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SPECIES Bubalus bubalis

Author:Linnaeus, 1758.
Citation:Syst. Nat., 10th ed., 1: 72.
Common Name:Water Buffalo
Type Locality:"Habitat in Asia, cultus in Italia". Restricted by Thomas (1911a:154) to Italy, Rome, but Linnaeus' (1758) comment indicates Asia (India?).
Distribution:Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India (survives in Assam and Orissa), Nepal, N Thailand, Vietnam, and possibly at least formerly in Laos; domesticated in N Africa, S Europe, and even England, east to Indonesia and in E South America; supposedly feral populations in Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Philippines and other parts of SE Asia; feral populations resulting from introductions in New Britain and New Ireland (Bismarck Arch., Papua New Guinea), and Australia.
Status:CITES Appendix III (Nepal) as B. arnee (excludes domesticated forms - but see comments below; IUCN Endangered.
Comments:Includes arnee, the name used for the species by those workers who do not employ specific names based on domestic mammals; bubalis is the senior synonym; see Ellerman and Morrison-Scott (1951:383); but see also Corbet and Hill (1991:130). Gentry et al. (1996) proposed that majority usage be confirmed by adoption of Bubalus arnee as the name for the wild taxon of water buffaloes, though it has not been demonstrated that most authors term the wild buffalo B. arnee rather than B. bubalis (or B. b. arnee). They asked the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to use its plenary powers to rule that the name for this 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). It may still be valid for those who consider B. bubalis and B. arnee to be conspecific to employ the senior name for the name of the species (see Bock, 1997). Domestic buffaloes comprise Murrah or river buffaloes (the Bos bubalis of Linnaeus), with distinctive morphology (Cockrill, 1974), and swamp buffaloes, which resemble the wild populations. These two kinds differ not only in morphology but also in karyotype (Berardino and Iannuzzi, 1981; Fischer and Ulbrich, 1968) and DNA sequences that suggest two independent domestications of water buffalo (Tanaka et al., 1996), presumably from different infraspecific wild taxa. However, Kierstein et al. (2003) inferred that there was only a single domestication. A third taxon, Bubalus mephistopheles Hopwood, 1925, was also domesticated but is not known to have survived later than ca. 3000 yr BP (Olsen, 1993; Teilhard de Chardin and Young, 1936). Whatever name might apply to swamp buffaloes, it would appear that river buffaloes could be recognized as a separate taxon (Bubalus bubalis bubalis) from B. b. arnee. Status of insular populations unclear; some populations on Sumatra and Java have "wild" morphology (Dammerman, 1934) and are here provisionally assigned to kerabau; kerabau and migona are here treated as subspecies until more information becomes available. Mainland wild populations revised by Groves (1996b).
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Offspring:

SUBSPECIES bubalis

SUBSPECIES arnee

SUBSPECIES fulvus

SUBSPECIES kerabau

SUBSPECIES migona

SUBSPECIES theerapati

Synonyms:


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