INTRODUCTION The argali or arkhar (O. ammon) of Central Asia is distributed following a cline of closely related subspecies within the genus Ovis, family Caprinae, order Cetartiodactyla (note: the order name is following Montgelard et al (1997)). Argali is the Mongol word for wild sheep and is commonly used to designate all wild sheep of the type ammon. The argalis are mainly distributed in the highlands of central Asia: from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan to China and Mongolia. They range from the Russian and Mongolian Altai east through the Gobi Desert to Inner Mongolia of China, and south through the Tian Shan complex, Trans-Alai and Altai ranges and eastern Pamirs, west to the Nura Tau and Kara Tau Ranges and east through the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas in Ladak, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, which is roughly 0.59 million km2 (Clark 1964; Valdez 1982; McElroy 1991). The subspecific classification of argalis remains problematic and the number of putative subspecies ranges from 6 to 15 (Clark 1964; Schaller 1977; Valdez 1982; Feng 1986; Mitchell 1989, unpublished data; Geist 1991; Wang 1991; Tan 1992; Yu 1994; Bunch et a L 1998; Bunch et aL 1999). The argalis endemic to
Mammalia - International Journal of the Systematics, Biology and Ecology of Mammals – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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