Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ABC Wednesday "Q"

Quadruped

The Dall Sheep (originally Dall's Sheep, sometimes called Thinhorn Sheep), Ovis dalli, is a wild sheep of the mountainous regions of northwest North America, ranging from white to slate brown and having curved yellowish brown horns. There are two putative subspecies: the northern Dall Sheep proper (Ovis dalli dalli) which is almost pure white, and the more southern Stone Sheep (also spelled Stone's Sheep) (Ovis dalli stonei), which is a slaty brown with some white patches on the rump and inside the hind legs.


Thinhorn Sheep (Ovis dalli stonei)
King of All He Surveys
(Click to see the King up Close)

Photographed in Alaska
Across a Canyon


Research has shown that the use of these subspecies designations is questionable. Complete colour integradation occurs between white and dark morphs of the species with intermediately coloured populations, called Fannin's Sheep (Ovis dalli fannini), found in the Pelly Mountains and Ogilvie Mountains of Yukon Territory. Mitochondrial DNA evidence has shown no molecular division along current subspecies boundaries, although evidence from nuclear DNA may provide some support. Also at the species level current taxonomy is questionable because hybrdization between Ovis dalli and Ovis canadensis has been recorded in recent evolutionary history.

The latter half of the Latin binomial dalli is derived from William Healey Dall (1845-1927), an American naturalist. The common name Dall Sheep or Dall's Sheep is often used to refer to the species Ovis dalli. An alternative use of common name terminology is that Thinhorn Sheep refers to the species Ovis dalli, while Dall's Sheep and Stone's Sheep refer to subspecies Ovis dalli dalli and Ovis dalli stonei.

The sheep inhabit the subarctic mountain ranges of Alaska, the Yukon Territory, the Mackenzie Mountains in the western Northwest Territories, and northern British Columbia. Dall sheep are found in relatively dry country and try to stay in a special combination of open alpine ridges, meadows, and steep slopes with extremely rugged ground in the immediate vicinity, in order to escape from predators that cannot travel quickly through such terrain.

Male Dall Sheep have thick curling horns. The females have shorter, more slender, slightly curved horns. Males live in bands which seldom associate with female groups except during the mating season in late November and early December. Lambs are born in May.

During the summer when food is abundant, the sheep eat a wide variety of plants. During the winter diet is much more limited and consists primarily of dry, frozen grass and sedge stems available when snow is blown off, lichen and moss. Many Dall Sheep populations visit mineral licks during the spring and often travel many miles to eat the soil around the licks.

The primary predators of Dall Sheep are wolves, coyotes, black bears, and grizzly bears; golden eagles are predators of the young.

Dall Sheep can often be observed along the Alaska Highway at Muncho Lake and at Sheep Mountain in Kluane National Park and Reserve, as well as near Faro, Yukon (Fannin's Sheep).


To play, visit ABC Wednesday, mrsnesbitt's place. Click here.

We saw all 3 types on our driving trip to Alaska. You need to have a really good reason to want to go to Faro, Yukon. It's a beautiful drive but out of the way.

I probably should have saved this for Skywatch Friday because you have to watch the ridge line to see them silhouetted against the sky.

Troy and Martha

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44 comments:

imac said...

Great shot and info, makes interesting post.

Pop over to see my Q post and the Bluebells.

John said...

Great shot and very informative Q post. Well done.

pinenut said...

Fascinating post with a lovely photo. I just finished John Muir's First Summer in the Sierra, a memoir of a his months accompanying a sheep flock into the mountains around Yosemite. Your comments confirm his amazement that the foolish, timid creatures in his charge are related to the brash wild mountain sheep he admired.

ellen b said...

This was very educational. Thanks for all the information and great job getting creative for Q..

photowannabe said...

Interesting post and good thinking for the letter Q.

me and my camera said...

I always leave your blog much richer in knowledge than before. Lovely pictures too.

Stacey Huston said...

