Taxonomy Of A Giraffe
The giraffe is considered a polytypic species comprising eight subspecies. Based on pelage patterns, skull morphology, and mitochondrial DNA analysis described six or seven subspecies and the existence of a distinct northern and southern clade. Considerable uncertainty surrounds the geographic and taxonomic limits of all described subspecies.
Pelage patterning within subspecies highlights this uncertainty. As a definable characteristic, it is unreliable due to the high degree of individuality and variability within a population, ranging from albino and pure white through pale brown and unspotted to black . Many variations exist within regionally definable patterns, although these boundaries are often far from clear.
Analyzed mitochondrial DNA sequences and nuclear microsatellites, identified six genetically distinct lineages(peralta, rothschildi, reticulata, tippelskirchi, giraffa and angolensis), with little evidence of interbreeding between them, and 11 genetically distinct populations. reproductively separated, showing that can represent distinct species rather than a single polytypic form.
|Nubian giraffe||G. c. camelopardalis|
|West African giraffe||G. c. peralta|
|Reticulated giraffe||Giraffa reticulata|
|Southern giraffe||Giraffa giraffa|
|Angolan giraffe||G. g. angolensis|
|South African giraffe||G. g. giraffa|
G. c. peralta (Niger or West African Giraffe): Niger. Wider pale bands;the edges of the spots, though somewhat crenulate, are strongly delineated from the paler ground color. Males have the strongly formed median horn (as in all northern giraffes), but it tends to bemore cylindrical (as opposed to conical).
Accepted as a different subspecies antiquorum (including congoensis) Kordofan Giraffe: Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, Cameroon, and presumably NEDR Congo. The blotches, which often appear coarsely divided orconstricted, extend below the hocks.
G. c.camelopardalis as well as rothschildi and cottons (Nubian, Rothschild or Baringo Giraffe): Éthiopie, Kenya, Soudan, Ouganda. The blotches are more widely separated than in reticulata. The inner sides of the legs are unspotted, with the legs pure whitebelow the hocks. Although provisionally included in G. c.camelopardalis here, the form rothschildi may represent, and is often treated as, a separate subspecies.
Reticulated Giraffe: Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya.The large, almost blocky spots are placed tightly together with only a thin, light-colored web dividing them.The pattern is darker in older animals.
Masai Giraffe (tippelskirchi): Kenya and Tanzania. The blotches are typically deeply dissected, forming all shapes of a sharply differentiated leaf or stellate designs. The design still continues down to the hooves. The neck is lighter in color than the body, and the legs are fully covered with the pattern.
Angolensis (including infumata) (Angolan Giraffe): Namibia, Zambia, N. Botswana, extreme W. Zimbabwe; formerly in Angola, but now probably extinct. Considered a different subspecies based on the molecular evidence.
G. c. giraffa (including capensis and wardi) (Southern or Cape Giraffe): South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. The blotches, which extend down to the hooves, are more or less round. The coloring may be very dark. Generally large body size. Given its distinctive features, the Giraffe is unlikely to be confused with any other animal.