name = Pronghorn
status = LC
status_system = iucn3.1
status_ref = [IUCN2006|assessors=Antelope Specialist Group|year=1996|id=1677|title=Antilocapra americana|downloaded=12 May 2006]

image_width = 280px
image_caption = A pronghorn near Fort Rock, Oregon
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Artiodactyla
subordo = Ruminantia
infraordo = Pecora
familia = Antilocapridae
familia_authority = Gray, 1866
genus = "Antilocapra"
species = "A. americana"
binomial = "Antilocapra americana"
binomial_authority = Ord, 1815
subdivision_ranks = Subspecies
subdivision = "Antilocapra americana americana"
"Antilocapra americana mexicana"
"Antilocapra americana peninsularis"
"Antilocapra americana sonoriensis"

The pronghorn ("Antilocapra americana"), also pronghorn antelope or prong buck, [Caton, J. D. (1876). [ The American Antelope, or Prong Buck] "The American Naturalist" 10 (4): 193-205.] is a species of ungulate mammal native to interior western North America. It is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae.Smithsonian Institution. North American Mammals: [ Pronghorn "Antilocapra americana"] ]


Adult males are 1.3–1.5 m (4 1/4-5 ft) long from nose to tail and stand 81–104 cm (2 5/8-3 3/8 ft) high at the shoulder, and weigh 40–60 kg (88-132 lb). The females are as long, but average slightly less heavy, 40–50 kg (88-110 lb). The main color of adults is brown or tan, with a white rump and belly and two white stripes on the throat. A short dark mane grows along the neck, and males also sport a black mask and black patches on the sides of the neck. The tail is short, 7.5–17.8 cm (average 13.5 cm) long. The feet have just two hooves, with no dewclaws. The body temperature is 38.0 °C.Mammals of Texas: [ Pronghorn] ] Animal Diversity Web: [ "Antilocapra americana"] ] AnAge: [ "Antilocapra americana"] ]

, the horn sheaths of the pronghorn are branched, each sheath possessing a forward pointing tine (hence the name pronghorn). The horns of males are well developed; in females, they are either small, misshapen, or absent.

The orbits (eye sockets) are prominent and sit high on the skull; there is never an antorbital pit. The feet have only two digits; no dewclaws are present. The teeth are hypsodont, and the dental formula is I 0/3, C 0/1, P 3/3, M 3/3 x 2 = 32.Clarifyme|date=September 2008

Males have a prominent pair of horns on the top of the head, which are made up of an outer sheath of hairlike substance that grows around a bony core; the outer sheath is shed annually. Females antelope will occasionally grow horns. Males have a horn sheath about 12.5–43 cm (mean 25 cm) long with a prong. Females have smaller horns, ranging from 2.5–15 cm (average 12 cm), and sometimes barely visible; they are straight and very rarely pronged. Males are further differentiated from females in that males will have a small patch of black hair at the corner of the jawbone. Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a scent gland located on the sides of the head. They also have very large eyes, with a 320 degree field of vision. Unlike deer, pronghorns possess a gallbladder.

It can run exceptionally fast, being built for maximum predator evasion through running, and is generally accepted to be the fastest land mammal in the New World. The top speed is very hard to measure accurately and varies between individuals; it is variously cited as up to 70 km/h, 72 km/h, or 86 km/h. It is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah.Klessius, M. (2007). Losing Ground. "National Geographic" 211 (1): 22. ISSN 0027-9358] It can however sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs. The pronghorn probablyFact|date=September 2008 evolved its running ability to escape from the recently extinct American cheetah, since its speed greatly exceeds that of extant North American predators. It has a very large heart and lungs, and their hair is hollow. Although built for speed, it is a very poor jumper. Their ranges are often affected by sheep ranchers' fences. However, they can be seen going under fences, sometimes at high speed. For this reason the Arizona Antelope Foundation and others are in the process of removing the bottom barbed wire from the fences, and/or installing a barbless bottom wire.

Gaits used by the pronghorn include the highly distinctive pronk, a leaping gait.


Pronghorns were brought to scientific notice by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which found them in what is now South Dakota, USA. The range extends from southern Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada south through the United States (southwestern Minnesota and central Texas west to northeastern California), to Sonora and San Luis Potosí in northern Mexico, with a small disjunct population in northern Baja California Sur.

