Cephalophus zebra is found in primary forest areas in the mid-western part of Africa; It inhabits the regions of Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, but is most commonly distributed in the eastern central country of Liberia (Kingdon, 1997).
Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )
Cephalophus zebra, also known by the common name zebra duiker, has black vertical stripes over a cream colored area which is located dorsally on the mid-torso. The ventral surface is a solid cream color. The head, neck, rump, and limbs are red-brown with some patches of black found near the joints of the limbs (Kingdon, 1997).
Zebra duikers have a short, yet muscular stature, standing approximately 40-50 cm tall and weighing up to 20 kg (Kingdon, 1997). The limbs are short in relation to the body. Cephalophus zebra also has a pair of short and rounded horns, these horns taper sharply and point posteriorly (Kingdon, 1997). Sexual dimorphism occurs in this species with females being consistantly larger than male duikers (Wilson et. al., 1984).
Range mass: 15 to 20 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: female larger
- Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. London: Academic Press.
- Wilson, V., J. Schmidt, J. Hanks. 1984. Age Determination and Body Growth of the Common Duiker Sylvicapra- Grimmia Mammalia. Journal of Zoology, 202: 283-298.
Habitat and Ecology
The zebra duiker is found in primary forests from low-lying areas such as river valleys to hill-forest habitats (Kingdon, 1997).
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
Zebra duikers are fruit and foliage browsers. Their diet includes leaves, shoots, and seasonal fruits (Owen-Smith, 1997). Due to the duiker's short stature, they are not able to forage on fruits and leaves that exist in tall trees. Much of the food they consume is provided by climbing or flying animals such as monkeys, bats, or birds which will accidentally dislodge fruit or leaves to the forest floor during their normal foraging activities. Duikers will then feed upon this dropped vegetation (Kingdon, 1997).
Cephalophus zebra have a thickening of the frontal bone in the skull which seems to serve as a tool for cracking open hard-shelled fruits (Kingdon, 1997). This enables them to access a food source which is not available to many other forest inhabitants which cannot open these fruits.
Life History and Behavior
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Breeding in zebra duikers occurs about once a year with a gestation period of about 221 to 229 days. Females can mate again approximately ten days after giving birth (Schweers, 1984). The rather long gestation period is possibly an explanation for the larger size of females (Wilson et. al., 1984).
Scented secretions are found in several glands on the body. These secretions seem to aid in sexual communication. Male duikers secrete a more concentrated scent than that of the female (Burger et.al., 1990). The glands occur in the preorbital region, below the calcaneum on the hind legs, and in the groin (Kingdon, 1997).
It is thought that monogamous pair bonds are maintained (Kingdon, 1997).
Range number of offspring: 1 (low) .
Average number of offspring: 1.
Range gestation period: 7.37 to 7.63 months.
Average gestation period: 7.43 months.
Average birth mass: 1707.5 g.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Parental Investment: extended period of juvenile learning
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cephalophus zebra
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1994Vulnerable(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Vulnerable(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Vulnerable(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
- 1986Indeterminate(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
Zebra duikers are limited to primary forest areas which are currently becoming restricted due to logging and development. Cephalophus zebra is considered threatened due to forest destruction. In areas such as Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast populations are considered close to extinction (Kingdon, 1997).
US Federal List: threatened
CITES: appendix ii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable
Listed on CITES Appendix II.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Humans rarely encounter zebra duikers in the wild but they are sometimes hunted for their meat (Kingdon, 1997).
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material
The zebra duiker (Cephalophus zebra) 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.
Zebra duikers have gold or red-brown coats with 12-16 distinctive zebra-like stripes, dark markings on their upper legs, and russet faces. Newborns appear darker because they are born with their stripes closer together. An adult can grow to 90 cm (35 in) in length, 45 cm in height, and 20 kg (44 lb) in weight. Their horns are short and round with sharp pointed tips. They are about 4.5 - 5.0 cm long in males, and half that in females. Female body size is larger than males, possibly due to long gestation periods.
0/3 I, 0/1 C, 3/2-3 P 3/3 M = 30-32 total
Zebra duikers live in lowland primary rainforests, particularly by clearings and along forest margins. They can less commonly be found in hill and low-mountain forests.
They are ruminants which feed primarily on fruit, foliage, and seeds. Though rare, there is evidence that they may eat rodents on occasion. Their reinforced nasal bones enable them crack open the hard exterior of certain fruits.
The gestation period is anywhere from 221 to 229 days and the female is receptive to mating about 10 days after parturition. The mother will only birth one calf at a time. A newborn can weigh from 1270 to 1550 g at birth. During the first ten days after birth, referred to as the lactation period, a newborn grows at a rate of about 94 g/day. After that, the growth rate decreases considerably. Females reach sexual maturity at 9-12 months of age and males reach sexual maturity at 12-18 months. Cephalophus zebra is the only duiker species with the diploid number 2n=58.
Zebra duiker have displayed diurnal activity when living in captive situations, but mostly nocturnal in the wild. They are solitary animals that form pair bonds for breeding purposes. Both the male and female participate in the defense of young and home range. Adaptations include stripes and thickened nasal/frontal bones. The stripes may reduce injury to the more vulnerable abdominal area. The stripes may also make it more difficult for some predators to identify by breaking up the outline of their forms. The nasal bones allow for protection against blunt force during altercations.
They are hunted for bush meat. Their hides and other inedible parts can also be utilized by humans.
They are considered Vulnerable by the IUCN due to deforestation, loss of habitat, and overhunting within its range. Zebra duikers are common prey to Leopards, African Gold Cats, African Rock Pythons, and the Crowned Eagle. The zebra duiker has been described as the species least capable of adapting of all West African Duiker species and most likely to become extinct. The wild population is estimated at 28,000 individuals. This estimation is believed to be high and continues to decline. Having once been more widespread, it is now more common in protected areas, in particular the Gola National Park in Sierra Leone, Sapo National Park in Liberia, and Taï National Park in Ivory Coast. In a study conducted to identify areas of greatest conservation need, one zebra duiker was identified in an unprotected area of the Ziama Classified Forest of Guinea. This area is under consideration for classification as a national park and currently serves as a home to many species categorized as rare and threatened.
- IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). Cephalophus zebra. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
- Stuart, Chris & Tilde. (2006) Field Guided to the Larger Mammals of Africa, 3rd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
- Kingdon, Jonathan & Hoffmann, Michael eds. (2013) Mammals of Africa, Volume VI, Pigs Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffes, Deer and Bovids. Bloomsbury Publishing, London.
- Animal Diversity Web; http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Cephalophus_zebra/
- Pontier, D., et al, Postnatal growth rate and adult body weight in mammals: a new approach. (1989) Vol. 80:390-394. Springer-Verlag
- The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals; Jonathan Kingdon; Academic Press; San Diego, California; 1997
- Wilson, D.E. & Mittermeier R. A. eds. (2011) Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Vol. 2. Hoofed Mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- David Brugiere, Identifying Priority Areas for the conservation of antelopes in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, using the complementary approach. Fauna and Flora International, Oryx, 46(2), 253-259; 2012
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