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Vulnerable (VU)

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Description

This evocative icon of Africa is an immediately recognisable member of the horse family, characterised by its striking pattern of black and white stripes, which continue through into its short, erect mane (2). The mountain zebra is discernable from other zebra species by the thin and relatively close-together vertical black lines on its neck and torso, which are narrower and more numerous than those of Burchell's zebra (Equus burchelli), and by the wide, horizontal bands on its haunches, which are broader than both those of Grevy's zebra (Equus grevui) and Burchell's zebra (2) (4). Unlike Burchell's zebra, the mountain zebra also lacks 'shadow stripes', and the stripes do not meet under the belly, which is instead white with a central black stripe (2). The most diagnostic features of this species, however, are the 'grid iron' pattern of narrow stripes across the rump and the square flap of skin, or dewlap, which exists on this zebra's throat (5) (6). Aptly named, the mountain zebra is a good climber on steep, rugged terrain and has evolved exceptionally hard and pointed hooves compared to other equines (2) (4) (7). The Cape mountain zebra (Equus zebra zebra) is the smallest living zebra, and differs from Hartmann's mountain zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae) by its smaller size (5) (8), slightly thicker black stripes (6), and minor striping variations on the rump (5) (8).

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Source: ARKive

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