Mammal Species of the World Logo



SPECIES Camelus bactrianus

Author:Linnaeus, 1758.
Citation:Syst. Nat., 10th ed., 1: 65.
Common Name:Bactrian Camel
Type Locality:"Habitat in Africa"; identified as "Bactria" (Uzbekistan, Bokhara) by Thomas (1911a:150); based on domesticated stock.
Distribution:Exists in the wild in SW Mongolia and China (Gansu, Tsinghai, and Sinkiang); domesticated in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, north to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China.
Status:U.S. ESA Endangered; IUCN Critically Endangered.
Comments:Includes ferus Przewalski, based on wild specimen; bactrianus Linnaeus, 1758, has priority. Abramov (1996) showed that ferus dates from Przewalski, 1878, not 1883, and is preoccupied by Camelus dromedarius ferus Falk, 1786, which is probably a nomen oblitum. A. Gentry et al. (1996) proposed that majority usage should be confirmed by adoption of C. ferus as the name for the wild taxon of Bactrian camels. Though it has not been demonstrated that most authors term the wild Bactrian camel C. ferus rather than C. bactrianus (or C. b. ferus), they asked the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to use its plenary powers to rule that the name for the wild species is not invalid by virtue of being antedated by the name based on the domestic form. A ruling has now been made in their favour (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, 2003a), but it might still be valid for those who consider C. bactrianus and C. ferus to be conspecific to employ the senior name for the name of the species (see Bock, 1997). Domestic and wild camels vary by three base substitutions in the gene fragments studied and it was thought they were genetically differentiated at a level large enough that they could qualify as subspecies (Schaller, 1998). By implication, the domestic form has originated from a taxon subspecifically distinct from the extant wild form, in which case the names C. b. bactrianus and C. b. ferus would be applicable to different taxa. Bactrian and one-humped camels produce viable hybrids (C. dromedarius hybridus J. Fischer, 1829, unavailable) but hybrid males are said to be sterile (A. P. Gray, 1972).


SUBSPECIES bactrianus



  Bucknell Home Page   Biology Department Home Page


©Bucknell Univesity All Rights Reserved
Comments and questions to