Gazella bilkis Groves & Lay, 1985

Queen [of] Sheba’s Gazelle, Yemen Gazelle, Bilkis gazelle



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Gazella arabica bilkis Groves & Lay, 1985

The taxonomic status of this species is currently being debated. It may simply be conspecific with G. gazella erlangeri, a dark subspecies of G. gazella, which is believed to have also inhabited Yemen as well.


Conservation Status

Extinct or invalid

Last record: 1951 (Fisher & Blomberg, 2012; Mallon et al., 2023:9)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct



Wadi Maleh 5mi (8km) east of Ta'izz, El Hauban, southern Yemen


Biology & Ecology




Queen of Sheba's Gazelle is only known from 5 specimens collected by Dr. Harry Hoogstraal and deposited in the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago and a skull given to the Natural History Museum, London by W. T. Blanford in 1869 (Groves & Lay, 1985). Gazelles have not been seen by the locals of the type locality for several decades (Greth et. al. 1993), and so this species is likely to have already been rare when Hoogstraal collected the only known complete specimens (5).


5 specimens are in the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago:

FMNH 77731 (adult female)

FMNH 77732 (adult male)

FMNH 77733 (juvenile, sex unspecified)

FMNH 77734 (adult female)

FMNH 77735 (adult female)






Original scientific description:

Groves, Colin P. and Lay, Douglas M. (1985). A new species of the genus Gazella (Mammalia: Artiodactyla: Bovidae) from the Arabian Peninsula. Mammalia 49(1): 27-36. [Abstract]


Other references:

Bärmann, E.V., Börner, S., Erpenbeck, D., Rössner, G.E., Hebel, C. and Wörheide, G. 2012. The curious case of Gazella arabica. Mammalian Biology 78: 220-225.

Arnaud Greth, Douglas Williamson, Colin Groves, Georg Schwede and Marc Vassart. (1993). Bilkis gazelle in Yemen-status and taxonomic relationships. Oryx 27(4): 239-244.

Fisher, Diana O. and Blomberg, Simon P. (2012). Inferring Extinction of Mammals from Sighting Records, Threats, and Biological Traits. Conservation Biology 26(1): 57-67.

Greth, A. (1991). Gazelles in Yemen and Southern Saudi Arabia. Bulletin of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East 27: 39.

Greth, A., Williamson, D., Groves, Colin, Schwede, G. and Vassart, M. (1993). Bilkis gazelle in Yemen – status and taxonomic relationships. Oryx 27(4): 239-244.

Groves, Colin P. (1989). The gazelles of the Arabian Peninsula, pp. 237-248. In: Abuzinada, A. H., Goriup, P. D. and Nader, I. A. (eds.). Wildlife Conservation and Development in Saudi Arabia. Proceedings of the First Symposium. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: NCWCD.

Groves, C. P. 1996. Taxonomic diversity in Arabian gazelles. The State of the art. In: A. Greth, C. Magin and M. Ancrenaz (eds), Conservation of Arabian gazelles, pp. 8-39. National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Groves, Colin P. and Grubb, P. (2011). Ungulate taxonomy. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Grubb, P. (2005). Artiodactyla. In: D.E. Wilson & D.M. Reeder (ed.), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), pp. 637-722. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Guagnin, Maria et al. (2016). Rock art imagery as a proxy for Holocene environmental change: A view from Shuwaymis, NW Saudi Arabia. The Holocene 26(11): [1-13?].

Harrison, D. L. and Bates, P. J. J. (1991). The Mammals of Arabia. Sevenoaks, England: Harrison Zoological Museum Publications.

IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group. (2016). Gazella bilkis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T8987A50188129. Accessed on 02 July 2022.

Lee, T. E., Fisher, D. O., Blomberg, S. P. and Wintle, B. A. (2017). Extinct or still out there? Disentangling influences on extinction and rediscovery helps to clarify the fate of species on the edge. Global Change Biology 23(2): 621-634.

Mallon, David P., Hilton-Taylor, Craig, Amori, Giovanni, Baldwin, Robert, Bradshaw, Peter L. and Budd, Kevin. (2023). The conservation status and distribution of the mammals of the Arabian Peninsula. The
conservation status and distribution of the mammals of the Arabian Peninsula
. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Environment and Protected Areas Authority. viii + 152 pp.

Mallon, D. P. and Kingswood, S. C. (2001). Antelopes. Part 4: North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Global Survey and Regional Action Plans. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN/SSC Antelope Specialist Group

Participants at the 4th International Conservation Workshop for the Threatened Fauna of Arabia. (2008). Gazella bilkis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. ( Downloaded on 28 April 2013.

Sanborn, C. C. and Hoogstraal, H. (1953). Some mammals of Yemen and their ectoparasites. Fieldiana: Zoology 34: 229–252.


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