Correcting the misidentification of klipspringer subspecies tyleri in iNaturalist

@alanhorstmann @jeremygilmore @colin25 @michalsloviak @chewitt1 @jwidness @alexdreyer @tonyrebelo @henrydelange @johnnybirder @kevinatbrakputs @calebcam @jakob

It has become habitual, in certain circles in southern Africa, to call the klipspringer of southern and central Namibia by the subspecies name tyleri, and the common name 'Namibian klipspringer'.

This habit has arisen in error and is contrary to the literature. It can therefore be corrected without any new peer-reviewed publication appearing.

The name tyleri was originally published on the basis of a specimen from near Benguela, and the common name is Angolan klipspringer. Therefore, any application of the name to Namibia should be in line with the features described in tyleri in the first place. Please note that the original location is not only in Angola, but deep in that country: 400 km from Namibia.

Groves and Grubb (2011, 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), revising all subspecies of klipspringers by examining the museum specimens, described tyleri and its distribution as follows on page 288: "underparts conspicuously, broadly, uniformly white...Females larger than the males...The Kaokoveld and S Angola".

Whiteness on the underparts, and females being larger-bodied than males, are both typical for klipspringers of eastern Africa (e.g. https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-tanzania-lake-manyara-national-park-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus/EEA-SS2384024 and https://www.awl-images.com/stock-photo-tanzania-klipspringer-antelope-at-manyara-np-image00099336.html and https://www.gettyimages.co.nz/detail/photo/klipspringer-rock-climbing-antelope-royalty-free-image/1193176639 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/mspdude/3318536310 and https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/kenya-shaba-game-reserve-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-in-the-alert-on-a-kopje/HMS-HEMIS-2236505).

The presence of white on the underparts persists to some extent in subspecies transvaalensis in eastern South Africa (e.g. https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klippspringer-mapungubwe-nationalpark-sudafrica-klipspringer-south-africa-wildlife-oreotragus-oreotragus/ZON-6213635 and https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-kruger-national-park-mpumalanga-south-africa/WE194089 and https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/male-female-klipspringer-87900538 and https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-male-kruger-national-park-south-89441030.html and https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/37036/eco-183.JPG?sequence=3&isAllowed=y).

This is in contrast to the Cape klipspringer, in which the underparts are not white (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7a/Klipspringer%2C_Namibia_%283927390352%29.jpg and https://www.alamy.com/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-male-standing-in-the-savannah-on-a-rock-south-africa-augrabies-falls-national-park-image255222193.html and https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klippspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-female-stands-on-a-rock-south-africa-augrabies-falls-national-park/BWI-BS351800 and https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-fish-river-canyon-karas-region-namibia-africa/YY9-2568203) and females are not larger-bodied than males.

The Kaokoveld (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaokoveld#/media/File:AT1310_map.png) includes only a small part of Namibia, in the extreme northwest of the country.

Based on the literature, then, the following is completely incorrect for Namibia: http://africatrophyhunting.com/plains-category/klipspringer/. What is particularly incorrect is that the distribution of subspecies tyleri has slid all the way down to southern Namibia - where all photographs instead consistently show the Cape klipspringer (https://www.picuki.com/media/2635206161946091311).

This is how I think the misunderstanding has arisen.

Subspecies tyleri is Angolan but does extend some way into Namibia.

Klipspringers are widespread in Namibia but there have been no museum specimens collected from most of this country. Hence there has been assumption/extrapolation, and a gap in actual documentation has been filled in by pulling tyleri southwards.

This mistake has been inadvertently favourable to the hunting industry because it makes it look like the klipspringers on offer for trophies over much of Namibia are something other than just the Cape klipspringer. This unscientific bias has unwittingly crept beyond the hunting world, into iNaturalist.

In order to correct this problem, and to determine just how far south tyleri really extends, identifiers in iNaturalist should not nominate tyleri in Namibia unless the minimum requirement is met that the photo shows white underparts. And if any locations other than the extreme northwest of the country are involved, iNaturalists please be aware that you are claiming range-extensions which would ultimately have to be verified by specimens/publications in order to be scientific.

The onus falls on anyone identifying tyleri in iNaturalist to make the appropriate justification - which in the case of photos means at least for the underparts to be noticeably paler than in the Cape klipspringer.

To refresh your search-image for the real tyleri, please see https://www.flickr.com/photos/piazzi1969/29760639586/in/photostream/. This is so similar in colouration to some individuals of the subspecies in the Serengeti (schillingsi, https://www.alamy.com/a-male-klipspringer-oreotragus-oreotragus-in-a-typical-pose-on-a-rocky-outcrop-a-kopje-klipspringers-have-evolved-to-walk-on-the-tips-of-their-ho-image333900161.html) that, were it not for the fact that females of the latter subspecies often grow horns, one might not be able to tell them apart.

Posted by milewski milewski, October 04, 2021 21:50

Comments

Please see pages 124-129 in https://www.zobodat.at/pdf/Archiv-Naturgeschichte_90A_1_0029-0164.pdf for detailed information on subspecies tyleri.

Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

The following, in the Etosha area of northern Namibia, is probably subspecies tyleri: https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/details-photo/klipspringer-from-below-o-oreotragus-etosha-np-namibia/AAM-AAES11471. Not only does it seem to have white underparts, but its ears also differ from those of klipspringers farther south in Namibia.

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

@tonyrebelo I apologise for my mistaken comment in observation 79262928, which I have now corrected. Even I was taken in, for a while, by the nonsense put about by the hunting industry. The name cunenensis is a junior synonym for tyleri, the specimen coming from the same area and being published only three years later. Please disregard the name cunenensis completely.

Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

Thanks!

Posted by tonyrebelo about 1 year ago (Flag)

@tonyrebelo I have now made corrections as you requested, so please let me know if any others need attention...

Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

Thanks. I have also relooked at where you disagreed, and decided according to the evidence.

Posted by tonyrebelo about 1 year ago (Flag)

Here is about the most extensive white I have seen in any klipspringer; the subspecies is schillingsi and the location is Manyara National Park in Tanzania: https://www.alamy.com/klipspringer-antelope-oreotragus-oreotragus-manyara-national-park-tanzania-africa-image342083213.html. Compare this with the Cape klipspringer: https://www.zoochat.com/community/media/klipspringer.461371/.

Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

For the distribution of klipspringers in Angola, see pages 380-381 in https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331238719_The_Mammals_of_Angola.

Posted by milewski about 1 year ago (Flag)

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