Capra caucasica cylindricornisEast Caucasian tur

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Geographic Range

East Caucasian turs (Capra caucasica cylindricornis) are found along the Greater Caucasus mountain range. The eastern part of their range is well defined by Babadagh Mountain in Azerbaijan, but the western boundary is less definite. The southern portion of their range extends to the area of the headwaters of the Inguri River. In the north, the species ranges to Bezengi Cherek River or perhaps to the headwaters of the Malka River in the Elbrus Mountain massif. The total length of the range of the East Caucasian turs is about 500 km, if measured to Benzengi Cherek River. The distribution has changed little since the 19th century, when it was slightly wider, encompassing peripheral mountain ranges, more distant from the Main Watershed Range and the Side Range. (Weinberg, 2002)

Habitat

Capra caucasica cylindricornis is found at elevations from 1,000 to 4,000 m, in forest, and alpine areas. However areas over 3,500 m are rarely visited. East Caucasian turs migrate from lower elevations during the winter into higher elevations during the summer. Females prefer to live in the forests whereas males prefer to live in the open grasslands. ("Caucasus", 2002)

  • Range elevation
    1500 to 1700 km
    932.06 to 1056.33 mi

Physical Description

Capra caucasica cylindricornis displays marked sexual dimorphism in size, pelage and horn development. Females have a body length of 138 cm, shoulder height of 85 cm, and, weight of 56 kg. Males have a body length of 190 cm, shoulder height of 104 cm, and weight of 140 kg. The tail length is 11 to 15cm for both sexes. ("East Caucasian tur", 2001)

The coat in males varies seasonally, from chestnut-brown with lighter underparts in the winter to an overall lighter rusty-brown color in the summer. The coat of females, juveniles, and yearlings is the same year round. ("East Caucasian tur", 2001)

East Caucasian turs have a body that is thick and stout and supported by short legs. Like most goats, a beard is found on males and is most noticeable when these animals display their winter pelage. Unlike other goats, the skull of East Caucasian turs does not have a bulge on the forehead below the horns. The horn base is cyndrical, and the horns curve up and out from the forehead and then slightly down and inward curling at the tips. Female horns grow to 20 to 22 cm whereas males grow to 70 to 90 cm in length. ("East Caucasian tur", 2001)

East Caucasian turs differ from other species of Caprids by having much shorter beards. They also lack the stripes on their forelegs that are typical of Siberian ibex, Nubian ibex, and wild goat. ("East Caucasian tur", 2001)

The winter color of male C. caucasica cylindricornis is brown, helping to distinguish them from males in other populations of Capra caucasica, which are grayish-yellow at that time of year. Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) are also similar to C. caucasica cylindricornis. These animals have a similar color coat and a short beard, but can be easily distinguished from C. caucasica cylindricornis by differences in their horns. West Caucasian turs (C. caucasica caucasica) are smaller and less massive than East Caucasian turs (C. caucasica cylindricornis). ("East Caucasian tur", 2001)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • male larger
  • sexes colored or patterned differently
  • sexes shaped differently
  • ornamentation
  • Range mass
    56 to 140 kg
    123.35 to 308.37 lb
  • Range length
    138 to 190 cm
    54.33 to 74.80 in

Reproduction

East Caucasian turs breed seasonally in December or January. Males and females live separtedly except during the breeding season when males come down from the higher elevations to breed. Adult males fight furiously against each other for access to females. Females can also be violent during this time, chasing younger males away if they try to breed. Young males do not attempt to breed until after adult males have done so. (Nowak, 1991)

East Caucasian turs breed in December or January, depending on where they are located in the species range. Females give birth to one and rarely two young per breeding season. The gestation period is 150 to 160 days. The young begin to eat grasses in July. Weaning begins in December, by which time the young have been grazing for several months. (Weinberg, 2002)

Age of sexual maturity in males is between four and six years. Females are sexually mature by four years of age, however yearling females may also breed. (Weinberg, 2002)

Females isolate themselves before birth and keep their young hidden for 3 to 4 days after birth. Females form incoherent groups of approximatedly a dozen individuals. (Weinberg, 2002)

Home ranges of males overlap those of females, but males are highly territorial with other males during the breeding season. (Weinberg, 2002)

  • Breeding interval
    East Caucasian turs breed once per year.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding occurs in December or January.
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring
    1.2
  • Range gestation period
    5 to 5.33 months
  • Range weaning age
    1 to 2 months
  • Average time to independence
    18 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    2 to 4 years
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    4 years
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    4 to 6 years

As is the case for most mammals, parental care is primarily a female occupation. Mothers provide their young with milk, grooming, and protection. Time to weaning is 2 to 3 months, but young stay with their mother for about a year. Male parental care has not been reported for this species. (Huffman, 1999)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • protecting
      • female
  • post-independence association with parents

Lifespan/Longevity

East Caucasian turs live up to 15 years in the wild and up to 22 years in captivity. ()

  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    15 years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    22 years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    10 years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    15 years

Behavior

East Caucasian turs have seasonal migrations in which they alter their elevation by 1,500 to 2,000 m. They move up the mountain slopes following retreating snow in March and descend to low slopes in August. Males generally are solitary and inhabit higher elevations with more open areas than do females. Females prefer lowland forest areas. (Nowak, 1991)

In summer feeding occurs at intervals in late afternoon, night, and morning with the goats spending the hot hours of the day resting in sheltered places. In winter, herds remain in open pastures throughout the day grazing and resting. (Nowak, 1991)

There are three basic types of social units in this species. Females are found in groups with young, but there are also young male groups, and solitary males. Males are found with females only during the rutting season. Group sizes are usually around ten individuals, but group size fluctuates with precipitation levels. (Nowak, 1991)

East Caucasian turs have a hierarchical order in which adult males dominate younger males during the rut. Young males dominate females year-round, and females dominate yearlings and juveniles. (Nowak, 1991)

  • Average territory size
    4-6 km^2

Home Range

The size of home ranges is 4 to 6 square km for female groups. Males have a larger home range.

