Dik-diks are found in extreme southeastern Somalia, central and southern Kenya, northern and central Tanzania, southwestern Angola, and Namibia (Nowak 1983).
Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )
The dimensions of an adult dik-dik are as follows: body length is 520-670 mm, tail length is 35-55 mm, and height measured at the shoulder is 305-405 mm (MacDonald 1985). Its coloration is yellowish gray to reddish brown on its back and grayish to white on its belly. Horns are only found on males; they are ringed and stout at the base. They can be concealed at times by a tuft of hair on the animal's forehead. Accessory hooves are small and its tail is conspicuous. The most distinguishing feature of this particular species of dik-dik is that its snout is particularly elongated into a proboscis. This proboscis is an adaptation for cooling that allows venous blood to cool by evaporation from the mucous membrane into the nasal cavity during normal breathing or under great heat stress from nasal panting (Kingdon 1982).
Range mass: 3 to 6 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Average basal metabolic rate: 11.966 W.
Dik-diks inhabit arid bush country, not extending too far into the savanna. They need heavy shrubbery to hide in and feed on, but they do not require much water.
Terrestrial Biomes: scrub forest
Habitat and Ecology
Because dik-diks are so small, their metabolic requirement per kilogram is high and they must consume more food per kilogram of body weight than larger hoofed mammals. They share a habitat with kudu, which keep the shrubs within one meter of the ground, and with zebra, which keep down the grass (Kingdon 1982). This allows a food source to grow abundantly at an ideal level for the dik-dik. They require vegetation that is easily digested and low in fiber. Eighty percent of their diet comes from the leaves of trees and shrubs; 17 percent comes from grasses; and the remainder comes from herbs and sedges (Parker 1990). They mostly feed from dawn to mid-morning and from mid-afternoon until dark (Parker 1990). The only moisture they consume for months at a time is the dew on vegetation and the little moisture in the vegetation (Nowak 1991).
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 17.3 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Female dik-diks are sexually mature at 6 months of age and males are ready to reproduce at 12 months. Males and females form permanently mated pairs that occupy an area anywhere from 5 to 30 hectares (12.5-75 acres) (Nowak 1983). The male courts the female by running up behind her with his head and neck stretched and his muzzle pointing out in front. Copulation begins with the male standing on his hind legs behind the female and waving his forelegs at an acute angle to his own body in the air over her back (Kingdon 1982).
Mating System: monogamous
For the next 169 to 174 days the female gestates and bears a single offspring. This happens twice a year. Births peak from November through December and from April through May (the start and finish of the rainy season). Different from most other ruminants, the dik-dik is born with its forelegs laid back along-side its body, instead of them being stretched forward (Kingdon 1982). A female weighs approximately 560 to 680 grams at birth, while males weigh 725 to 795 grams (MacDonald 1985).
Breeding interval: Breeding occurs twice yearly.
Range number of offspring: 1 (low) .
Average number of offspring: 1.
Range gestation period: 5.63 to 5.8 months.
Average gestation period: 5.7 months.
Range weaning age: 3 to 4 months.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
Average birth mass: 600 g.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 304 days.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female: 213 days.
The mother lactates for 6 weeks, feeding her young for no more than a couple of minutes at a time. The young stay concealed for a time after birth, but grow quickly to reach full size at 7 months of age (Nowak 1983). The rate of survival for fawns is 50 percent (MacDonald 1985). The young are forced to leave the territory at about seven months of age; mothers run off their daughters and fathers run their sons out of the territory. The first few times the father attempts to keep his son from approaching his mother, the father dashes for him and the son drops to the ground and exposes his neck as a sign of submission. He is then allowed to stay a little longer in the area, but will soon be forced to leave (Kingdon 1982).
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Madoqua kirkii
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.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Madoqua kirkii
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
The reduction of habitat due to slash-and-burn cultivation has meant that the dik-dik's small size is increasingly favored because of the secondary growth that appears in the damaged area. The growth provides an ideal food source and hiding place for the dik-dik. (Kingdon 1982)
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
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Hunters dislike this animal because they flush and warn the larger game of the danger (Nowak 1991).
Dik-diks are extensively hunted in some areas for their skins, which are used in the production of gloves. It requires one hide to make one glove. (Parker 1990)
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material
|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (November 2010)|
Kirk's dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii) is a small antelope found in eastern and southwestern Africa. It grows to 70 cm (28 in) in length and weighs up to 7 kg (15 lb) when fully grown, standing to a shoulder height of about 35–45 cm (14–18 in). It has a reddish-brown head and a tail that is 3.5–5.5 cm (1.4–2.2 in) long.
It has a soft, grizzled gray to brown coat and eats a wide range of plants. It has hooves with rubbery undersides, which are effective when travelling over rocky terrain. Newborns are hidden for two to three weeks, and suckle for three to four months.
Genetic and behavioural evidence suggests Kirk's dik-dik exhibits monogamous behaviour. Genetic analysis of offspring indicates little nonpair parentage. Year-round, Kirk's dik-diks stay close within pairs, follow each other's activity patterns and spend more than half of their time with their partners, although males give no parental care to offspring. The males guard their mates closely during oestrus and over-mark all female scent. This behaviour reduces the likelihood of mating attempts by other males. However, these attempts do occur on occasion. Genetic monogamy in dik-diks is probably best explained by the behaviour of females: in contrast to many monogamous female birds, female dik-diks do not appear to seek to mate outside the pair-bond. However, dik-diks may be considered to be facultatively monogamous (monogamy is imposed by environmental constraints, such as lack of other partners), evidenced by the lack of parental care shown by the male partner.
Usually, four subspecies of Kirk's dik-dik are distinguished, but in fact they may represent three or more distinct species:
- M. k. kirkii Günther, 1880
- M. k. cavendishi Thomas, 1898 – Cavendish's dik-dik
- M. k. damarensis Günther, 1880 – Damara dik-dik
- M. k. hindei Thomas, 1898
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). "Madoqua kirkii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
- Brotherton PN, Pemberton JM, Komers PE, Malarky G. Genetic and behavioural evidence of monogamy in a mammal, Kirk's dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii). Proc Biol Sci. 1997 May 22;264(1382):675-81
- Grubb, P. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
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- Animal, Smithsonian Institution, 2005, pg. 253