Ovis aries - Linnaeus, 1758
Red Sheep
Other English Common Names: European Mouflon Sheep, Mouflon
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ovis aries Linnaeus, 1758 (TSN 552475)
Spanish Common Names: Oveja, Borrego
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100199
Element Code: AMALE04030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Other Mammals
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Artiodactyla Bovidae Ovis
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Ovis aries
Taxonomic Comments: Grubb (in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005) included O. orientalis (Asiatic Mouflon), as well as O. musimon and O. ophion (primitive domestic sheep, now feral), in Ovis aries; this arrangement is adopted in this database. Ovis aries has been included in O. ammon (Argali) by some authors, but O. ammon was regarded as a distinct species by Grubb (in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005). Ovis aries (O. orientalis) hybridizes with O. vignei in Iran. See Tomich (1986) for information on Ovis aries-O. musimon hybrids in Hawaii.

Common name (Red Sheep) is from Grubb (in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

Domestic sheep are derived from wild sheep of central and western Eurasia.

The genus Ovis has been included in the genus Capra by some authors.

See Georgiadis et al. (1991) for a phylogeny of the Bovidae based on allozyme divergence among 27 species. See Kraus and Miyamoto (1991) for a phylogenetic analysis of pecoran ruminants (Cervidae, Bovidae, Moschidae, Antilocapridae, and Giraffidae) based on mitochondrial DNA data.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 15Jun2000
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (20Sep2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Hawaii (SNA)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS:LE
Comments on USESA: Cyprus population of mouflon, variously known as "OVIS MUSIMON OPHION" or "OVIS ORIENTALIS OPHION," is listed by USFWS as Endangered.

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Southern and eastern Turkey, Armenia, southern Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and western Iran; domesticated worldwide; primitive domestic populations (mouflon) are feral on Corsica, Cyprus, and Sardinia, introduced from there to Europe, Crimea, U.S. (including Hawaii), Chile, Kerguelen Islands, Tenerife (Canary Islands), St. Kilda and other small islands off the British Isles; improved domestic stock is feral in Norway, Sweden, U.S., islands off the coasts of British Isles and New Zealand, Kerguelen Islands, and probably other oceanic islands (Grubb, in Wilson and Reeder 1993). Few populations of wild sheep remain in Eurasia, but domestic sheep occur worldwide in association with humans. Feral populations are firmly established on Hawaii, principally on Mauna Kea and Hualalai; mainly at 600-3950 m; formerly on other islands and more widespread on Hawaii (Tomich 1986); mouflon ("OVIS MUSIMON") occur on western Lanai and on the Big Island (Hawaii) on Mauna Loa and among other feral sheep on Mana Kea (Tomich 1986).

Population Size Comments: "OVIS MUSIMON": Sardinia population was about 1100-1600 in the 1980s (see Nowak 1991). Introductions have resulted in a population of about 60,000 in mainland Europe, with additional populations in other parts of the world. Population on Lanai in 1981 was estimated at about 900; about 500 on Mauna Kea in the mid-1980s.

Short-term Trend Comments: Mouflon ("OVIS MUSIMON"): population in native range declined drastically after 1900, with only a few hundred surviving in the 1960s; subsequent protection led to an increase, at least on Sardinia (see Nowak 1991).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Southern and eastern Turkey, Armenia, southern Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and western Iran; domesticated worldwide; primitive domestic populations (mouflon) are feral on Corsica, Cyprus, and Sardinia, introduced from there to Europe, Crimea, U.S. (including Hawaii), Chile, Kerguelen Islands, Tenerife (Canary Islands), St. Kilda and other small islands off the British Isles; improved domestic stock is feral in Norway, Sweden, U.S., islands off the coasts of British Isles and New Zealand, Kerguelen Islands, and probably other oceanic islands (Grubb, in Wilson and Reeder 1993). Few populations of wild sheep remain in Eurasia, but domestic sheep occur worldwide in association with humans. Feral populations are firmly established on Hawaii, principally on Mauna Kea and Hualalai; mainly at 600-3950 m; formerly on other islands and more widespread on Hawaii (Tomich 1986); mouflon ("OVIS MUSIMON") occur on western Lanai and on the Big Island (Hawaii) on Mauna Loa and among other feral sheep on Mana Kea (Tomich 1986).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States HIexotic

