasia and Africa, presently comprises only two extant genera, the giraffe and the okapi. Both are confined to sub-Saharan Africa: the giraffe to the open savannas, and the okapi to the dense rainforest of the Congo. The two genera look very different on first sight, but share a number of common features, including a long, dark-coloured tongue, lobed canine teeth, and horns covered in skin, called ossicones.

Masai giraffe Subspecies of giraffe

The Masai giraffe, also spelled Maasai giraffe, also called Kilimanjaro giraffe, is the largest subspecies of giraffe. It is native to East Africa. The Masai giraffe can be found in central and southern Kenya and in Tanzania. It has distinctive, irregular, jagged, star-like blotches which extend to the hooves. A median forehead lump is usually present in bulls.

Northern giraffe proposed species of giraffe native to North Africa

The northern giraffe, also known as three-horned giraffe, is the type species of giraffe native to North Africa.

Pecora infraorder of mammals

The Pecora are an infraorder of even-toed hoofed mammals with ruminant digestion. Most members of Pecora have cranial appendages projecting from their frontal bones; only two extant genera lack them, Hydropotes and Moschus. The name “Pecora” comes from the Latin word pecus, which means “horned livestock”. Although most pecorans have cranial appendages, only some of these are properly called “horns”, and many scientists agree that these appendages did not arise from a common ancestor, but instead evolved independently on at least two occasions. Likewise, while the Pecora as a group are supported by both molecular and morphological studies, morphological support for interrelationships between pecoran families is disputed.

Rothschilds giraffe subspecies of mammal

Rothschild's giraffe is a subspecies of the giraffe. It is one of the most endangered distinct populations of giraffe, with 1,669 individuals estimated in the wild in 2016.

Bovini tribe of cattle

The tribe Bovini, or wild cattle are medium to massive bovines that are native to North America, Eurasia, and Africa. These include the enigmatic, antelope-like saola, the African and Asiatic buffalos, and a clade that consists of bison and the wild cattle of the genus Bos. Not only are they the largest members of the subfamily Bovinae, they are the largest species of their family Bovidae. The largest species are the gaur and wild water buffalo, both weighing between 700 and 1,200 kilograms. In addition to their massive size, they can be differentiated from other bovines and bovids with their short, thick legs and smooth horns presented in both sexes.

Genetic isolation is population of organisms that has little genetic mixing with other organisms within the same species. This may result in speciation, but this is not necessarily the case. Genetic isolates may form new species in several ways:

Kordofan giraffe subspecies of giraffe

The Kordofan giraffe is a subspecies of giraffe found in northern Cameroon, southern Chad, Central African Republic and possibly western Sudan. Historically some confusion has existed over the exact range limit of this subspecies compared to the West African giraffe, with populations in e.g. northern Cameroon formerly assigned to the latter. Genetic work has also revealed that all "West African giraffe" in European zoos are in fact Kordofan giraffe. Compared to most other subspecies, the Kordofan giraffe is relatively small at 5 to 6 meters, with more irregular spots on the inner legs. Its English name is a reference to Kordofan in Sudan. There are around 2,000 individuals living in the wild.

Bohlinia is an extinct genus of the artiodactyl family Giraffidae that lived during the late miocene in Europe and Africa. It was first named by the paleontologist Dr. W. Matthew in 1929, and contains two species, B. adoumi and B. attica. The species B. attica has been reclassified several times since its description being first named Camelopardalis attica and then reclassified as Giraffa attica.

West African giraffe subspecies of mammal

The West African giraffe, Niger giraffe or Nigerien giraffe, is a subspecies of the giraffe distinguished by its light colored spots, which is found in the Sahel regions of West Africa.

Synodontis camelopardalis, known as the giraffe synodontis, is a species of upside-down catfish that is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where it is only known to occur in the Tshuapa River. It was first described by Max Poll in 1971. The original specimens were obtained in Eala, on the Ruki River in the central Congo River Basin. The species name camelopardalis refers to the giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis, in reference to the coloration of the fish.

South African giraffe Subspecies of southern giraffe

The South African giraffe or Cape giraffe is a subspecies of giraffe ranging from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique. It has rounded or blotched spots, some with star-like extensions on a light tan background, running down to the hooves.

Rhodesian giraffe subspecies of mammal

The Rhodesian giraffe, more commonly known as Thornicroft’s giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe. It is sometimes deemed synonymous with the Luangwa giraffe. It is geographically isolated, occurring only in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley. An estimated 550 live in the wild, with no captive populations. The lifespan of the Rhodesian giraffe is 22 years for males and 28 years for females. The ecotype was originally named after Harry Scott Thornicroft, a commissioner in what was then North-Western Rhodesia and later Northern Rhodesia.

Reticulated giraffe subspecies of giraffe

The reticulated giraffe, also known as the Somali giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe native to the Horn of Africa. It lives in Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. There are approximately 8,500 individuals living in the wild. The reticulated giraffe was described and given its binomial name by British zoologist William Edward de Winton in 1899, however the IUCN currently recognizes only one species of giraffe with nine subspecies.

Nubian giraffe subspecies of giraffe

The Nubian giraffe is the nominate subspecies of giraffe. It is found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan. It is currently extinct in the wild of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Eritrea. The Nubian giraffe used to be widespread everywhere on Northeast Africa. The subspecies was listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN in 2018.

Angolan giraffe Subspecies of southern giraffe

The Angolan giraffe, also known as the Namibian giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe that is found in northern Namibia, south-western Zambia, Botswana, and western Zimbabwe.

Bubalina subtribe of cattle

Bubalina is a subtribe of the Bovini tribe that includes the various species of buffalo. These include the African buffalo, the anoas, and the wild water buffalo. Currently buffalos can be found naturally in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia. In addition to the living species, bubalinans have an extensive fossil record where remains have been found in much of Africa and Eurasia.

References

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  7. Dagg, A. I. (1971). "Giraffa camelopardalis" (PDF). Mammalian Species. 5 (5): 1–8. doi:10.2307/3503830. JSTOR   3503830.
  8. Petzold, Alice; Hassanin, Alexandre (2020-02-13). "A comparative approach for species delimitation based on multiple methods of multi-locus DNA sequence analysis: A case study of the genus Giraffa (Mammalia, Cetartiodactyla)". PLOS ONE. 15 (2): e0217956. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217956 . ISSN   1932-6203.
  9. Brown, David M.; Brenneman, Rick A.; Koepfli, Klaus-Peter; Pollinger, John P.; Milá, Borja; Georgiadis, Nicholas J.; Louis, Edward E.; Grether, Gregory F.; Jacobs, David K. (2007-01-01). "Extensive population genetic structure in the giraffe". BMC Biology. 5: 57. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-5-57. ISSN   1741-7007. PMC   2254591 . PMID   18154651.
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  11. 1 2 3 Seymour, R. (2002) The taxonomic status of the giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis (L. 1758), PH.D Thesis