Sitatunga

Sitatunga

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)[1]

Scientific classification

Kingdom:
Animalia

Phylum:
Chordata

Clade:
Synapsida

Class:
Mammalia

Order:
Artiodactyla

Family:
Bovidae

Subfamily:
Bovinae

Genus:
Tragelaphus

Species:
T. spekii

Binomial name

Tragelaphus spekii
(Speke, 1863)

Synonyms[2]

T. albonotatus (Neumann, 1905)
T. baumii (Sokolowsky, 1903)
T. inornatus (Cabrera, 1918)
T. larkenii (St Leger, 1931)
T. speckei (Neumann, 1900)
T. typicus (R. Ward, 1910)
T. ugallae (Matschie, 1913)
T. wilhelmi (Lönnberg and Gyldenstolpe, 1924)

The sitatunga or marshbuck (Tragelaphus spekii) is a swamp-dwelling antelope found throughout central Africa, centering on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, parts of Southern Sudan, Ghana, Botswana, Zambia, Gabon, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The species was first described by the English explorer John Hanning Speke in 1863. The sitatunga is a medium-sized antelope. Males reach approximately 81–116 cm (32–46 in) at the shoulder, while females reach 72–90 cm (28–35 in). Males typically weigh 76–119 kg (168–262 lb), while females weigh 24–57 kg (53–126 lb). The sitatunga has a shaggy, water-resistant coat which varies in colour. The body and feet of this antelope are specially adapted to its swampy habitat. Only the males possess horns; these are spiral in shape, have one or two twists and are 45–92 cm (18–36 in) long.
Sitatunga are active mainly during the early hours after dawn, the last one or two hours before dusk, and night. They are not territorial. Sitatunga are selective in what they eat and feed mainly on new foliage, fresh grasses, aquatic plants, sedges and browse. Females are sexually mature by one year of age, while males take one and a half years to mature. Breeding occurs throughout the year but peaks in the dry season. Gestation lasts for nearly eight months, after which generally a single calf is born. Lifespan recorded in captivity averages 22 to 23 years.
The sitatunga is confined to swampy and marshy habitats. Here they occur in tall and dense vegetation as well as seasonal swamps, marshy clearings in forests, riparian thickets and mangrove swamps. Habitat loss is the most severe threat to the survival of the sitatunga. The species has been classified under the Least Concern category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resource