AppearanceMouflon have red-brown, short-haired coats with dark back-stripes and light-colored saddle patches. The males are horned; some females are horned, while others are polled. The horns of mature rams are curved in almost one full revolution . Mouflon have shoulder heights of about 0.9 m and body weights of 50 kg and 35 kg .
NamingThe scientific classification of the mouflon is disputed. Five subspecies of mouflon are distinguished by MSW3:
⤷ The Armenian mouflon , ''Ovis orientalis gmelini'' , northwestern Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It has been introduced in Texas, US.
⤷ The European mouflon, ''O. o. musimon'' was introduced about 7,000 years ago in Corsica and Sardinia for the first time. It has since been introduced in many parts of Europe.
⤷ The Cypriot mouflon, ''O. o. ophion'' , also called ''agrino'', from the Greek ''Αγρινό'' was nearly extirpated during the 20th century. In 1997, about 1,200 of this subspecies were counted. The television show ''Born to Explore with Richard Wiese'' reported 3,000 are now on Cyprus.
⤷ The Esfahan mouflon, ''O. o. isphahanica'' , is from the Zagros Mountains, Iran.
⤷ The Laristan mouflon, ''O. o. laristanica'' , is a small subspecies; its range is restricted to some desert reserves near Lar in southern Iran.
A mouflon was cloned successfully in early 2001 and lived at least seven months, making it the first clone of an endangered mammal to survive beyond infancy. This demonstrated a common species can successfully become a surrogate for the birth of an exotic animal such as the mouflon. If cloning of the mouflon can proceed successfully, it has the potential to reduce strain on the number of living specimens.
ReproductionMouflon rams have a strict dominance hierarchy. Before mating season or “rut”, which is from late autumn to early winter, rams try to create a dominance hierarchy to determine access to ewes for mating. Mouflon rams fight one another to prove their dominance and get opportunity to mate with females. Mouflons reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 to 4 years. Young rams need to prove dominance before they get a chance to mate, which takes another 3 years for them to start mating. Mouflon ewes also go through a similar hierarchy process, in terms of social status in the first 2 years. Pregnancy in females lasts 5 months, in which they produce 1 to 2 offspring.
Cultural* The mouflon were mentioned to be on Lincoln Island in Jules Verne's ''The Mysterious Island''.
⤷ The mouflon is featured on the symbol of Cyprus Airways, as well as on the 1-, 2-, and 5-cent Cypriot euro coins.
⤷ The mouflon is featured both on the symbol and as the nickname of the Cyprus national rugby union team.
⤷ The mouflon is featured on the historical flag of the Armenian kingdom of Syunik, as well as on the tombstones.
⤷ The similarity of the mouflon to domestic sheep, combined with its threatened status, has made it a subject of interest, both scientific and popular, in the use of biotechnology in species preservation.
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