five top mysteries about geographical distribution of common duiker

I have just spent six weeks perusing the thousands of photos of Sylvicapra grimmia available on the internet. I have also reviewed the account of this species by Groves and Grubb (2011).

The common duiker is one of the most widespread of ungulates in Africa, but its distribution and habitat are puzzling in certain ways. Here are the five most important puzzles.

Firstly, why has S. grimmia not occurred in Mediterranean North Africa? And which species has replaced it ecologically, there?

Secondly, why does subspecies (treated as a full species by Groves & Grubb 2011) pallidior not occur west of Chad despite being adapted to the Sahel?

Thirdly, why is S. grimmia absent from most of the Horn of Africa, given that it is widespread in similarly dry climates in southern Africa and the eastern Sahel?

Fourthly, why does subspecies (treated as a full species by Groves & Grubb 2011) coronata occur only in extreme western West Africa?

Fifthly, why is it that, to this day, not one photo of the common duiker has been published from the whole Serengeti Ecosystem (including Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Maasai Mara National Reserve)?

[Footnote: a main reason why Groves & Grubb (2011) gave pallidior species-status is that this form is extremely small and seems distinct despite overlapping in range with subspecies campbelliae. A main reason why these authors gave coronata species-status is that this form has an odd skull-shape. Groves & Grubb (2011) describe this skull as peculiarly narrow but the few photos show me that it also has oddly wide orbits.]

written August 2020

פורסם על-ידי milewski milewski, אוגוסט 23, 2020 09:08 אחה"צ

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If you are looking for photos from the serengeti the Serengeti Lion Project operates a grid of 225 trail cameras in the Serengeti National Park. In the 7.18M images captured between 2010 and 2016 volunteers on the Snapshot Serengeti project identified 114 animals as common duiker, however less than a quarter are clearly duiker most are other misidentified antelope. The similar (smaller?) camera trap grid in Grumeti ~50km NW has also capture duiker photos but unfortunately the data has not been made available.

More details: https://www.nature.com/articles/sdata201526

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