A previously overlooked difference between the blesbok and the bontebok: pale vs dark tail-tassel

@michalsloviak @geichhorn @colin25 @tandala @dewald2 @simontonge @tonyrebelo @jeremygilmore

The blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) differs from the bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) in having a pale distal section to the tail-tassel (https://www.alamy.com/blesbok-damaliscus-pygargus-phillipsi-an-antelope-endemic-to-south-africa-and-swaziland-grazing-in-grassland-image344938371.html).

This difference has not, as far as I know, been noticed by any naturalist or zoologist.

The tail-tassel of both subspecies of Damaliscus pygargus, when intact, reaches to below the hock.

In the bontebok, the whole tail-tassel is always dark (https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-bontebok-antelope-image14126791 and https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-bontebok-antelope-image4517985 and https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-bontebok-antelope-image20532746 and https://stock.adobe.com/search?k=damaliscus&asset_id=22456309).

However, in the blesbok, the distal part of the tail-tassel tends to be pale:

https://www.gettyimages.no/detail/photo/blesbok-antelopes-in-heat-royalty-free-image/547464562?adppopup=true

https://stock.adobe.com/search/images?filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aphoto%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aillustration%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Azip_vector%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Avideo%5D=0&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Atemplate%5D=0&filters%5Bcontent_type%3A3d%5D=0&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aaudio%5D=0&filters%5Binclude_stock_enterprise%5D=0&filters%5Bis_editorial%5D=0&filters%5Bfree_collection%5D=0&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aimage%5D=1&k=blesbok&order=relevance&price%5B%24%5D=1&safe_search=1&limit=100&search_page=6&search_type=pagination&get_facets=0&asset_id=173071849

https://stock.adobe.com/search/images?k=blesbok&asset_id=362706450

https://stock.adobe.com/search/images?filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aphoto%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aillustration%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Azip_vector%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Avideo%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Atemplate%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3A3d%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aaudio%5D=0&filters%5Binclude_stock_enterprise%5D=0&filters%5Bis_editorial%5D=0&filters%5Bfree_collection%5D=0&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aimage%5D=1&k=damaliscus&order=relevance&safe_search=1&limit=100&search_page=3&search_type=pagination&get_facets=0&asset_id=367831616

https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/blesbok-antelopes-gm540404998-96485023?phrase=pics%20of%20a%20blesbok

https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/blesbok-male-gm542722138-97225053?phrase=pics%20of%20a%20blesbok

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/85602201

https://stock.adobe.com/search/images?filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aphoto%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aillustration%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Azip_vector%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Avideo%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Atemplate%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3A3d%5D=1&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aaudio%5D=0&filters%5Binclude_stock_enterprise%5D=0&filters%5Bis_editorial%5D=0&filters%5Bfree_collection%5D=0&filters%5Bcontent_type%3Aimage%5D=1&k=damaliscus&order=relevance&safe_search=1&limit=100&search_page=2&get_facets=0&search_type=pagination&asset_id=367831595

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/40397227

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/42150508

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/42016467

https://www.dreamstime.com/blesbok-bontebok-damaliscus-pygargus-phillipsi-image196849627

https://www.dreamstime.com/blesbok-bontebok-damaliscus-pygargus-phillipsi-image196849628

Second photo in https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/10850618

https://dewetswild.com/2016/06/23/blesbok/#jp-carousel-52479

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19454092

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/17275768

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/16062788

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/132538840

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/104362803

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/98375710

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-blesbok-bull-antelope-standing-veld-image85276090

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Damaliscus_pygargus_phillipsi.jpg

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Dung_midden#Media/File:Blesbok_(Damaliscus_pygargus_phillipsi)_(32413640451).jpg

For an index to my many Posts about the genus Damaliscus, please see https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/milewski/78238-an-index-to-my-posts-on-genus-damaliscus#.

Posted on March 01, 2023 01:40 AM by milewski milewski

Comments

The following shows that, in the bontebok, the tail-tassel is blackish even in individuals/illuminations showing the dark pelage on the body to be merely brown:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/127885416

Posted by milewski 12 months ago

The following (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/174454790) is a particularly good illustration of the 'blonde' extension to the tail-tassel in the blesbok, a feature never seen in the bontebok. In this adult male individual, this extension nearly reaches the ground. The pallor of these hairs seems particularly significant, given that this individual is as dark-pigmented as the blesbok ever gets.

Posted by milewski 7 months ago

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