Ovis ammon ammon
Argali del Altai (Sp), Altai Argali (G), Argali de l'Altai (F). Also called Siberian argali.
DESCRIPTION Shoulder height about 48 inches (122 cm), possibly more. Weight 400-450 pounds (181-204 kg), sometimes more.
The largest wild sheep in the world, with the largest and most massive horns. The horns have rounded frontal edges, are heavily corrugated, and when fully developed will form more than a complete circle. The longest horns of record measured 71-3/4 inches (182.2 cm) (Rowland Ward, 1973). Bases exceeding 22 inches (55.9 cm) have been recorded. Horns and skull, without the lower jaw, can weigh as much as 75 pounds (34 kg). General color in winter is light brown tinged with gray. Rump patch, belly, lower legs and face are white. Summer coat is much shorter and lighter, with the upper parts a uniformly speckled brown and white, and the rump patch only slightly lighter than the back. This subspecies does not grow a neck ruff.
DISTRIBUTION Found mainly in the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia. Extends marginally northward into the Gorno-Altai and Tuva republics of Siberian Russia, westward into extreme northeastern Kazakhstan, and southwestward into northern Xinjiang; however, these are mostly summer visitors that retreat back into Mongolia from September onward.
TAXONOMIC NOTES Includes the named forms altaica (southern Altai), ammon (Altai), and asiaticus (upper Irtysh River), with ammon Linnaeus, 1758 having priority.
REMARKS "If a really big ram is the finest trophy a hunter can obtain, then this particular argali is it, the Ovis ammon ammon, the king of kings of all sheep." (James L. Clark)