The subspecies known as the Sonoran pronghorn ("Antilocapra americana sonoriensis") occurs in Arizona and Mexico. Other subspecies include the Mexican Pronghorn ("A. a. mexicana") and the critically endangered Baja California Pronghorn ("A. a. peninsularis").

Bands of pronghorns live in open grasslands, forming small single-sex groups in spring and summer, and gathering into large mixed herds, sometimes up to 1,000 strong, in the fall and winter; they may migrate up to 160 km to avoid deep winter snow.


Pronghorns live primarily in grasslands but also in brushland and deserts. They eat a wide variety of plant foods, often including plants that are unpalatable or toxic to domestic livestock (sheep and cattle) though they also compete with these for food. In one study forbs comprised 62% of the diet, shrubs 23%, and grasses 15%, while in another, cacti comprised 40%, grass 22%, forbs 20%, and shrubs 18%.

Reproductive ecology

Pronghorns have a gestation period of 235 days, longer than is typical for North American ungulates. They breed in mid-September, and the doe carries her fawn until late May. This is around six weeks longer than the white-tailed deer. Newborn pronghorns weigh 2–4 kg, most commonly 3 kg. Sexual maturity is reached at 15 to 16 months, though males rarely breed until 3 years old. The longevity is typically up to 10 years, rarely 15 years.

Population and conservation

By 1908, hunting pressure had reduced the pronghorn population to about 20,000. Protection of habitat and hunting restrictions have allowed their numbers to recover to 500,000. There has been some recent decline, possibly due to overgrazing by sheep; pronghorn populations cannot maintain themselves successfully where sheep numbers are kept high.

Cougars, Wolves, coyotes and bobcats are the major predators. Golden eagles have been reported to prey on fawns.

Pronghorns are now numerous enough that they exceed the human population in all of Wyoming and parts of northern Colorado. It is widely hunted in western states for purposes of population control and food, as the meat is rich and lean.

Three subspecies are considered endangered in all ("A. a. sonoriensis", "A. a. peninsularis"), or part of their ranges ("A. a. mexicana").

Other species

During the Pleistocene period, 12 antilocaprid species existed in North America; all but "A. americana" are now extinct.

ee also

* Antilocapridae


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • pronghorn — ☆ pronghorn [prôŋ′hôrn΄ ] n. pl. pronghorns or pronghorn the only species (Antilocapra americana) of a family (Antilocapridae) of ruminants of Mexico and the W U.S., having curved horns, each with one prong, that are shed annually: resembles both …   English World dictionary

  • Pronghorn — Prong horn , n. (Zo[ o]l.) An American antelope ({Antilocapra Americana}), native of the plain near the Rocky Mountains. The upper parts are mostly yellowish brown; the under parts, the sides of the head and throat, and the buttocks, are white.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pronghorn — ● pronghorn nom masculin (anglais prong, pointe, et horn, corne) Antilope à cornes fourchues aux étuis caducs, seul représentant de la famille des antilocapridés …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pronghorn — Antilocapra americana Antilocapra americana …   Wikipédia en Français

  • pronghorn — /prawng hawrn , prong /, n., pl. pronghorns, (esp. collectively) pronghorn. a fleet, antelopelike ruminant, Antilocapra americana, of the plains of western North America: now greatly reduced in number and endangered in some areas. Also called… …   Universalium

  • Pronghorn — Gabelbock Männlicher Gabelbock (Antilocapra americana) Systematik Überordnung: Laurasiatheria …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • pronghorn — noun (plural pronghorn or pronghorns) Date: 1823 a swift horned ruminant mammal (Antilocapra americana) chiefly of grasslands and deserts of western North America that resembles an antelope called also pronghorn antelope …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pronghorn — šakiaragis statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Antilocapra americana angl. pronghorn; pronghorn antelope vok. Gabelbock; Gabelhornantilope rus. вилорог pranc. antilope à cornes fourchues; antilope… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • pronghorn — noun A North American mammal, Antilocapra americana, resembling an antelope, also called pronghorn antelope …   Wiktionary

  • pronghorn — (also pronghorn antelope) noun a deer like North American mammal with a stocky body, long slim legs, and black horns. [Antilocapra americana.] …   English new terms dictionary