Tricho-taxonomic studies for identification of two Indian antelope species Blackbuck, Antelope cervicapra (Linnaeus, 1758) and Indian Gazelle or Chinkara, Gazella bennettii (Sykes, 1831) by dorsal guard

Abstract

Author(s): M. Kamalakannan and Gaurav Sharma

The dorsal guard hairs of two antelope species Blackbuck, Antelope cervicapra (Linnaeus, 1758) and Indian Gazelle or Chinkara, Gazella bennettii (Sykes, 1831) were examined using optical and scanning electron microscopes. Both morphological and microscopic characters of hairs had shown a significant variations between the species. The profile of dorsal guard hairs were straight in A. cervicapra and slightly wavy in G. bennettii. The measurement data of the species observed as (mean value): scale count per millimetre length of hair- 205.1±26.2 and 149.1±3.7 mm; length of cuticular scales- 64.4±3.8 and 58.6±2.2 µm; width of cuticular scales: 10.6±1.5 and 11.7±2.5 µm in A. cervicapra and G. bennettii, respectively. The structure of medulla of the species was observed as ‘wide aeriform lattice’ in A. cervicapra and as ‘reversed cloisonné’ in G. bennettii. The shape of the cross-section was observed as: ‘Concavo convex’ in A. cervicapra and ‘oval’ in G. bennettii. Based on a combination characters of dorsal guard hairs, the two Indian antelope species can be identified. The micro-photographs and characters of dorsal guard hairs are presented here can be used in forensic science as well as prey-predator food analysis as an appropriate reference for the species identification.

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