Nanger granti is found only in eastern Africa, where they range up to 2,000 meters in altitude.
Grant’s gazelles migrate seasonally over a large part of their range preferring higher, well-drained areas during the rainy season, and moving to lower, grassy valleys during the dry season. They are not dependent on water and, consequently, they migrate in the opposite direction of water-dependent species such as Thomson’s gazelles, wildebeest, zebras, and topi. In doing so, Grant’s gazelles avoid competition and are able to survive on vegetation found in this semi-desert environment. However, N. granti remain throughout the year in areas where there is a plentiful supply of food.
Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )
Grant's gazelles are large, pale gazelles with long horns and legs. They have a distinct rectangular, white shape on the hindquarters and a contrasting black stripe running down the thigh. Thomson’s gazelles (Eudorcas thomsonii), a closely related species, have some similar physical characteristics. They both possess white coloring on the hindquarters, but Grant’s gazelles have more white than Thompson’s gazelles. Nanger granti is paler and has bigger horns than Thompson's gazelles.
Males and females are dimorphic. Males are larger than females, and they have longer, thicker horns, ranging from 50 to 80 cm. The horns are ringed. In contrast to males, females have smaller horns (30 to 40 cm) that are thin and symmetrical.
The young are more darkly colored than adults.
Range mass: 45 to 65 kg.
Range length: 140 to 166 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; ornamentation
Grant’s gazelle habitat consists of semi-desert, open savannas, and treeless plains. They avoid acacia forests unless they are traversed by well-traveled paths.
Range elevation: 2500 (high) m.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland
Habitat and Ecology
Nanger granti are primarily browsers, rather than grazers. A large part of their diet consists of leaves and stems.
Since N. granti live in an arid environment, water conservation and consumption is important for survival. While Thomson’s gazelles uses evaporative cooling as a method of decreasing body temperature, Grant's gazelles allow their body temperature to rise with air temperature, dissipating body heat to the surrounding air when temperatures fall. At night they may also eat leaves, which contain more water during the cooler, nighttime hours.
Plant Foods: leaves; wood, bark, or stems
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )
Grant’s gazelles are prey for cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), and golden jackals (Canis aureus). They are also important herbivores in the habitats in which they live.
Nanger granti inadvertently affects the population density of pouched mice (Saccostomus mearnsi) in eastern Africa by depleting the supply of food for these rodents. In areas where Grant’s gazelles are less common, S. mearnsi populations flourish.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; creates habitat
While many predators are threats to N. granti, cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), and golden jackals (Canis aureus) are particularly fond of N. granti fawns. During the rainy season, when the ground is soft, cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) take advantage of the greatly reduced speed of these gazelles.
Nanger granti uses anti-predatory signals including alert posture and alert snorts. They avoid areas with a high density of predators and employ cooperative defense to protect vulnerable fawns.
- cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)
- wild dogs (Lycaon pictus)
- jackals (Canis aureus)
Life History and Behavior
Grant's gazelles communicate through territorial markings made with urine and feces, sex pheromones, and visual displays. They communicate the presence of a predator by alert posture, alarm snorts, and stamping.
The dark coloration around the female’s anus serves as source of visual attraction between a fawn and its mother.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Grant's gazelles have an average lifespan of around 12 years.
Status: wild: 12 years.
Status: wild: 12 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
When a female gazelle is in estrus, her urine contains sex pheromones indicating her reproductive status to males. In order to detect these, males perform flehmen behavior. Males curl their lips and suck air into their vomeronasal organs to detect whether sex pheromones are present. This behavior is done by N. granti as well as G. thomsonii.
If pheromones are detected, the male actively pursues the female. Courting takes place, in which the male prances with his head held high and his tail held horizontally. This eventually leads to copulation. However, if no sex pheromones are detected, the male does not further pursue the female.
Mating System: polygynous
Grant's gazelles reach sexual maturity at three years of age for males and about one and half years for females. Timing of the mating season depends on location. For example, in southern Kenya and Tanzania, mating takes place throughout the year. In the Serengeti, mating takes place in all months except June, July, October, and November. The gestation period is about 27 weeks.
Breeding interval: Females typically give birth once per year.
Breeding season: Gran't gazelles can breed throughout the year but local climate affects the timing of reproduction.
Range number of offspring: 1 (low) .
Average number of offspring: 1.
Range gestation period: 6 to 6.63 months.
Average gestation period: 6.3 months.
Average weaning age: 6 months.
