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Taurotragus oryx (captive).jpg
Taurotragus oryx
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Taurotragus
Wagner, 1855

Taurotragus oryx
Taurotragus derbianus

Taurotragus is a genus of antelopes of the African savanna, commonly known as elands. It contains two species: the common eland T. oryx and the giant eland T. derbianus.


Giant eland

Common eland

Greater kudu

Mountain nyala





Lesser kudu

Phylogenetic relationships of the mountain nyala from combined analysis of all molecular data (Willows-Munro et.al. 2005)

Taurotragus is a genus of large African antelopes, placed under the subfamily Bovinae and family Bovidae. The genus authority is the German zoologist Johann Andreas Wagner, who first mentioned it in the journal Die Säugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur, mit Beschreibungen in 1855.[1] The name is composed of two Greek words: Taurus or Tauros, meaning a bull or bullock;[2][3] and Tragos, meaning a male goat, in reference to the tuft of hair that grows in the eland's ear which resembles a goat's beard.[4]

The genus consists of two species:[5]

  • Giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus)(Gray, 1847) : The largest antelope in the world. It has two subspecies:[6]
  • T. d. derbianus J. E. Gray, 1847 – western giant eland, found in western Africa, particularly Senegal to Mali
  • T. d. gigas Heuglin, 1863 – eastern giant eland, found in central to eastern Africa, particularly Cameroon to South Sudan
  • Common eland (Taurotragus oryx) (Pallas, 1766) : Three subspecies of common eland are recognized, though their validity has been in dispute.[7][8]
  • T. o. livingstonii (Sclater, 1864) (Livingstone's eland): It is found in the Central Zambezian Miombo woodlands. Livingstone's eland has a brown pelt with up to twelve stripes.
  • T. o. oryx (Pallas, 1766) (Cape eland): It is found in south and southwest Africa. The fur is tawny, and adults lose their stripes.
  • T. o. pattersonianus (Lydekker, 1906) (East African eland or Patterson's eland): It is found in east Africa, hence its common name. Its coat can have up to 12 stripes.


  1. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 696. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ "Taurus". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Taurus". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Tragos". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Taurotragus, Mammal Species of the World
  6. ^ Hildyard, A (2001). "Eland". In Anne Hildyard. Endangered wildlife and plants of the world. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 501–503. ISBN 0-7614-7198-7. 
  7. ^ Grubb, P. (2005). "Order Artiodactyla". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 696–7. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  8. ^ Skinner, JD; Chimimba, CT (2005). "Ruminantia". The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 637–9. ISBN 0-521-84418-5.