AskDefine | Define mouflon

Dictionary Definition

mouflon n : wild short-fleeced mountain sheep of Corsica and Sardinia [syn: moufflon, Ovis musimon]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /'mʊflɔn/


  1. a species of wild sheep



Extensive Definition

The Mouflon (Ovis orientalis orientalis group) is a subpecies group of the wild sheep Ovis orientalis. Populations of Ovis orientails can be partitioned into the Mouflons (orientalis group) and Urials or Arkars (vignei group).
The Mouflon is thought to be one of the two ancestors for all modern domestic sheep breeds. It is red-brown with a dark back-stripe, light colored saddle patch and underparts. The males are horned and the females are horned or polled. Mouflon have a shoulder height of about 90 Centimeter and a body weight of 50 kg (males) and 35 kg (females).


Today the Mouflon occures in the Caucasus, in northern Iraq, and in northwesternIran. Originally the range stretched further to Anatolia, the Krim-peninsula and the Balkan, where it dissapeared already about 3.000 years ago. Mouflon were introduced to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Rhodes, and Cyprus during the neolithic period, perhaps as feral domesticated animals, where they naturalized to the mountainous interiors of these islands over the past few thousand years, giving rise to the species known as European mouflon (O. orientalis musimon). They are now rare on the islands and classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, but have been successfully introduced into central Europe, including Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, and even in some northern European countries such as Finland. Since the 1980s, Mouflons have been introduced successfully in game ranches in North America for the purpose of hunting; however in game ranches pure breeds are rare, as they interbred with other species introduced for the same purpose, like Barbado(s) Sheep, Corsican sheep, Painted Desert Sheep, Texas Dall Sheep or Four Horned Sheep (Jacob's Sheep).


The scientific classification of the Mouflon is disputed,. Five subspecies of Mouflon are distinguished by MSW3:
  • European Mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon (Pallas, 1811)): About 7.000 years ago the European Mufflon appeared in Corsica and Sardegna for the first time. It has been introduced in many parts of Europe.
  • Cyprian Mouflon (Ovis orientalis ophion Blyth, 1841): Cyprian Mouflon was nearly extirpated during the 20th century. In 1997 about 1.200 of this subspecies were counted.
  • Armenian Mouflon (Ovis orientalis orientalis Gmelin, 1774): Caucasus, northwestern Iran and southern Anatolia. Scientific nomenclature unclear, sometimes also called gmelini.
  • Esfahan Mouflon (Ovis orientalis isphahanica Nasonov, 1910): Zagros Mountains, Iran.
  • Laristan Mouflon (Ovis orientalis laristanica Nasonov, 1909): Small subspecies. Range is restricted to some desert reserves near Lar in southern Iran.
  • Domestic Sheep (Ovis orientalis aries Linnaeus, 1758).
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 demonstrates that a common species (in this case, a domestic sheep) can successfully provide a surrogate for the birth of an exotic animal like the mouflon. If cloning of the mouflon can proceed successfully, it has the potential to expand the species' gene pool and reduce strain on the number of living specimens.


The Mouflon is featured on the symbol of Cyprus Airways, as well as on the 1, 2, and 5 cent Cypriot euro coins.
Journalist Gregg Easterbrook often refers to the St. Louis Rams as "Les Mouflons" in his "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" columns during the NFL season, because the animal's curved horns are often mistakenly used as a depiction of ram horns.


  • V. G. Heptner: Mammals of the Sowjetunion Vol. I Ungulates. Leiden, New York, 1989 ISBN 9004088741
mouflon in Arabic: أروية
mouflon in Bulgarian: Муфлон
mouflon in Catalan: Mufló
mouflon in Czech: Muflon
mouflon in German: Mufflon
mouflon in Modern Greek (1453-): Αγρινό
mouflon in Spanish: Ovis musimon
mouflon in Esperanto: Muflono
mouflon in French: Mouflon
mouflon in Croatian: Muflon
mouflon in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Muflon
mouflon in Italian: Ovis musimon
mouflon in Latin: Ovis musimon
mouflon in Lithuanian: Muflonas
mouflon in Dutch: Moeflon
mouflon in Polish: Muflon
mouflon in Portuguese: Muflão
mouflon in Romanian: Muflon
mouflon in Russian: Муфлон
mouflon in Finnish: Mufloni
mouflon in Swedish: Mufflonfår
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