Average time to independence: 1.5 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1.5 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 3 years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; induced ovulation ; viviparous
After birth, the fawn is completely cleaned of any fluids by the mother. The fawn then drinks its first meal of milk and seeks protection near its mother. If the mother is going out to graze, the fawn remains in a secure hiding place which is observable to the mother from where she is grazing. The mother-fawn relationship is the only persistent relationship in N. granti.
Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); post-independence association with parents
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Nanger granti
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
-- end --
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nanger granti
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
According to the IUCN, a threat to N. granti is human habitat destruction. Habitat loss is leading to population decreases of Grant's gazelles.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Lower Risk/conservation dependent(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
There seems to be no negative impacts caused by N. granti.
The inadvertent control of the pouched mice (Saccostomus campestris) populations by N. granti is advantageous to humans. In addition to being agricultural pests, pouched mice may spread disease. Grant's gazelles are sometimes hunted for meat and trophies and they are sought by ecotourists.
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material; ecotourism ; controls pest population
The Grant's gazelle (Nanger granti) is a species of gazelle distributed from northern Tanzania to South Sudan and Ethiopia, and from the Kenyan coast to Lake Victoria. Its Swahili name is Swala Granti.
Taxonomy and genetics
Grant's gazelle is more genetically related to Soemmerring's gazelle (N. soemmerringii) and Thomson's gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii) with Soemmering’s gazelle being the closest relative of the two species. Grant's gazelle shows high genetic variation among its populations, though there is no geographic isolation. The differentiation of the species may have evolved during repeated expansion and contraction of arid habitats during the late Pleistocene era in which populations were possibly isolated. Grant's gazelle was formerly considered a member of the genus Gazella within the subgenus Nanger before Nanger was elevated to genus status.
- N. g. brighti (Thomas, 1901) – Bright's gazelle
- N. g. granti (Brooke, 1872) – southern Grant's gazelle
- N. g. lacuum (Neumann, 1906) – northern Grant's gazelle
- N. g. petersi (Günther, 1884) – Peter's gazelle
- N. g. robertsi (Thomas, 1903) – Robert's gazelle
The Grant's gazelle stands 75–95 cm (30–37 in) at the shoulder. The females weigh from 35 to 50 kg (77 to 110 lb) and males from 50 to 80 kg (110 to 180 lb). Its coat is a beige orange on the back with a white belly. The Grant's gazelle looks similar to a Thomson's gazelle, except it has lyre-shaped horns which are stout at the base, clearly ringed, and measuring 45–81 cm (18–32 in) long. The subspecies are segregated by different morphological characters, such as horn shape and slight differences in coat colour. These differences are not indicative of ecological separation as with some species. Grant's gazelles are extremely fast; they can run 80 km/h (50 mph), but larger males do not exceed 72 km/h (45 mph).
The Grant's gazelle is found in East Africa and lives in open grass plains and is frequently found in shrublands; it avoids areas with high grass where the visibility of predators is compromised. They also occur in semiarid areas and are relatively well adapted to dry areas, relying on more browse or leafy material during dry seasons to supplement their intake of water. They are migratory animals, but travel in the opposite direction of most of the other ungulates, such as Thomson's gazelles, zebras, and wildebeest, which are more water dependent. They can subsist on vegetation in waterless, semiarid areas, where they face little competition.
Grant’s gazelles are generally mixed feeders that both browse and graze. Their average diet consists of 65.8% browse and 34.3% graze. Rainfall in their habitats seems to be the determinant of their diets. The Grant's gazelle's diet may also be responsible for the slow growth rates in the browsed plots. They get most of their moisture from the plants they eat, so they do not often have to drink water. Thus they can stay on the plains long after the rains end. From July to September, gazelles move deep into dense brush and wait for the next rains. They will eat red oats and small, tough plants, which are avoided by the other ungulates. This allows the gazelles to survive in the brush during the dry season. Grant’s gazelles eat mainly dicotyledons during the dry season and grass in the wet season.
The most common predators of the Grant's gazelle are cheetahs and wild dogs. Humans also tend to hunt gazelles. In the Serengeti, Grant's gazelle is a prey item for cheetahs, but the Thomson's gazelle is preferred. However, in Nairobi National Park, Grant's gazelle is preferred over Thomson's gazelle, making it an important resource to the cheetah. Jackals are major predators of fawns.
The Grant's gazelle is a gregarious, territorial, and migratory species. The home ranges of does overlap with those of the bucks. Only male gazelles are territorial. Male gazelles will herd all females that cross their territories. When the females are in estrus, they are strongly guarded by the dominant male, which prevents other males from mating with them. Any doe that tries to leave is aggressively herded back. Most of the time, the buck’s simple stance in relation to her is enough to keep the female from leaving.
