Neotragus batesidwarf antelope

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Geographic Range

Neotragus batesi occurs throughout the lowland forest zone from southeastern Nigeria to western Uganda.

Habitat

Neotragus batesi is most often found in moist forest and brush.

Physical Description

Bate's dwarf antelopes are very small antelopes weighing from 2-3 kg. Body length ranges between 500 and 575 mm, with a tail length of 45 to 50 mm. Dwarf antelope males possess horns that extend back over their head on the same plane as the face. These horns are usually brown or fawn in color and are about 38 to 50 mm long. The coat is a shiny dark chestnut on the back becoming lighter toward the flanks. Males are only slightly larger, on average, than females.

(Grizmek 1988; Nowak 1999)

  • Range mass
    2 to 3 kg
    4.41 to 6.61 lb

Reproduction

Mating occurs throughout the year with peaks in the late dry and early wet seasons. The gestation period of N. batesi is thought to be 180 days. One young is born per gestation with a birth weight of between 1.6 and 2.4 kg.

(Grizmek 1988; Nowak 1999)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Range number of offspring
    1 (low)
  • Average number of offspring
    1
  • Range gestation period
    6 (low) months
  • Average gestation period
    6 months
  • Average weaning age
    2 months

Behavior

Bate's dwarf antelopes have a typical home range of 2 to 4 hectares. Males are territorial, marking their territory with scent that is produced in the preorbital glands. Females are not as territorial as the males and are sometimes found in small groups. Males emit a nasal call when seeking females and both sexes often make a short, raspy bark when fleeing.

(Grizmek 1988; Nowak 1999)

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The diet of N. batesi consists of leaves, buds, shoots, fungus, and limited amounts of grasses and herbs. They also eat human food crops, such as peanuts, in areas where humans have intruded into their natural habitats. They are often caught in snares surrounding agricultural fields.

(Grizmek 1988; Nowak 1999)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The meat of N. batesi is edible, although quite dry. They are not often hunted for meat but, in some cases, farmers will kill and eat limited numbers.

(Grizmek 1988; Nowak 1999)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Bate's dwarf antelopes are known to eat crops such as peanuts. The overall economic damage from this herbivory is minimal.

(Grizmek 1988; Nowak 1999)

Conservation Status

The biggest current threat to Bate's dwarf antelopes is human expansion. The loss of habitat due to clearing for farmland could have a very negative effect on their populations in the future.

(Grizmek 1988; Nowak 1999)

Contributors

Adam Randall (author), St. Lawrence University, Erika Barthelmess (editor), St. Lawrence 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.

forest

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

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.

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.

solitary

lives alone

tactile

uses touch to communicate

References

Grizmek, B. 1988. Grizmek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York, N.Y.: Mc Graw-Hill Publishing Co..

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltomore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press.