Known prey organisms
Based on studies in:
USA: California, Cabrillo Point (Grassland)
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
- L. D. Harris and L. Paur, A quantitative food web analysis of a shortgrass community, Technical Report No. 154, Grassland Biome. U.S. International Biological Program (1972), from p. 17.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:167
Specimens with Barcodes:102
Species With Barcodes:8
- This article refers to the sheep genus. For the species commonly referred to simply as "sheep", see sheep (Ovis aries).
Ovis is a genus of mammals, part of the goat-antelope subfamily of the ruminant family Bovidae. Its five or more highly sociable species are known as sheep. The domestic sheep is one member of the genus, and is thought to be descended from the wild mouflon of central and southwest Asia.
Female sheep are called ewes, males are called rams (sometimes also called bucks or tups), and young sheep are called lambs. The adjective applying to sheep is ovine, and the collective term for sheep is flock or mob. The term herd is also occasionally used in this sense. Many specialist terms relating to domestic sheep are used.
Sheep are usually stockier than most other bovines, and their horns are usually divergent and curled into a spiral. Sheep have scent glands on their faces and feet. Communication through the scent glands is not well understood, but is thought to be important for sexual signaling. Males can smell females that are fertile and ready to mate, and rams mark their territories by rubbing scent on rocks. Like other ruminants, they have four-chambered stomachs, which play a vital role in digesting food; they eructate, and rechew the cud to increase digestion. Domestic sheep are used for their wool, milk, and meat (which is called mutton or lamb).
Five species and numerous subspecies of sheep are currently recognised, although some subspecies have also been considered full species. These are the main ones:
|Ovis aries aries||Domestic sheep|
|Ovis aries orientalis||Mouflon|
|Ovis aries vignei||Urial|
|Ovis canadensis||Bighorn sheep|
|Ovis dalli||Dall sheep|
|Ovis nivicola||Snow sheep|
Wild sheep are mostly found in hilly or mountainous habitats. They are fairly small compared to other ungulates; in most species, adults weigh less than 100 kg (220 lb). Their diets consist mainly of grasses, as well as other plants and lichens. Like other bovids, their digestive systems enable them to digest and live on low-quality, rough plant materials. Sheep conserve water well and can live in fairly dry environments. The bodies of wild sheep (and some domestic breeds) are covered by a coat of thick hair to protect them from cold. This coat contains long, stiff hairs, called kemps, over a short, woolly undercoat, which grows in autumn and is shed in spring. This woolly undercoat has been developed in many domestic sheep breeds into a fleece of long wool, with selection against kemp hairs in these breeds. The fleece covers the body (in a few breeds also the face and legs) and is used for fibre.
Sheep are social animals and live in groups, called flocks. This helps them to avoid predators and stay warm in bad weather by huddling together. Flocks of sheep need to keep moving to find new grazing areas and more favourable weather as the seasons change. In each flock, a sheep, usually a mature ram, is followed by the others.
In wild sheep, both rams and ewes have horns, while in domestic sheep (depending upon breed) horns may be present in both rams and ewes, in rams only, or in neither. Rams' horns may be very large – those of a mature bighorn ram can weigh 14 kg (31 lb) – as much as the bones of the rest of its body put together. Rams use their horns to fight with each other for dominance and the right to mate with females. In most cases, they do not injure each other because they hit each other head to head and their curved horns do not strike each other's bodies. They are also protected by having very thick skin and double-layered skulls.
Wild sheep have very keen senses of sight and hearing. When detecting predators, wild sheep most often flee, usually uphill to higher ground. However, they can also fight back. The Dall sheep has been known to butt wolves off the face of cliffs.
