Madoqua saltianaSalt's dik-dik

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Geographic Range

Salt's dik-dik can be found from northeastern Sudan to northern and eastern Ethiopia, and throughout Somalia (Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

Habitat

Madoqua saltiana live in relatively dry regions with thick vegetation. This may be stony rocky slopes of 3 km in height or low shrubby bush (Duplaix and Simon 1976, Haltenorth and Diller 1977, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

Physical Description

Head and body length: 520-670 mm

Tail length: 35-55 mm

Height: 330-400 mm

The pelage of Madoqua saltiana is soft and lax. The fur on the back varies from reddish-brown to yellowish-gray. The flanks are lighter. The front of the neck and breast is a reddish-gray and the legs are rusty red, along with the animal's nose, crest, and backs of the ears. The cheeks, neck, and throat present a peppery look of gray. Just the chin, inside of thighs, and central line of the underside is whitish in color (Haltenorth and Diller 1977, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

M. saltiana have small accessory hooves and an inconspicuous tail. Males have ringed horns, which are stout at the base. The horns have slight longitudinal grooves, but these are somewhat concealed by the small tuft of hair on the forehead.Females have four mammae (Haltenorth and Diller 1977, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

  • Range mass
    2 to 6 kg
    4.41 to 13.22 lb
  • Average mass
    4.25 kg
    9.36 lb

Reproduction

Female dik-diks give birth to one young twice a year. The newborn dik-dik weighs between 0.5 and 0.8 kg. It is hidden for at least 2 to 3 weeks. After one week, the infant dik-dik is able to eat solid food. However, it continues to nurse for 3 to 4 months (Haltenorth and Diller 1977).

At the age of 1 month, the male dik-dik begins to grow his horns. Male dik-diks reach sexual maturity at 8 to 9 months, and females at 6-8 months. The young are adult size after 8 months and stop growing completely after 12 months. Once sexual maturity is reached, they establish a territory with a mate. They may live 3 to 4 years in the wild (Haltenorth and Diller 1977).

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Range number of offspring
    1 (low)
  • Average number of offspring
    1
  • Range weaning age
    1.5 to 4 months
  • Average weaning age
    3.5 months

Behavior

Madoqua saltiana are most active in the morning and late afternoon. On occassion, they will remain active through the afternoon into night (Duplaix and Simon 1976, Haltenorth and Diller 1977, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

For the most part, dik-diks are shy and elusive. They live in small family groups which consist of a pair of monogamous partners and their two youngest offspring. The family group works together to maintain a territory. Within these territories they use well-defined paths, or runs. These runs are used to navigate through thick vegetation. Runs can also be used to mark territory boundaries with droppings (Duplaix and Simon 1976, Haltenorth and Diller 1977, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

When M. saltiana are alarmed, they erect the tuft of hair on their forehead and run away in a zig-zag pattern. They also make an alarm call which sounds like the words 'dik-dik' (Duplaix and Simon 1976, Haltenorth and Diller 1977, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Madoqua saltiana are herbivorous browsers. They will eat leaves of scrub, bushes, buds, plants, flowers, fruit, and herbs. However, they browse mainly on acacia bushes (Duplaix and Simon 1976, Haltenorth and Diller 1977, Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Madoqua saltiana has been hunted for its skin to make gloves (Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

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

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Hunters are disabled by the dik-dik's dramatic alarm behavior, because it warns other game that danger is near (Nowak and Paradiso 1983).

Conservation Status

Other Comments

Madoqua saltiana have excellent sight, smell, and hearing (Haltenorth and Diller 1977).

Contributors

Barbara Lundrigan (author), Michigan State University, Karen Kapheim (author), Michigan State University.

Glossary

Ethiopian

living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map

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

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.

food

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

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

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

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

sexual

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

social

associates with others of its species; forms social groups.

tactile

uses touch to communicate

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.

References

Duplaix, N., N. Simon. 1976. World Guide to Mammals. New York: Crown Publishers Inc..

Haltenorth, T., H. Diller. 1977. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa including Madagascar. London: William Collins Sons and Co. Ltd..

Nowak, R., J. Paradiso. 1983. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.