Bachelor groups are made up of adolescent and bucks not holding territory. Any new members must perform intimidation displays to enter the group. However, bachelor groups tend to be very loose and members can leave whenever they want. The larger, older males with thick horns have the best chance of establishing a territory. Conflicts between adult males are usually solved with intimidation displays. The bucks circle each other and swing their necks from side to side, displaying their neck power. Neck strength is important in an actual fight and the male that cannot keep up yields. Gazelles of nearly equal neck strength are more likely to engage in actual combat. Fighting occurs in young bucks more often than older ones. Dominant bucks can simply run off subordinates rather than having to display to them.
Grant’s gazelles sexually mature at 18 months. Territory-holding bucks mate more than ones in bachelor groups. The courting ritual begins with a buck following a doe, waiting for her to urinate. When she does, the male does the Flehmen response to determine if she is in estrus. If she is, he will continue to follow her. The female will lift her tail, signaling she is ready to mate, and the male will mount her. The gestation period for the gazelle lasts for 198 days. Births peak in January and February. A doe will leave her herd and find a well-hidden place to give birth. Afterwards, the female eats the afterbirth and other fluids to keep the fawn clean and scentless. Females that have recently given birth will stay together for protection. The does nurse their fawns four times a day. Fawns are immobile for the first few days, so the mother stays close by. When the fawn can walk, it leaves with its mother to find a herd. Around this time, fawns will associate with one another in peer groups. A gazelle is weaned at six months, but will continue to associate with its mother until adolescence.
The Grant’s gazelle is still a common species, despite having been eradicated in certain areas. Major threats have been habitat destruction and hunting. The gazelle’s status as an unthreatened species is dependent on protection of the national parks and reserves where it lives, including Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, and Lake Turkana National Parks in Kenya. Estimates of the population range from 140,000 to 350,000. While certain areas have stable populations, overall the population trend is going downward.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grant's gazelle.|
|Wikispecies has information related to: Nanger granti|
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2008. Nanger granti. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1
- Nanger granti, MSW3
- Peter Arctander et al. (1996). "Extreme genetic differences among populations of Gazella granti, Grant’s gazelle, in Kenya". Heredity 76 (5). Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- Grant's Gazelle, Out of Africa
- Western, D., 1975. Water availability and its influence on the structure and dynamics of a savannah large mammal community. East African Wildlife Journal, vol.13, pp.265-286.
- C. A. Spinage et al. (1980). "Food selection by the Grant's gazelle". African Journal of Ecology 18 (1): 19. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1980.tb00267.x. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- A. J. Belsky (1984). "Role of small browsing mammals in preventing woodland regeneration in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.". African Journal of Ecology. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- Walther, F. R. (1972). "Social grouping in Grant's gazelle in the Serengeti National park". Zeitschrift Fur Tierpsychologie 31 (4): 348–403. PMID 4650796.
- Cloudsley-Thompson, J. L. (1969). The zoology of tropical Africa. New York, W. W. Norton.
- Spinage, A. A.; Ryan, C.; Shedd, M. (1980). "Food selection by the Grant's gazelle". African Journal of Ecology 18: 19–25. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1980.tb00267.x.
- M. W. Hayward et al. (2006). "Prey preferences of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) (Felidae: Carnivora): morphological limitations or the need to capture rapidly consumable prey before kleptoparasites arrive?". Journal of Zoology 270 (4): 615–627. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00184.x. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- Walther, F. R. (1991). "On herding behavior". Applied Animal Behaviour Science 29: 5–13. doi:10.1016/0168-1591(91)90235-P.
- Stelfox, J. B.; Hudson, R. J.; Groer, N. (1984). "Relationships among physical traits, age and social status in Thomson's and Grant's gazelles". Applied Animal Behaviour Science 13 (4): 347–357. doi:10.1016/0168-1591(85)90014-0.
- Estes, R. (1991). The Behavior Guide to African Mammals, Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates. Los Angeles, The University of California Press. pgs. 75-80
- Stuart, C. (1998). Field guide to the larger mammals of Africa. Sanibel Island, FL, Ralph Curtis Books.
- Estes, R. D. (1967). "The Comparative Behavior of Grant's and Thomson's Gazelles". Journal of Mammalogy 48 (2): 189–209. doi:10.2307/1378022.
- Walther, F. R. (1964). "Verhaltensstudien an der grantgazelle im Ngorongoro Crater". Zeitschrift Fur Tierpsychologie 22 (2): 167–208. PMID 5890863.