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TAIL - Editorial Comment

Editorial Comment (Editorial Overview Text Replicated on Overall Species page - Loxodonta africana - African Elephant

The tail is 100 - 150 cm long, laterally flattened at the end and bearing tufts of coarse, stiff hairs, usually blackish in colour and oval or kidney-shaped in cross section, up to about 70 cm long. There are more, longer hairs on the ventral (under) than on the dorsal (upper) surface.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

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Tail

Source Information
  • The tail length is "moderate", at 100-150 cm in African elephants. (B147)
  • The end of the tail of the African elephant is flattened and bears a tuft of coarse, crooked hairs which are about 38-76 cm in length. (B147)
  • The tail is up to 1.5 m long, laterally flattened at the end, this portion bearing a fringe of stiff hairs. (B384.3.w3)
  • The tail hairs are usually black; depigmented hairs are found occasionally. (B384.3.w3)
  • The tail is long and cylindrical. (B453.1.w1)
  • The tail tip is laterally flattened and has a tuft of coarse hairs which may reach up to 76 cm (30 inches) in length. (B453.Intro.w13)
  • Hairs are arranged in bunches; there are more and longer hairs on the ventral than the dorsal surface. (B453.1.w1)
  • The tail hairs may reach 3.5 mm in width and are oval or kidney-shaped in cross section. (B453.1.w1)
  • There may be more than 700 hairs on the tail. (B453.1.w1)
  • In old elephants, tail hairs may be brownish-red or grey. (B453.1.w1)
  • The tail bears long hairs, of a "plastic wire" consistency, oval in cross section, longest at the tip of the tail (up to 100 cm long). A double row of hairs is present along the mid-dorsal and mid-ventral lines of the tail. (B451.1.w1)
  • Tail hairs are up to 70 cm long, stiff and black. (B450.17.w17)

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Authors & Referees

Authors Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee Susan K. Mikota DVM (V.w72)

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