Lesser kudu

Lesser kudu
Lesser Kudu Male (Tragelaphus imberbis).jpg
Adult male
Scientific classification edit
T. imberbis
Binomial name
Tragelaphus imberbis
(Blyth, 1869)
Tragelaphus imberbis map.png
Range map
  • Ammelaphus strepsiceros (Heller, 1912)
  • Ammelaphus australis (Heller, 1913)

The lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) is a forest antelope found in East Africa. It is placed in the genus Tragelaphus and family Bovidae. It was first described by the English zoologist Edward Blyth in 1869. The head-and-body length is typically 110–140 cm (43–55 in). Males reach about 95–105 cm (37–41 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 90–100 cm (35–39 in). Males typically weigh 92–108 kg (203–238 lb) and females 56–70 kg (123–154 lb). The females and juveniles have a reddish-brown coat, while the males become yellowish grey or darker after the age of 2 years. Horns are present only on males. The spiral horns are 50–70 cm (20–28 in) long, and have two to two-and-a-half twists.

A pure browser, the lesser kudu feeds on foliage from bushes and trees (shoots, twigs) and herbs. Despite seasonal and local variations, foliage from trees and shrubs constitute 60–80% of the diet throughout the year. The lesser kudu is mainly active at night and during the dawn, and seeks shelter in dense thickets just after the sunrise. The lesser kudu exhibits no territorial behaviour, and fights are rare. While females are gregarious, adult males prefer being solitary. No fixed breeding season is seen; births may occur at any time of the year. The lesser kudu inhabits dry, flat, and heavily forested regions.

The lesser kudu is native to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, but it is extinct in Djibouti. It may have been present in Saudi Arabia and Yemen as recently as 1967, though its presence in the Arabian Peninsula is still controversial.[4] The total population of the lesser kudu has been estimated to be nearly 118,000, with a decreasing trend in populations. One-third of the populations survive in protected areas. Presently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature rates the lesser kudu as "near threatened".

Taxonomy and genetics

Giant eland

Common eland

Greater kudu

Mountain nyala



Cape bushbuck


Lesser kudu

Phylogenetic relationships of the lesser kudu from combined analysis of all molecular data (Willows-Munro et.al. 2005)

The scientific name of the lesser kudu is Tragelaphus imberbis. The animal is classified under the genus Tragelaphus in family Bovidae. It was first described by the English zoologist Edward Blyth in 1869.[3] The generic name, Tragelaphus, derives from Greek word tragos, meaning a male goat, and elaphos, which means a deer, while the specific name imberbis comes from the Latin term meaning unbearded, referring to this kudu's lack of mane.[5] The vernacular name kudu (or koodoo) could have originated either from the Afrikaans koedoe or the Khoikhoi kudu.[6] The term "lesser" denotes the smaller size of this antelope as compared to the greater kudu.[4]

In 1912, the genus Ammelaphus was established for just the lesser kudu by American zoologist Edmund Heller, the type species being A. strepsiceros.[2] The lesser kudu is now typically placed in Tragelaphus.[3] However, a 2011 publication by Colin Groves and Peter Grubb argues for the lesser kudu's renewed placement in the genus Ammelaphus on the grounds that this species is part of the earliest-diverging lineage of its tribe, having split from the main lineage before it separated into Tragelaphus and Taurotragus.[7]

In 2005, Sandi Willows-Munro (of the University of KwaZulu-Natal) and colleagues carried out a mitochondrial analysis of the nine Tragelaphus species. mtDNA and nDNA data were compared. The results showed that the tribe Tragelaphini is monophyletic with the lesser kudu basal in the phylogeny, followed by the nyala (T. angasii).[8][9] On the basis of mitochondrial data, the lesser kudu separated from its sister clade around 13.7 million years ago. However, the nuclear data show that lesser kudu and nyala form a clade, and collectively separated from the sister clade 13.8 million years ago.[10][11]

The lesser kudu has 38 diploid chromosomes. However, unlike others in the subfamily Tragelaphinae, the X chromosome and Y chromosome are compound and each is fused with one of two identical autosomes.[12]

Other Languages
አማርኛ: ኣምበራይሌ
العربية: كود أصغر
azərbaycanca: Kiçik kudu
беларуская: Малы куду
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Малы куду
brezhoneg: Koudou bihan
català: Cudú petit
čeština: Kudu malý
Deutsch: Kleiner Kudu
français: Petit koudou
한국어: 작은쿠두
עברית: קודו זוטר
ქართული: მცირე კუდუ
lietuvių: Mažoji kudu
magyar: Kis kudu
Nederlands: Kleine koedoe
پنجابی: نکا کڈو
polski: Kudu małe
русский: Малый куду
српски / srpski: Мали куду
suomi: Pikkukudu
svenska: Mindre kudu
удмурт: Пичи куду
українська: Куду малий
Tiếng Việt: Linh dương Kudu nhỏ
中文: 小旋角羚