Ecology

Associations

Known prey organisms

Ovis (sheep) preys on:
Artemisia frigida
Bouteloua gracilis
Sphaeralcea coccinea
Oenothera laciniata
Psoralidium tenuiflorum
Hesperostipa comata
Carex
Sporobolus cryptandrus
Pascopyrum smithii
Gutierrezia
Vulpia octoflora
Ratibida columnifera

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.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:89Public Records:67
Specimens with Sequences:81Public Species:7
Specimens with Barcodes:80Public BINs:6
Species:7         
Species With Barcodes:7         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Ovis

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Wikipedia

Iranian red sheep

Iranian red sheep or Armenian mouflon (Ovis orientalis gmelini) is an endangered subspecies of mouflon endemic to Armenia, Iran and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan.

Distribution[edit]

Ovis orientalis gmelini on a 2012 Armenian stamp

O. o. gmelini used to occupy the steppe and mountain foothills of northwestern and southwestern Iran, and later extended eastward from northwestern Iran to Alborz and Zagros. In Iraq, it is found in the northern Zagros mountains and along the northeastern border with Iran. In the former Soviet Union, O. o. gmelini is found in the Transcaucasus, particualry in the Zangezur range in Armenia (Khosrov Nature Reserve) and Nakhichevan (Ordubad Sanctuary), and in the southwestern tip of Azerbaijan.[1]

Habitat[edit]

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, as well as grass covered slopes and alpine meadows.

These alpine sheep spend the summer at the highest elevations, up to six thousand 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.

Number in the wild[edit]

In Iran, the largest population of O. o. gmelini (ca. 2,250) is found on Kabudan Island in Lake Urmia. Approximately 11,000 individuals inhabit Turkmenistan. The population is decreasing due to human economic activities, competition from domestic livestock and poaching.[1]

Protection measures[edit]

O. o. gmelini was listed in Category I of the USSR Red Data Book. In Armenia, its hunting 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.[1]

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.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Valdez, R. (2008) Ovis orientalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
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Ovis

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.[1] 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.

Terminology[edit]

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.

Characteristics[edit]

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).

Species[edit]

Five species and numerous subspecies of sheep are currently recognised, although some subspecies have also been considered full species. These are the main ones:[1]

Argali Stuffed specimen.jpgOvis ammonArgali
Ovis orientalis aries 'Skudde' (aka).jpgOvis aries aries[2]Domestic sheep
Mouflon 2.jpgOvis aries orientalisMouflon
Ovis ammon vignei arkal Pretoria 3.jpgOvis aries vigneiUrial
Ovis canadensis 2.jpgOvis canadensisBighorn sheep
2005 04 27 1582 Dall Sheep.jpgOvis dalliDall sheep
Ovis nivicolaSnow sheep

Behaviour[edit]

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).[3] 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.[4] 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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ ICZN (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature) opinion 2027
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ a b Clutton-Brock, J. 1999. A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals. Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-521-63495-4
  5. ^ a b 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
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Nilgiri sheep

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.[1] 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[edit]

Some statistics pertaining to the breed are:[2]

  • 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

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2002/07/06/stories/2002070601901700.htm
  2. ^ 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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