- Aries, the Ram (astrological sign)
- Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia), another type of goat antelope, not closely related to Ovis sheep
- Blue sheep or bharal (Pseodois), two species of goat antelopes, not closely related to Ovis
- List of sheep breeds
- Sheep husbandry
- Grubb, P. (2005). "Order Artiodactyla". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 707–710. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- ICZN (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature) opinion 2027
- Nowak, R. M. and J. L. Paradiso. 1983. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-2525-3
- Clutton-Brock, J. 1999. A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-63495-4
- Voelker, W. 1986. The Natural History of Living Mammals. Medford, New Jersey: Plexus Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-937548-08-1
- Bulanskey, S. 1992. The Covenant of the Wild. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. ISBN 0-688-09610-7
- Parker, D. 2001. The Sheep Book. Athens, Ohio, USA : Ohio University Press ISBN 0-8040-1032-3
- Miller, S. 1998. "Sheep and Goats". United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service
- Oklahoma State University (OSU). 2003 Breeds of Livestock: Sheep Retrieved January 13, 2007
- Huffman, B. 2006. The Ultimate Ungulate Page Website Retrieved January 13, 2007
The Armenian mouflon (Armenian: հայկական մուֆլոն, haykakan muflon; Persian: گوسفند وحشی ارمنی, Qutch-e armani), also known as the Armenian sheep, Armenian wild sheep, Armenian red sheep, or Trans-Caucasian sheep (Ovis orientalis gmelini) is an endangered subspecies of mouflon endemic to Iran, Armenia, and Nakhchivan (Azerbaijan).
Distribution and population
O. o. gmelini is found in northwestern Iran. Armenian mouflons were transferred to Kabudan (Kaboodan) Island in Lake Urmia in 1895 and 1906 by one of the governors of Azerbaijan. A study carried out in the 1970s at the island found that their number declined from around 3,500 in 1970 to 1,000 in 1973. In 2004 1,658 Armenian wild sheep were counted at the Angouran Protected Area in Iran's Zanjan Province.
O. o. gmelini is found in Syunik Province in southern Armenia (and to a lesser extent, in the provinces of Ararat and Vayots Dzor). According to a 2009 study there were "hardly over 200" mouflons in Armenia.
The Iranian red sheep lives mostly in open rough terrain at medium or high altitudes, where they inhabit rocky hill country, lowland and highland steppes, and rocky semi-deserts, and grass-covered slopes and alpine meadows.
They spend the summer at the highest elevations, up to 6000 meters, right below the permanent snow. In winter they move lower and may come into the valleys.
They live in small or larger herds, and in the summer the older males live singly or in separate groups. They may live up to 18 years.
O. o. gmelini was listed in Category I of the USSR Red Data Book. In Armenia, hunting it has been forbidden since 1936. A captive breeding program has been initiated at the Zoological Institute of Armenia aiming to expand Khosrov Nature Reserve, reorganize the Orbubad Sanctuary into a state reserve, control livestock and reduce poaching. As of 2011, the fine for hunting the Armenian mouflon in Armenia was 3 million drams (roughly $8,000).
In Iran, hunting of O. o. gmelini is allowed only under permit, outside the protected areas, between September and February. Within the protected areas, grazing of domestic livestock is strictly controlled.
- Valdez, R. (2008) Ovis orientalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- Crabtree, Pam J.; Ryan, Kathleen; Campana, Douglas V., eds. (1989). Early Animal Domestication and Its Cultural Context. UPenn Museum of Archaeology. p. 28.
- Firouz, Eskandar (2005). The Complete Fauna of Iran. I.B. Tauris. p. 89.
- Valdez, Paul; Alamia, Leticia V. (1977). "Population decline of an insular population of Armenian wild sheep in Iran". Journal of Wildlife Management 41 (4): 720–725. doi:10.2307/3799995.
- Lydekker, Richard (1907). "The name of the Armenian wild sheep". The Annals and Magazine of Natural History: Zoology, Botany, and Geology. Taylor & Francis. pp. 121–122.
- Mungall, Elizabeth Cary (2007). Exotic Animal Field Guide: Nonnative Hoofed Mammals in the United States. Texas A&M University Press. p. 213. ISBN 978-1585445554.
- Heptner, V.G.; Nasimovich, A.A.; Bannikov, A.G. (1988). Mammals of the Soviet Union I. Washington, D.C., USA: Smithsonian Institution Libraries and National Science Foundation. pp. 881–954 (Section 21: Mountain Sheep, Arkhar). Retrieved 9 January 2015. English translation of the Russian-language Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza (1961) by the Smithsonian Institution's Translation Publishing Program.
- Blyth, Edward (1840). "An Amended List of the Species of the genus Ovis". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (The Zoological Society of London) 8 (1): 62–81. Retrieved 8 January 2015. (subscription required (. )) Transcription of Blyth's presentation to a session of the Zoological Society of London chaired by Professor Owen.