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2005

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeds year round in Hawaii, with a peak in late winter-early spring and a lesser peak in late summer. Gestation lasts around 150 days. May attain sexual maturity within one year. Litter size 1-2. One or two litters/year. Litter size and frequency of litters are minimal in females breeding as yearlings(Kramer 1971).
Ecology Comments: Population on Hirta (St. Kilda) exhibits marked and persistent instability in population size (600-1600 individuals); high mortality occurs in winter, due mainly to starvation (Clutton-Brock et al. 1991).

Mouflon in Hawaii: travels generally in small groups, sometimes forms herds of more than 100 (Tomich 1986).

Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Bare rock/talus/scree, Cliff, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: Mouflon in Hawaiian Islands: rugged ridges and gullies sloping westward to sea on Lanai; in scrub habitat at 1200-2400 m on Mauna Loa (Tomich 1986).
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Feral sheep, including mouflon, have been hunted in Hawaii, but management as game species is incompatible with protection of native ecosystems (see Tomich 1986). Feral populations that are ecologically undesirable may nevertheless include potentially valuable genetic traits (Van Vuren and Hedrick 1989).
Management Summary
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Species Impacts: Has been a serious pest in Hawaii where it is destructive to mamane (SOPHORA) trees and thus incompatible with protection of habitat for palila and other endemic birds (Scott et al. 1984); control measures in the early 1980s reduced the population to a low level (Tomich 1986). Also has caused ecological damage on Santa Cruz Island, California.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 29Aug1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Clutton-Brock, T. H., et al. 1991. Persistent instability and population regulation in soay sheep. J. Anim. Ecol. 60:593-608.

  • Georgiadis, N. J., P. Kat, H. Oketch, and J. Patton. 1991. Allozyme divergence within the Bovidae. Evolution 44:2135-2149.

  • Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk Project. 2005. Information index for selected alien vertebrates in Hawaii. Internet resource available at http://www.hear.org/alienspeciesinhawaii/InfoIndexVertebrates.htm. Downloaded 31 March 2005.

  • Kramer, R. J. 1971. Hawaiian land mammals. Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc., Rutland, Vermont, and Tokyo, Japan. 347 pp.

  • Kraus, F., and M. M. Miyamoto. 1991. Rapid cladogenesis among the pecoran ruminants: evidence from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Systematic Zoology 40:117-130.

  • Lever, C. 1985. Naturalized mammals of the world. Longman Group Limited, England.

  • Nowak, R. M. 1991. Walker's mammals of the world. Fifth edition. Vols. I and II. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore. 1629 pp.

  • Schuyler, P. 1989. Control of feral sheep on Santa Cruz Island. In F. G. Hochberg, ed. Recent advances in California Islands research: proceedings of the third California Islands symposium. Santa Barbara Mus. Nat. Hist.

  • Scott, J. M., S. Mountainspring, C. van Riper, III, C. B. Kepler, J. D. Jacobi, T. A. Burr, and J. G. Griffin. 1984. Annual variation in the distribution, abundance, and habitat response of the alila (LOXIOIDES BALLEUI). Auk 101:647-64.

  • Tomich, P. Q. 1986. Mammals in Hawai'i. A synopsis and notational bibliography. Second edition. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 375 pp.

  • Van Vuren, D., and B. E. Coblentz. 1989. Population characteristics of feral sheep on Santa Cruz Island. J. Wildl. Manage. 53:306-313.

  • Van Vuren, D., and P. W. Hedrick. 1989. Genetic conservation in feral populations of livestock. Conservation Biology 3:312-317.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. Available online at: https://www.departments.bucknell.edu/biology/resources/msw3/

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