Afghan Urial - Asia | Online Record Book Preview
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Afghan Urial - Species Detail
Ovis vignei cycloceros
Urial del Afganistan (Sp), Afghanischer Urialschaf (G), Urial du Afghanistan (F). Sometimes called Turkmen urial.
DESCRIPTION (male) Shoulder height about 32 inches (81 cm). Females are smaller.
Overall color varies from reddish-buff to yellowish-brown. Rump patch and underparts are white, the face a bluish-gray. Rams have a white bib, long black neck ruff and a small black saddle spot in the winter coat. The horns are homonymous, triangular in cross section, and strongly wrinkled. The longest recorded horns measured 41-1/2 inches (105 cm) (Rowland Ward, 1909). Females have small, straight horns.
DISTRIBUTION Turkmenistan: From the Balkhan mountains north of Nebitdag southeast through the Kopet Dag mountains near the border with Iran, and in the mountains near the Afghan border as far east as southern Karabil. Also in the Kugutang mountains in the far southeast. Uzbekistan: Far southeast. Tajikistan: Southwest, and also in the southwestern Pamirs. Afghanistan: Central, eastern and northeastern. Pakistan: West of the Indus River and north of Quetta, but south of Chitral. Boundaries with the trans-Caspian urial to the west are undetermined.
Outside Asia, Afghan urials have been introduced on private ranches in the United States.
TAXONOMIC NOTES Consists of the named races cycloceros (Turkmenistan and most of Afghanistan and bocharensis (Bukharan urial, of southeastern Uzbekistan, southern Tajikistan, and northern Badakhshan), with cycloceros Hutton, 1842 having priority.
REMARKS The first European to record moufloniforms in Asia was Marco Polo, who observed and described flocks of Afghan urials numbering as many as 500 in the Badakshan region of northern Afghanistan during his 1271-1274 journey from Europe to China. British Capt. R. G. Hay described the Afghan urial from the Hindu Kush mountains in 1840, and Capt. Thomas Hutton named it Ovis cycloceros in 1842, based on a specimen from near Kandahar. In 1842, British explorer Sir Alexander Burnes recorded great numbers of Afghan urials in the hills north of Kabul.
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