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a genus of artiodactyl mammals of the family Bovidae. Capra are somewhat larger than domestic goats; the massive trunk stands on comparatively short, thick legs; the tail is short. In males the horns are large and of varied shapes; in females they are very small. The males, and sometimes the females, have a long-haired “beard.” The males have glands alongside the anus that manufacture a secretion with a sharp, unpleasant odor. Females have two teats. The coat consists of a coarse wool and a down (underfur) that is well developed only in winter.
Capra are found in North Africa, Europe, and Asia. The approximately ten species of Capra comprise four groups: (1) Capra proper, which have horns curved in a saber shape with a drop-shaped cross section—for instance, the wild goat; (2) ibexes, with horns bent in a saber shape and a triangular cross section with a flat anterior facet—for example, the alpine ibex (C. ibex) and the Siberian ibex; (3) markhors, with horns curved in a spiral or screw shape and an elliptical cross section —for example, the markhor C. falconeri; and (4) mountain goats, with variously bent horns and rounded-triangular cross sections—for instance, the Caucasian mountain goat (C. caucasica).
All Capra members are typical mountain animals that inhabit inaccessible rocky places to altitudes of 5,500 m. They move over rocky ledges and the most inaccessible steep slopes with exceptional agility. They are polygamous herd animals. The size of their herds changes with the seasons (the herd is larger in winter). In summer they usually live high in the mountains, descending in winter. They feed on grassy and woody-shrub vegetation and sometimes on lichens. They mate at the onset of winter, at which time the males fight for the females. Gestation is five months. One or two young are born in May and June. Capra are valuable game animals for their meat, hide, and horns. Wild Capra are the progenitors of domestic goats, with which they crossbreed and produce fertile offspring.
REFERENCESSokolov, I. I. “Opyt estestvennoi klassifikatsii polorogikh.” Trudy Zoologicheskogo instituia AN SSSR, vol. 14.
Sokolov, I. I. Kopymye zveri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959. (Fauna SSSR: Mlekopitaiushchie, vol. 1, issue 3.)
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1961.
I. I. SOKOLOV [12–1158—4]