Ammotragus lervia

Ammotragus lervia (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Theria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Superordo: Cetartiodactyla
Ordo: Artiodactyla
Subordo: Ruminantia
Familia: Bovidae
Subfamilia: Caprinae
Genus: Ammotragus
Species: Ammotragus lervia
Subspecies: A. l. angusi - A. l. blainei - A. l. fassini - A. l. lervia - A. l. ornata - A. l. sahariensis


Ammotragus lervia (Pallas, 1777)

Type Locality: Oran, Algeria


* Ammotragus lervia on Mammal Species of the World.
Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 2 Volume Set edited by Don E. Wilson, DeeAnn M. Reeder

Vernacular names
العربية: ضأن بربري
Česky: Paovce hřivnatá
English: Barbary Sheep
한국어: 바버리양
Türkçe: Berberi koyunu


The Barbary Sheep (Ammotragus lervia) is a species of caprid (goat-antelope) native to rocky mountains in North Africa. Six subspecies have been described. Although it is rare in its native North Africa, it has been introduced to North America, southern Europe and elsewhere. It is also known as aoudad, waddan, arui, and arruis.


Barbary Sheep stand 80 to 100 cm (2.6 to 3.3 ft) tall at the shoulder and weigh 40 to 140 kg (88 to 310 lb). They are a sandy-brown color, darkening with age, with a slightly lighter underbelly and a darker line along the back. Upper parts and the outer parts of the legs are a uniform reddish-brown or grayish-brown. There is some shaggy hair on the throat (extending down to the chest in males) and a sparse mane. Their horns have a triangular cross section. The horns curve outwards, backwards then inwards, and reach up to 50 cm (20 in). The horns are smooth, but wrinkled at the base.[citation needed]


Natural range

Barbary Sheep are found naturally in northern Africa in Algeria, Tunisia, northern Chad, Egypt, Libya, northern Mali, Mauritania, Morocco (including Western Sahara), Niger and Sudan (west of the Nile and east of the Nile in the Red Sea Hills).[4]

Introduced populations

Barbary Sheep have been introduced to southeastern Spain and southwestern United States (on La Escalera Ranch, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and other parts of Texas, New Mexico, and California) and Mexico and to some parts of Africa.

Barbary sheep have become common in a limited region of the south-east of Spain, since its introduction in 1970 to Sierra Espuña [Regional park] as a game species. Its adaptability enabled it to colonise nearby areas quickly, and private game estates provided other centers of dispersion. The species is currently expanding, according to recent field surveys, now being found in the provinces of Alicante, Almería, Granada and Murcia.[5] This species is a potential competitor to native ungulates inhabiting the Iberian Peninsula. The species has also been introduced to La Palma (Canary Islands), and has spread throughout the northern and central parts of the island, where it is a serious threat to endemic vegetation.


A. lervia is the only species in the genus Ammotragus. However, some authors include this genus in the goat genus Capra, together with the sheep genus Ovis.[3]

The subspecies are found allopatrically in various parts of North Africa:[4]

* Ammotragus lervia lervia Pallas, 1777. (vulnerable)
* Egyptian Barbary Sheep Ammotragus lervia ornata I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1827. (extinct in the wild)
* Ammotragus lervia sahariensis Rothschild, 1913. (vulnerable)
* Ammotragus lervia blainei Rothschild, 1913. (vulnerble)
* Ammotragus lervia angusi Rothschild, 1921. (vulnerable)
* Ammotragus lervia fassini Lepri, 1930. (vulnerable)

Barbary Sheep

Barbary Sheep are found in arid mountainous areas where they graze and browse grass, bushes and lichens. They are able to obtain all their moisture from food, but if liquid water is available they drink it and wallow in it. Barbary Sheep are crepuscular: active in the early morning and late afternoon and resting in the heat of the day. They are very agile and can achieve a standing jump of over 2 metres (7 ft). Barbary Sheep are very gregarious, and freeze in the presence of danger, probably in order to happen unnoticed to predators. Their main predators in North Africa were the Barbary leopard, the Barbary lion and caracal, but nowadays only humans threaten their populations.


The binomial name Ammotragus lervia derives from the Greek ammos ("sand", referring to the sand-coloured coat) and tragos ("goat"). Lervia derives from the wild sheep of northern Africa described as "lerwee" by Rev. T. Shaw in his "Travels and Observations" about parts of Barbary and Levant.

The Spanish named this sheep the arruis, and the Spanish Legion even used it as a mascot for a time.

Aoudad ([ˈɑː.uːdæd]) is the name for this sheep used by the Berbers, a North African people, and it is also called arui and waddan (in Libya).

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