- Gmelin, Samuel Gottlieb (1774). Reise durch Russland zur Untersuchung der drey Natur-Reiche (in German) III. St. Petersburg, Russia: Akademie der Wissenschaften. pp. 486–487. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- Danford, Charles G.; Alston, Edward R. (1880). "On the Mammals of Asia Minor.—Part II.". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (The Zoological Society of London) 48 (1): 50–64. Retrieved 9 January 2015. (subscription required (. ))
- Asem, Alireza; Eimanifar, Amin; Djamali, Morteza; De los Rios, Patricio; Wink, Michael (2014). "Biodiversity of the Hypersaline Urmia Lake National Park (NW Iran)". Diversity 6 (1). doi:10.3390/d6010102.
- Karami, M.; Habibzadeh, N. (2006). "Population Dynamics of Armenian Wild Sheep (Ovis Orientalis Gmelini) in the Angouran Protected Area of Zanjan Province". Iranian Journal of Natural Resources 59 (2): 487–500.
- Malkhasyan, A. "Armenian mouflon - Ovis orientalis gmelinii (Blyth, 1841)". Red Book of Armenia. Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia.
- "Կենդական Աշխարհ [Fauna (literally Animal World)]", Հայաստանի Ազգային Ատլաս [Armenian National Atlas] (in Armenian) I, Yerevan, Armenia: "Geodeziayi ev Kʻartezagrutʻyan Kentron" POAK, 2007, p. 81, ISBN 99-94-10176-5
- Khorozyan, Igor G.; Weinberg, Pavel I.; Malkhasyan, Alexander G. (2009). "Conservation Strategy for Armenian Mouflon (Ovis [orientalis] gmelini Blyth) and Bezoar Goat (Capra aegagrus Erxleben) in Armenia". In Zazanashvili, Nugzar; Mallon, David. Status and Protection of Globally Threatened Species in the Caucasus. Tbilisi: CEPF, WWF. Contour Ltd. pp. 37–45. ISBN 978-9941-0-2203-6.
- Talibov, Tariel H.; Weinberg, Pavel I.; Mammadov, Ismayil B.; Mammadov, Etibar N.; Talibov, Sabuhi T. (2009). "Conservation Strategy of the Asiatic Mouflon (Ovis [orientalis] gmelini Blyth) and the Bezoar Goat (Capra aegagrus Erxleben) in Azerbaijan". In Zazanashvili, Nugzar; Mallon, David. Status and Protection of Globally Threatened Species in the Caucasus. Tbilisi: CEPF, WWF. Contour Ltd. pp. 46–52. ISBN 978-9941-0-2203-6.
- Gevorgyan, Siranuysh (14 September 2011). "Easy Game: Armenian conservationists alarmed by continued poaching of Red Book species". ArmeniaNow.
- Ovsepian, L. A. (1987). "Случай обнаружения саркоцист у арменийских муфлонов (Ovis Orientalis Gmelini Blyth, 1841=Armeniana Nasonov) содержащихся в условиях неволи [Case of Sarcocysts Revelation in Armenian Moufflons (Ovis Orientalis Gmelini Blyth, 1841=Armeniana Nasonov), Kept under Conditions of Captivity]". Biological Journal of Armenia (in Russian) (Yerevan: Armenian National Academy of Sciences) 40 (9): 780–781.
- Valdez, R.; Cardenas, M.; Sanchez, Juan (February 1991). "Disruptive mating behavior by subadult Armenian wild sheep in Iran". Applied Animal Behaviour Science 29 (1-4): 165–171. doi:10.1016/0168-1591(91)90244-R.
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Nilgiri sheep is a breed of sheep found only in Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu State in India. It is bred in the hilly parts of Nilgiri and known for its fine wool. A national plan has been implemented to save the Nilgiri sheep from certain extinction is on way by National Bureau of Animal Genetic Conservation.
Wool quality and production
Some statistics pertaining to the breed are:
- average six months weight of total wool in kilograms 0.615 ± 0.028
- average single strand diameter 27.34 ± 0.077(μ)
- wool density(cm2) 2 199 ± 57
- AICRP, SB, Sandynallah. 1978 Progress Report, All-India Coordinated Research Project on Sheep-Breeding (Fine Wool), Sheep-Breeding Research Station, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Sandynallah (Nilgiris), Tamil Nadu
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