Gazella marica is not just an Arabian form of Gazella subgutturosa

At first sight, it might seem that Gazella marica is the form of the widespread Gazella subgutturosa which occurs on the Arabian peninsula. So there was some surprise when a genetic study a decade ago found the two forms to be different.

However, even without genetic information marica can be seen to be more than just an extremely pale, desertic subspecies of gutturosa.

Firstly, marica is considerably smaller than subgutturosa, the adult females weighing respectively about 19 kg and 25 kg. Gazella marica is not just desertic but also rather diminutive.

Secondly, the larynx is different in the two forms. In marica the larynx seems normal for gazelles and ruminants generally, whereas subgutturosa possesses what is perhaps the oddest laryngeal anatomy of any ungulate.

Thirdly, the horns are different in the female: Extremely well-developed in marica but extremely poorly developed in subgutturosa.

And fourthly, the arrangement of the flank-banding is surprisingly different, as follows. In marica, the flank-banding conforms with that in gazelles generally, in that the darkest, most ventral flank-band runs obliquely towards the shoulder, leaving enough space for the paler flank-band above it to be triangular. By contrast, in subgutturosa the flank-bands run horizontally, the darkest, most ventral band running towards the scapula and the paler band being reduced to a line instead of a long triangle.

As far as I know, the difference in pattern of colouration has never been pointed out before.

Furthermore, it is hard to see the extreme pallor of marica as essentially arid-adapted because subspecies yarkandensis of species subgutturosa occurs in the extreme aridity of the Gobi desert without similar pallor.

פורסם על-ידי milewski milewski, ספטמבר 14, 2020 11:59 אחה"צ


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