SHEEP, DALL

Under Construction May 2011

DALL SHEEP

Ovis dalli dalli

GUARD HAIR

Length: 20-40mm (ASM#1) 50-55mm (ASM #3)

Diameter Range: 125 microns (ASM #1) 225-250 microns (ASM #3)

Medullary Index: N/A

Medulla: Cells of medulla are bubble-wrap like, sometimes called “honeycomb” and are sometimes mistaken for the scale pattern. In several areas the hair is broken and medium has been able to penetrate, appearing as lighter areas. (ASM #1)

Color: White

Scales: Scales have a definite narrow fish-scale look to them, and the big polygon shapes of the medulla should not be mistaken for the scales.  Scales have smooth edges and are often only a few across when viewed through the microscope, looking like squat polygons. 

UNDERFUR

Length: 20-30mm (ASM #1) 35-40mm (ASM #3)

Diameter Range: 15-20 microns

Medullary Index: 0.71

Medulla: Easy to see interrupted medulla

Color: White

Scales: Widely spaced stacked crowns.

Macro Qualities: 4.3 – 5.8 feet long.  Kinky guard hairs

Cultures:

Notes: ASM #1 is from the ASM education collection pelt ring, ASM #2 is from an old slide in the ASM conservation lab, ASM #3 is from the Juneau-Douglas City Museum touchboard.

Troubleshooting: If you see a honeycomb medulla, the Alaskan mammal will usually be a deer-like animal from the Cervid family, but the Dall Sheep also has this kind of medulla and it is a bovid.  To confirm Dall Sheep, look at the underfur.  It will be totally unpigmented and have an easy-to-see interrupted medulla.  The goat will also have underfur with a distinctive uniserial ladder medulla. 

Range: Mostly interior Alaska south of the Brooks Range but also the Seward Peninsula and Kenai Peninsula (Forsyth 1999).  Mountain ranges throughout Alaska.  (ADF&G 2008).

Names: Order Artiodactyla (the even-toed ungulates) Family Bovidae (the bovids)  Also called Dall’s sheep, thin horn sheep.

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