Catalog Number: USNM 18965
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Preparation: Skin; Skull
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Locality: Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa
- Type: True, F. W. 1890 Sep 16. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 13: 227.
Habitat and Ecology
Very little is known of Abbott's Duiker ecology and behaviour. This is an extremely secretive species, occurring at low densities and very rarely seen even where it is considered relatively common. Furthermore, it appears to be mainly nocturnal and crepuscular (F. Rovero unpubl.) and, as with most duiker species, probably prefers dense, understory vegetation.
They have been seen browsing forest understory leaves, and marshy vegetation in forest clearing; also one individual photographed with a frog in its mouth.
Abbott's Duikers are known to be predated by leopards (Panthera pardus), and juveniles are probably predated by African Crowned Eagles (Stephanoetus coronatus) and pythons (Python spp). In the Udzungwa Mountains, the Lion (Panthera leo) and the Spotted Hyeana (Crocuta crocuta) are also potential predators (Rovero et al. in press, Moyer unpubl. data).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Cephalophus spadix
Below is a 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 and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cephalophus spadix
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Vulnerable(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
- 1994Vulnerable(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Vulnerable(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Vulnerable(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
- 1986Insufficiently Known(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
Udzungwa Mountains subpopulations:
Mwanihana Forest (177 km², 300-2,300 m, within Udzungwa Mountains National Park): locally common.
Luhombero Forest (250 km², 1,350-2,500 m, West Kilombero Forest Reserve/Udzungwa Mountains National Park): locally common (Jones, unpubl.).
Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve (180 km², 300-2,050 m): rare.
Matundu Forest Reserve (176 km², 300-1,000 m): rare.
Ukami forest (6 km², 1,100-1,600 m): locally common.
Nyumbanitu Forest Reserve (49 km², 1,350-2,500 m): scarce.
Southern Highlands: very rare, with some 40 individuals estimated in Mount Rungwe and adjacent Livingstone forest (T. Davenport and S. Machaga, unpubl.). They may also persist in a few other Southern Highland forests currently being surveyed.
A new population, estimated at a maximum of 50 individuals, was found in 2006 in the southern Rubeho Mountains (?Ilole forest, 30 km²), where the species is locally common (F. Rovero, unpubl.).
Population abundance in Mount Kilimanjaro and West Usambara is unknown.
Current work in the Southern Highlands employing hunters in environmental education initiatives in exchange for stopping hunting, has met with some success. It is too early to say if this will have a significant positive impact on Abbott's duiker populations, although it may prove a valuable model for conservation at other sites and is being carried out alongside the use of Abbott's Duiker as a flagship species in village education programmes.
Major conservation management measures that would enhance the protection of Abbott's Duiker are the expansion of the Udzungwa Mountains N.P. to include important forests currently unprotected, in particular Uzungwa Scarp, Iyondo and Matundu. Also necessary is the inclusion of Mount Rungwe within the new Kitulo N.P. and greater law enforcement enacted in those areas that are currently not adequately protected (such as Southern Highland forests, Usambara and Uluguru Mountains). Critical forest connections, such as the degraded Bujingijila corridor linking Mount Rungwe to Livingstone forest in Kitulo, must be adequately protected.
Abbott's duiker (Cephalophus spadix), also known as minde in Swahili, is a large, forest-dwelling duiker (small antelope) found only in a few scattered enclaves in Tanzania. It may be a subspecies of the yellow-backed duiker. It is very rare and the first photograph was taken as recently as 2003.
Abbott's duikers stand around 65 cm (26 in) tall at the shoulder and weigh about 55 kg (121 lb). This duiker has a glossy, dark brown coat which is lighter on the underside. The face is paler and gray in color, with a large red tuft on the forehead; the horns are thin and short (8 to 12 cm (3.1 to 4.7 in)). The secretive behavior of Abbott’s duiker, along with its largely nocturnal habits and preference for dense vegetation, means little is known about the ecology and behavior of this species. It has been observed feeding on leaves in the forest understory, and on vegetation in forest clearings, and may feed on fruits, flowers and moss. An Abbott’s duiker has also been seen with a frog in its mouth; duikers are known to occasionally capture and feed on live prey. The cryptic habits and alertness of Abbott’s duiker unfortunately does not protect it entirely from predation. Young Abbott’s duikers are probably preyed on by African crowned eagles (Stephanoetus coronatus) and pythons (Python species), while duikers of all ages may fall victim to leopards (Panthera pardus). Lions (Panthera leo) and spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) may also hunt this duiker species in some areas
Abbott's duiker is endemic to Tanzania, in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Mount Kilimanjaro, and South Highlands in scattered populations. They live mainly in wet forests and swamps between 1,700 and 2,700 m above sea level, but can sometimes wander to much higher altitudes at 4,000 m. They eat mainly fruit and possibly other plant matter. Abbott's duikers are nocturnal, spending the days at rest in thickets. They form regular pathways through the undergrowth, making them relatively easy to find. If threatened, they generally try to run, though they have been known to kill pursuing dogs when left with no escape route.
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