The bambis, part 4: a new species of klipspringer in southern Africa?

...continued from https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/milewski/55883-the-bambis-part-3-smallest-of-all-deer-vs-smallest-of-all-bovids#

In previous Posts, I have pointed out that naturalists in southern Africa have overlooked certain wild species or subspecies of large mammal, indigenous to the subcontinent. The first was the western wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mattosi) and the second was the Cape warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus aethiopicus).

Here is a third case, which happens to be a bambi.

Unlike the case of the warthog, extinction does not explain any low profile. On the contrary, this species remains as common as it was when Europeans first set foot on the subcontinent - and its profile is literally high.

Whereas the desert warthog might not be particularly photogenic, this time the overlooked species goes beyond photogenic because of its picturesque surroundings (https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-klipspringer-antelope-under-rocks-at-spitzkoppe-mountain-landscape-142394828.html and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/251964571 and https://dewetswild.com/2015/10/09/klipspringer/#jp-carousel-8976 and https://depositphotos.com/347834940/stock-photo-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-standing-shade.html and http://www.guyparkes.com/blog/?offset=1438757843069 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/2017591484 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1907599993 and many others shown in the fourth comment below).

Although klipspringers are unusually attractive at a distance, the crucial observation is close-up (https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-namibia-kalahari-desert-near-keetmanshoop-photographer-frans-lemmens-174711161.html). What nobody seems previously to have noticed is the variation in the form and colouration of the ear pinnae.

Is the dichotomy explained below not sufficient basis for different species, rather than just subspecies?

One reason why taxonomists have overlooked the diagnostic value of the ear pinnae is that this part of museum specimens tends to be distorted in the tanned skins. It is only when one examines photos that the true variation becomes clear.

And, as I explained in several Posts about the western wildebeest (July 13, 14, 17 and 22), even experts can miss the obvious in the absence of a search-image.

As in the case of the western wildebeest, I discussed klipspringers at length several years ago with the late Colin Groves (see pages 287-292 in https://zmmu.msu.ru/files/%D0%91%D0%B8%D0%B1%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BA%D0%B0%20%D0%9F%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B0/grubb-groves-2011_taxonomy_ungulates.pdf), and he acknowledged that he had simply never noticed this dichotomy in the ear pinnae among klipspringers.

Northern/eastern klipspringers comprise many subspecies ranging from Ethiopia southwards to northwestern Namibia in the west and Zululand in the east (http://africatrophyhunting.com/plains-category/klipspringer/). Although these vary in certain ways (e.g. females have horns in East African subspecies), their ear pinnae have a consistent appearance, as follows.

The front-of-ear looks angular (http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/388504141 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1100715047 and https://fineartamerica.com/featured/close-up-of-klipspringer-oreotragus-panoramic-images.html?product=greeting-card) and its anterior surface is furry (extremely so in these juveniles https://www.tomerazabi.com/landscape-and-wildlife-photography-articles/wildlife-photography-composition/ and https://featuredcreature.com/rabbit-antelope-of-africa-klipspringer/) and marked relatively boldly in dark and pale (https://alchetron.com/Klipspringer#klipspringer-d4026662-24f4-4a56-accd-c67fb539492-resize-750.jpeg and https://www.flickr.com/photos/by-ken/198457969 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1981884524 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1406355572 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1100713160 and https://fineartamerica.com/featured/1-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-panoramic-images.html and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/582021685 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/87900538 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1022053363 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1189652185).

The colouration of the ear pinnae remains conspicuous even when they are turned partly backwards (http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1134041921 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1005912241 and https://pixels.com/featured/klipspringer-athol-klieve.html, plus many other photos in the first comment below).

By contrast, in klipspringers from the western parts of South Africa, plus southern and central Namibia, the front-of-ear is oblong (https://depositphotos.com/359829582/stock-photo-female-klipspringer-poses-rock-southern.html and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/121873105 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/121873108) and short-furred, with camouflage-colouration (https://depositphotos.com/359829522/stock-photo-female-klipspringer-poses-mountain-southern.html and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1416424352 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1972624010 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1693069945).

The ranges of these two basic types of klipspringer are largely disjunct within South Africa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klipspringer#/media/File:Klipspringer_Oreotragus_oreotragus_distribution_map.png).

However, they meet in northwestern Namibia, where the subspecies (tyleri) is phenotypically similar to the eastern type despite occurring far to the west (https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-klipspringer-antelope-oreotragus-oreotragus-female-hobatere-namibia-15441196.html and https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-klipspringer-antelope-oreotragus-oreotragus-female-hobatere-namibia-15441218.html and https://es.123rf.com/photo_131164993_female-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-in-etosha-national-park-in-namibia-africa-.html).

