Morphological analysis of the aoudad: the introduced population is well adapted to the Mediterranean habitat.
The aoudad is a bovid species native to North Africa and highly adaptable to different environments. Although some morphological data of aoudad has been published, the research mostly dealt with measurements taken from captive populations. Therefore, morphological data of free-ranging populations in their non-native habitat is largely unknown. The present study analysed the important morphometric parameters in a non- native Mediterranean population of aoudad. Body and horn measurements were taken on 30 free-range aoudads (20 M, 10 F) legally culled from 2014 to 2019. A descriptive analysis of the quantitative body and horn measurements was performed and an insight into population growth rates was provided. The Mediterranean population of aoudad showed higher mean values of investigated body and horn measurements and higher growth rates than in other research, ranging from ca. 2 - 10% for most of the measurements. The results suggest that the investigated population is well adapted to Mediterranean habitat which allowed aoudad to notably allocate energy to both body and horn development. This research is a contribution to knowledge about how specific habitat might shape aoudad population life-history traits.