Cephalophinae


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Cephalophinae

 

(duikers), a subfamily of mammals of the family Bovidae. The animals are small or medium-sized. They measure 55-110 cm long and weigh 5-65 kg. The coloring varies from rust to dark brown. The horns are short (up to 12 cm) and are placed well behind the eye sockets; the females are often hornless. There is a characteristic tuft of long hairs on the head. Along the sides of the head, between the hooves, and sometimes in the groin there are efferent ducts of glands that secrete an odorous fluid. There are two genera comprising 19 species. They are distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. The Cephalophinae do not run swiftly, but they can make their way agilely through thick underbrush. Their diet consists of leaves, berries, and fruits. The largest species, the yellow-backed duiker (Cephalophus silvicultor), lives in the forests of tropical Africa; the common, or gray, duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia) inhabits shrub steppes; and the pygmy duiker (Cephalophus melanorheus, for example) lives in forests. The number of animals remains constant in preserves and national parks; in heavily populated agricultural areas the Cephalophinae are few in number or exterminated altogether.