Troy and Martha.. Once again I am glad to have gotten my biology lesson today..(grin) Wonderful informative posts you write.. I think this summer I will have my children read them also...

david mcmahon said...

Nice work. I saw some of those in the Yukon once, during a chopper flight!

Paulie said...

Lots of interesting info about these sheep. Come by and see my entry.

leslie said...

This is great! I love how we can learn so much from each other. :D

TSannie said...

Don't think I can do it, but I love your Q post and the information contained within!

Neva said...

AN awesome photo....but the info is nice to know...I had no idea...the things I have learned in blogland.
Mine is up and running and unoriginal.

Picturing of Life said...

great shot...

Will you visit mine Thanks

Gary said...

Very educational. Thanks.

Deb said...

That's a very fascinating story! Good Q!

raf said...

Spectacular shot, Troy. You're right, would be good for Sky Watch too.

RuneE said...

Very interesting reading indeed. We don't not have wild sheep in the proper meaning of the word in Norway, but we have (I would suppose) sub-species on certain parts of the coasts that live very much like you describe. However, they are semi-domesticated, but very difficult to keep.

Since they do not get any harvested food and only live on what they can find, they taste deliciously...

ArneA said...

an animal that has four feet, esp. an ungulate mammal.
Learning something new every wednesday

FANCY said...

That is a beautiful picture ;-)

babooshka said...

Would have made a great skywatch. A lovely q though.

evlahos said...

excellent capture and infos again. well done

Dirty Knees said...

The photo makes me want to visit the Yukon! Looks very beautiful. I must say that I NEVER would have thought to use the word quaduped, LOL. But now that I see what you've written, it woks for me!

Pernille's ting og tang said...

Very nice shot and a very informative Q. Well done:)

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

That's a wonderful shot. Gosh, I find it so hard to catch a photo of these guys, it's tricky! Very nice!

fishing guy said...

Troy: It looks like others are having problems with Q. You did it very nicely.

Louis la Vache said...

Clever choice for Q Wednesday!

After you finish the Camembert Quiche, you might like this for dessert!
:-)

Jonna said...

Lovely post and photo. This is why I love ABC Wednesday. You learn so many things.

zetor said...

Fantastic shot and very informative. Thanks for sharing.

Gary said...

Not a word I use every day, but Quadruped wins it for me!! And an interesting post to boot (four boots actually!)

Thanks for visiting my blog Troy.

Best wishes
Gary

quintarantino said...

Fantastic post and great photo!

mrsnesbitt said...

It is a wonderful world of discovery...Wednesday! LOL! Great stuff Troy & Martha, thanks.
Dx

mylittlephotonook said...

Thanks for sharing that interesting story!

Mari said...

Great picture! WOW!

Katney said...

We have more goats at Mt. Rainier, but there are sheep in the Cascades--some in the park but not often seen. I have also seen sheep at the Olympic National Park.

Max-e said...

I have never heard of Dall Sheep before. Interesting post. I always enjoy wild life posts

Powell River Books said...

We have Mountain Goats in our area. We can only see them (as small white dots) in the winter when the snows drive them to lower slopes to feed. My camera doesn't have enough zoom to capture them as well as you did.

I chose to use nearby Quadra Island for Q. It is a fun vacation destination that you can see by clicking here. – Margy

VP said...

You have to think quite hard for Q don't you? Yours came up trumps - loved the photo and the information :)

Nydia said...

Wow, great info, Troy! Thanks for the lesson. This is a beautiful shot, loved t. My Q post is also about a certain quadruped... my kitty! :) Kisses from Nydia.

Gordon said...

A great shot and very informative.

Diana said...

good thinking. Q was a tough one! thanks for visiting.

kRiZ cPEc said...

great shot, thanks for sharing.

Kelly said...

I loved reading your post! Great detail! A beautiful photo!

Carol said...

i am constantly in learning mode when i visit your blog Troy.... and that's a good thing... :)

the photos are great.... i enjoyed

Helena said...

Great photo!
Enjoyed the post- I had a hard time trying to think of a "Q"!