Quercus ilex), pines (Pinus gerardiana), and junipers (Juniperus macropoda). (Nowak, 1999)is adapted to mountainous terrain between 600 m and 3600 m elevation. Moreover, the presence of is strongly associated with scrub forests made up primarily of oaks (
is highly sexually dimorphic in size. Males weigh between 80 and 110 kg, whereas females weigh only 32 to 50 kg. Body length varies between 140 and 180 cm, and the tail may add an additional 8 to 14 cm to the total length.
The relatively short coat of Capra ibex in that it lacks the extremely dense winter underwool possessed by the latter. Fringed beards are present in both sexes, but are thicker, longer, and more distinct in male markhors.can range in color from light tan to dark brown, and even black. differs from
Males and females both posses extremely bold, flared, corkscrew-like horns. These horns twist outward and may reach lengths up to 160 cm in males and 24 cm in females. The angle and direction of horn curvature varies among the seven subspecies of (Roberts, 1997). Horn color varies from dark to reddish-brown.
Like most ungulates, (Nowak, 1999)does not mate monogamously. Markhors breed annually, with males competing aggressively during the rut for the right to sire the offspring of female herds.
breeds annually, with the rut occurring in the autumn and winter months. It is during this time that solitary males may temporarily join female herds.
Pregnancy lasts 135 to 170 days. Each pregnancy can produce 1 or 2 offspring. Weaning occurs at the age of 5 or 6 months. Young typically remain with their mother until breeding season. Reproductive maturity occurs at the age of 18 to 36 months, and is later in males than in females. (Nowak, 1999)
Markhors are usually born in the spring and summer months of May and June. The young are initially born in a shallow earthen hollow. They are able to walk soon after birth, and can travel with the mother. Mothers provide nourishment (milk) and protection to their growing young. They stay with the mother for approximately 6 months, although there are several reports of kids remaining with the mother thereafter. Males are not reported to participate in parental care. (Burrand, 1925)
The lifespan of (Nowak, 1999)ranges from 11 to 13 years. The species is both hardy and resilient, and as a result, small herds may be successfully reared and maintained in captivity.
is largely diurnal, although is reported to be most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Markhors forage up to 12 or 14 hours per day, including a resting period to chew cud.
Females are social and travel in herds that contain, on average, 8 to 9 individuals. This is significantly smaller than the average herds of Capra ibex and Capra aegagrus. Herd composition is primarily female, with males temporarily joining during the rutting season. Males are otherwize solitary. (Roberts, 1997)
Population densities in Pakistan range from 1 to 9 individuals/sq km. The range of such herds is often extremely limited as a result of the mountainous terrain which Markhors inhabit. (Roberts, 1997)
Considering the relatively open and exposed habitat area of, it is not surprising that this mammal possesses intensely keen eyesight. The sense of smell is also extremely developed. Both of the aforementioned senses are utilized in territory recognition and predator detection. continually scans its environment for the presence of predators. Markhor exhibits highly calculated and intense movements in response to predator detection.
Additionally, during the birthing season, female markhors have been documented giving a distinctive nasal call when approaching their young.
Tactile communication is used in the rut, as males compete with one another for mating opportunities. (Burrand, 1925)
Although rare, documentation exists of golden eagles preying upon young markhors. Humans hunt markhors, although they have been unable to penetrate several mountainous strongholds of markhor populations. Adult and young markhors are also preyed upon by Himalayan lynx, snow leopards, wolves, and panthers. (Burrand, 1925; Nowak, 1999; Roberts, 1997)
Markhors aid in the dispersal of seeds of the wild grasses that compose their diet. Additionally, Himalayan lynx, snow leopards, wolves, and panthers. As a result, markhor populations are usually small and composed of strong and healthy individuals. (Roberts, 1997; Wilson, and Reeder, 1993)serves as an important food source for several large mountain mammals, including
is prized among trophy hunters and members of the Asian medicine market. They face habitat competition from both domestic livestock and local agriculture. As a result, all populations of feral have been steadily declining over the past 40 years.
Since 1976, kabul (C. falconeri megaceros), straight-horned (C. falconeri jerdoni), and chithan markhor (C. falconeri chiltanensis), have been declared endangered by the USFWS. In addition, was classified as endangered and conservation-dependant in 1996 by the IUCN. The latter classification indicates that the long-term survival of this species is heavily dependent on the initiation and maintenance of conservation programs.
Markhors are the national animals of Pakistan. Interestingly, the common name, markhor, is thought to have either originated from the Persian words “mar” and “khor”, loosely translated as “snake-eater”, or from the Pushto words “mar” and akhur”, translated as “snake-horn”. Several linguistic camps favor the latter theory, as it seems to refer to the shape of markor horns. Since the species is entirely vegetarian, it would not make much sense to lable it and eater of snakes. ("World Ecoregion Profile", 2001; Roberts, 1997; "World Ecoregion Profile", 2001)
Seven distinct subspecies of (Schaller, 1975)have been documented. Each can be distinguished from the others upon examination and notation of respective shape, size, and curvature of the horns.
Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Nora Cothran (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (instructor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
uses sound to communicate
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.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates
a substance used for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease
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.
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
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).
makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
having more than one female as a mate at one time
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
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.
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
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).
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
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World Wildlife Fund. 2001. "World Ecoregion Profile" (On-line).
Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Accessed October 01, 2004 at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/im/im0502.html.
Burrand, M. 1925. Big Game Hunting in the Himalayas and Tibet. London: Herbert Jenkins.
Huffman, B. 2004. "Capra falconeri (Markhor)" (On-line). The Ultimate Ungulate Page. Accessed June 02, 2005 at http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Capra_falconeri.html.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Roberts, T. 1997. The Mammals of Pakistan. Pakistan, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schaller, G. 1975. Distribution and Status of the Markor (Capra falconeri). Biological Conservation, 7: 185-198.
Wilson,, D., D. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World (Second Edition). Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.