In Damaraland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damaraland), the ear pinna seems intermediate: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-male-klipspringer-climbing-side-of-hill-damaraland-kuene-region-namibia-102865437.html.

Even if intergradation in Damaraland shows that the two species have not achieved reproductive isolation, the overall pattern dispels any notion that the oblong, inconspicuous ear pinna of the southwestern type (i.e. Cape klipspringer) is just an arid/semi-arid ecotype.

This is because the southwestern type extends into a rainy climate in Western Cape province, while the northern/eastern type extends into a semi-arid climate in both northwestern Namibia and the Horn of Africa (e.g. see subspecies somalicus https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/21391104), where the ear pinnae remain true to form regardless of climate.

Although Groves and Grubb (2011) boldly elevated many subspecies of klipspringers to species-level, they completely overlooked the basic dichotomy in the ear pinnae.

So, even if one keeps most klipspringers as mere subspecies, there is still reason to distinguish the Cape klipspringer as a species in its own right.

In terms of adaptive colouration: whereas the southwestern type of klipspringer (i.e. the Cape klipspringer) is thoroughly inconspicuous, the northern/eastern type has a front-of-ear arguably conspicuous enough to qualify as an auricular flag.

The following show evidence for an auricular flag in various subspecies of the northern/eastern type:

Ethiopia https://www.picuki.com/media/2632947107042002173
Ethiopia http://www.planetscott.com/speciesdetail/9740/klipspringer-(oreotragus-oreotragus)
Ethiopia https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/35143783
Ethiopia https://www.alamy.com/female-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-is-a-small-antelope-simiens-national-park-ethiopia-image220289876.html
Ethiopia https://www.alamy.com/female-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-is-a-small-antelope-simiens-national-park-ethiopia-image220289879.html
Ethiopia scroll down to two photos in http://www.cokesmithphototravel.com/expedition-to-wild-ethiopia.html
Uganda http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1919084282
Uganda https://www.alamy.com/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreaotragus-lake-mburo-national-park-uganda-image237886690.html
Central Kenya https://www.mindenpictures.com/stock-photo/klipspringer-(oreotragus-oreotragus)-portrait-laikipia-kenya/search/detailmodal-0_90005102.html
Central Kenya https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/kenya-shaba-game-reserve-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-in-the-alert-on-a-kopje/HMS-HEMIS-2236506
Eastern Kenya https://www.naturephoto-cz.com/klipspringer-photo-13160.html
Eastern Kenya https://jimirwinwildlifephotography.com/gallery/misc-species/#/gallery/misc-species/klipspringer-on-lava-rock164a4546/
Eastern Kenya https://www.alamy.com/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-on-lava-chyulu-hills-tsavo-west-national-park-kenya-image262961736.html
Serengeti https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-standing-on-rocks/ESY-013347611/1
Serengeti https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-kilpspringer-antelope-standing-rock-tanzania-east-africa-image77641031
Serengeti http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/709066549
Serengeti https://www.alamy.com/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-antelope-serengeti-national-park-tanzania-africa-image359928995.html
Serengeti https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-standing-on-rock-oreotragus-oreotragus/T89-834053/1
Serengeti https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-standing-on-rock-serengeti-national-park-tanzania/YP6-1883380/1
Serengeti https://en.freejpg.com.ar/stockphotos/premium/488787607/klipspringer-standing-on-rocks
Serengeti https://www.alamy.com/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-antelope-serengeti-national-park-tanzania-africa-image359928995.html
Serengeti https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-male-on-territorial-rock-serengeti-national-park-tanzania/SSJ-179780/1
Serengeti https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-standing-on-rock-serengeti-national-park-tanzania/YP6-1885401/1
Serengeti https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klippspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-feb-96/BWI-BLW017510/1
Serengeti https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-standing-on-rock-oreotragus-oreotragus/T89-834053/1
Serengeti https://africaanswerman.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/klipspringer.jpg
Serengeti https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/klipspringer-in-serengeti-national-park-tanzania-africa-gm620740734-108326827?irgwc=1&cid=IS&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=photostockeditor&clickid=xABUceQmnxyOWXNwUx0Mo3kTUkBV4mVZtyGUyo0&utm_term=&utm_campaign=&utm_content=258824&irpid=1327686
Serengeti https://depositphotos.com/19230717/stock-photo-klipspringer-on-rocks-serengeti-tanzania.html
Tanzania https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20021812
Tanzania https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/9947522
Malawi/eastern Zambia https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26321002
Malawi/eastern Zambia https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-klipspringer-antilope-on-the-nyika-plateau-np-15220490.html
Zimbabwe https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-portrait-matopos-national-park-125443751.html
Zimbabwe https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/21492194
Zimbabwe https://www.alamy.com/klipspringer-antelope-standing-on-a-large-rock-matobo-national-park-image6900557.html
Botswana https://www.africatravel.com/destinations/botswana/savuti#&gid=1&pid=9
South Africa several photos in https://www.sabisabi.com/blog/19557/klipspringer/
South Africa https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/94539679
South Africa https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/close-up-of-a-klipspringer-baby-gm638449906-114478739
South Africa https://www.robertharding.com/preview/764-5384/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-male-kruger-national-park-south/
South Africa https://www.gettyimages.ie/detail/photo/male-klipspringer-antelope-oreotragus-oreotragus-royalty-free-image/1143064384?adppopup=true
South Africa https://depositphotos.com/479474062/stock-photo-two-klipspringer-sunning-themselves-rock.html
South Africa https://www.alamy.com/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-adult-female-standing-on-a-tarred-road-alert-kruger-national-park-south-africa-africa-image231137870.html
Locations unknown
https://howieswildlifeimages.com/mammals/klipspringer/#jp-carousel-13533
https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/klipspringer-gm512550285-46959774
https://parody.fandom.com/wiki/Klipspringer?file=Klipspringer1.jpg
http://elelur.com/mammals/klipspringer.html#photo_8
http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/215661358
http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/1085051699