Communication and Perception

East Caucasian turs have a variety of vocalizations. They have an alarm call that is a sharp and hissing whistle. Also females and kids bleat to each other. Males mark areas during the rutting season by debarking trees by rubbing their horns on the trunk and marking by rub against the bare place with postcornal area. These markings do not appear to be territorial, but only for identification purposes. LIke other mammals, there is tactile communication during agonistic encounters, as well as between individuals in a reproductive context. (Weinberg, 2002)

Food Habits

East Caucasian turs graze primarily on grass and shrubs. Grasses are eaten in autumn and begining of winter. Low shrubs such as Vaccium myrtillus are essential to East Caucasian turs in winter. Euonymus, Pinus, Rosa, and Salix are preferred browse. (Parker and Parker, 1990)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • roots and tubers
  • wood, bark, or stems

Predation

Young East Caucasian turs mature quickly and are able to run soon after birth. East Caucasian turs live in groups to help protect them from predators. They do not appear to have a very good alarm call. The alarm call is a sharp hissing whistle that is hard to hear. Natural predators include wolves. (Zeitschriftenverlag, 2002)

Ecosystem Roles

East Caucasian turs are herbivores that change the floral composition and diminish productivity of their feeding areas. They also use mineral licks. East Caucasian turs share their range with Chamois and may be the limiting factor in this species range. They appear to be sympatric with red deer. (Weinberg, 2002)

As a prey species, C. caucasica cylindricornis is likely to influence populations of its predators.

Capra caucasica cylindricornis provides habitat for a variety of parasites. They are known to be infected by tapeworms, flukes, 29 species nematodes, lice, ticks, and larvae of gadfly.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Traditional use of hide and wool has been abandoned, but horns of East Caucasian turs are still valuable and widely used. The horns are used for home decoration and are often mounted in silver as traditional cups for wine and beer. (Weinberg, 2002)

  • Positive Impacts
  • food
  • body parts are source of valuable material
  • ecotourism

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

East Caucasian turs compete with livestock raised by the local people. (Weinberg, 2002)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

East Caucasian turs are listed as vulnerable in IUCN. This is due to habitat destruction, and over hunting. ("Capra cylindricornis", 2002)

Other Comments

Fossil remains of East Caucasian turs are mentioned, but not described, from Late Pleistocene deposits from Caucasus Minor. It is unlikely that these are actually of C. caucasica cylindricornis, since its range does not include Caucasus Minor. However, if they are of this species, it would indicate that historically the range of the species differed from the current range. (Weinberg, 2002)

Contributors

Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Julia Fromfeld (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor, instructor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Glossary

Palearctic

living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

altricial

young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

crepuscular

active at dawn and dusk

diurnal
  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
dominance hierarchies

ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates

ecotourism

humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

folivore

an animal that mainly eats leaves.

food

A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

migratory

makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

polygynandrous

the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

sexual ornamentation

one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.

social

associates with others of its species; forms social groups.

solitary

lives alone

tactile

uses touch to communicate

temperate

that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

tundra

A terrestrial biome with low, shrubby or mat-like vegetation found at extremely high latitudes or elevations, near the limit of plant growth. Soils usually subject to permafrost. Plant diversity is typically low and the growing season is short.

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

References

IUCN. 2002. "Capra cylindricornis" (On-line ). Accessed 11/24/02 at http://www.redlist.org/search/details.php?species=3795.

Conservation International. 2002. "Caucasus" (On-line ). Accessed 11/24/02 at http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/Hotspots/caucasus/?showpage=Biodiversity.

Blue water big game. 2001. "East Caucasian tur" (On-line ). Accessed 11/24/02 at http://www.bluewaterbiggame.com/game/asian_east_caucasian_tur.cfm.

Huffman, B. 1999. "East Caucasian tur" (On-line). Ultimate Ungulate. Accessed May 04, 2004 at http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Capra_cylindricornis.html.

Nowak, R. 1991. Capra cylindricornis. Pp. 1486-1489 in Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 2, 5th Edition. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Parker, S., S. Parker. 1990. East Caucasian Tur. Pp. 512-513 in Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. 5. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Weinberg, P. 2002. Capra caucasica cylindricornis. Pp. 1-9 in Mammalian Species, Vol. 696. American Society of Mammalogists.

Zeitschriftenverlag, P. 2002. "Ostkaukasischer Tur Capra cylindricornis" (On-line ). Accessed 11/24/02 at http://www.jww.de/artikelbeitrag/artikelbeitrag_13175.html.