The following show the lack of any auricular flag in the Cape klipspringer (i.e. the southwestern type):

https://www.overlandingfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/DSC00873.jpg
https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g469389-d2083320-i330466443-Augrabies_Falls_National_Park-Augrabies_Falls_National_Park_Northern_Cap.html
Scroll one forward in https://www.tripadvisor.ca/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g469389-d2083320-i330466443-Augrabies_Falls_National_Park-Augrabies_Falls_National_Park_Northern_Cap.html
https://mostlybirding.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/pick-2018-48.jpg
https://www.destinationuganda.com/travel-guide/mammals/klipspringer/
https://fineartamerica.com/featured/klipspringers-tony-camachoscience-photo-library.html
https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klippspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-male-portrait-of-the-head-south-africa-augrabies-falls-national-park/BWI-BS351796
https://www.sanparks.org/docs/parks_augrabies/tourism/klipspringer_trail_brochure.pdf

to be continued in https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/milewski/57660-the-bambis-part-5-possible-new-species-names-for-klipspringers-in-southern-africa#...

Posted by milewski milewski, 01 October, 2021 06:51

Comments

Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

Further examples of picturesque photos of klipspringers: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/45043197 and https://www.naturepl.com/stock-photo-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-looks-out-over-the-granite-bolder-nature-image01466407.html and https://www.alamy.com/klipspringers-oreotragus-oreotragus-amongst-the-granite-pillars-of-rafu-bale-mountains-national-park-ethiopia-image263015448.html and https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-klipspringer-2-140964731.html and https://www.gettyimages.ie/detail/photo/the-klipspringer-is-a-small-sturdy-antelope-it-royalty-free-image/705011133?adppopup=true and https://www.gettyimages.ie/detail/photo/klipspringer-standing-on-rock-at-serengeti-national-royalty-free-image/961496054?adppopup=true and https://www.gettyimages.ie/detail/photo/klipspringer-on-klip-royalty-free-image/905923342?adppopup=true and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/305357444 and http://shutterstock.puzzlepix.hu/kep/60503278 and https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/klipspringer-gm1286649718-383088977?irgwc=1&cid=IS&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=photostockeditor&clickid=xABUceQmnxyOWXNwUx0Mo3kTUkBV5VyVtyGUyo0&utm_term=&utm_campaign=&utm_content=258824&irpid=1327686 and https://howieswildlifeimages.com/mammals/klipspringer/#jp-carousel-1272 and https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klippspringer-4/ESY-000071812/1 and https://www.gettyimages.ae/detail/photo/klippspringer-on-rocks-royalty-free-image/1129983898?adppopup=true and https://www.gettyimages.ae/detail/photo/distant-view-of-klipspringer-standing-on-rock-karoo-royalty-free-image/103018396?adppopup=true and https://www.mindenpictures.com/stock-photo/klipspringer-(oreotragus-oreotragus)-adult-female-standing-on-rocky-outcrop/search/detailmodal-0_80072978.html

Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

Has anyone looked at klipspringer genetics?

Posted by adamwelz about 1 year ago (Flag)
Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

@adamwelz see page 61 and pages 63-64 in particular

Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

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