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Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Subtribe: Bubalina
Genus: Bubalus
C. H. Smith, 1827
Type species
Bos bubalis
Linnaeus, 1758

Bubalus arnee
Bubalus bubalis
Bubalus depressicornis
Bubalus mindorensis
Bubalus quarlesi

Bubalus is a genus of Asiatic bovines that was proposed by Charles Hamilton Smith in 1827. Bubalus and Syncerus form the subtribe Bubalina, the true buffaloes.

The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature and classification of domestic animals as species, subspecies, races or breeds has been discussed controversially for many years and was inconsistent between authors.[1] Assessors of the Food and Agriculture Organization consider domestic water buffalo populations as breeds.[2]

Bubalus species comprise the domestic water buffalo (B. bubalis), the wild water buffalo (B. arnee), the tamaraw (B. mindorensis), the lowland anoa (B. depressicornis), and the mountain anoa (B. quarlesi).[3] The latter two anoa species were proposed to form a subgenus Anoa within Bubalus.[4]


Bubalus skull
Kidney of a Bubalus

Smith described Bubalus as low in proportion to the bulk with very solid limbs, a small dewlap and a long, slender tail; the head is large with a strong convex-shaped narrow forehead, large eyes and funnel-shaped ears; horns are lying flat or bending laterally with a certain direction to the rear; the female udder has four mammae.[5] Lydekker added that the line of back is nearly straight with 13 pairs of ribs; the tail is tufted and reaching about to the hocks; the horns are more or less markedly triangular for the greater part of their length and situated low down on the skull; the muzzle is broad, and the hair sparse in adults.[6]


This genus comprises the following living species:[7]

Image Scientific name Distribution
Domestic water buffalo B. bubalis Linnaeus, 1758 Domestic in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and China; feral populations exist in South America and Australia
Wild water buffalo B. arnee Kerr, 1792 Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia
Lowland anoa B. depressicornis Smith, 1827 Sulawesi in Indonesia
Tamaraw B. mindorensis Heude, 1888 Mindoro in the Philippines
Mountain anoa B. quarlesi Ouwens, 1910 Sulawesi

Valid names[edit]

The 2013 checklist of the Catalogue of Life lists as "accepted" five species binomina in the genus Bubalus:

  • Bubalus bubalis Linnaeus, 1758
  • Bubalus depressicornis Smith, 1827
  • Bubalus mephistopheles Hopwood, 1925
  • Bubalus mindorensis Heude, 1888
  • Bubalus quarlesi Ouwens, 1910

Bubalus arnee is not listed here.[8]

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System lists the same five species binomina as valid; it also lists as valid six subspecies of Bubalus bubalis:[9]

  • Bubalus bubalis arnee Kerr, 1792
  • Bubalus bubalis bubalis Linnaeus, 1758
  • Bubalus bubalis fulvus Blanford, 1891
  • Bubalus bubalis kerabau Fitzinger, 1860
  • Bubalus bubalis migona Deraniyagala, 1952
  • Bubalus bubalis theerapati Groves, 1996

Fossil species[edit]

Bubalus murrensis horns

The following extinct fossil species have been described:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gentry, A.; Clutton-Brock, J. & Groves, C. P. (2004). "The naming of wild animal species and their domestic derivatives" (PDF). Journal of Archaeological Science. 31 (5): 645–651. Bibcode:2004JArSc..31..645G. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2003.10.006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-09.
  2. ^ FAO (2013). Breeds from species: Buffalo. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
  3. ^ Minervino, A. H. H.; Zava, M.; Vecchio, D. & Borghese, A. (2020). "Bubalus bubalis: A Short Story". Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 7: 570413. doi:10.3389/fvets.2020.570413. PMC 7736047. PMID 33335917.
  4. ^ Burton, J. A.; Hedges, S. & Mustari, A. H. (2005). "The taxonomic status, distribution and conservation of the lowland anoa Bubalus depressicornis and mountain anoa Bubalus quarlesi" (PDF). Mammal Review. 35 (1): 25–50. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.2005.00048.x. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-09.[dead link]
  5. ^ Smith, C. H. (1827). "Sub-genus I. Bubalus". In Griffith, E. (ed.). The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organization. Class Mammalia, Volume 5. London: Geo. B. Whittaker. pp. 371–373.
  6. ^ Lydekker, R. (1913). "Subgenus Bubalus". Catalogue of the ungulate mammals in the British Museum (Natural History). London: British Museum (Natural History). p. 40.
  7. ^ Groves, C.; Grubb, P. (2011). Ungulate Taxonomy. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-1421400938.
  8. ^ Roskov Y., Kunze T., Paglinawan L., Orrell T., Nicolson D., Culham A., Bailly N., Kirk P., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., Hernandez F., De Wever A., eds (2013). Bubalus. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 2013 Annual Checklist. Reading, UK.
  9. ^ ITIS Results of: Search in every Kingdom for Scientific Name containing 'Bubalus' Archived March 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed january 2014.
  10. ^ Croft, D. A., Heaney, L. R., Flynn, J. J., Bautista, A. P. (2006). Fossil remains of a new, diminutive Bubalus (Artiodactyla: Bovidae: Bovini) from Cebu island, Philippines. Journal of Mammalogy 87(#5): 1037–1051.
  11. ^ Rozzi, Roberto (2017). "A new extinct dwarfed buffalo from Sulawesi and the evolution of the subgenus Anoa: An interdisciplinary perspective". Quaternary Science Reviews. 157: 188–205. Bibcode:2017QSRv..157..188R. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.12.011.
  12. ^ Hopwood, A. T. (1925). "A new species of buffalo from the Pleistocene of China". Annals and Magazine of Natural History. 9. XVI (92): 238–239. doi:10.1080/00222932508633297.
  13. ^ Schreiber, H. D., Munk, W. (2002). A skull fragment of Bubalus murrensis (Berckhemer, 1927) (Mammalia, Bovinae) from the Pleistocene of Bruchsal-Buchenau (NE-Karlsruhe, SW-Germany). Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie (12): 737–748.
  14. ^ "Fossilworks: Bubalus palaeokerabau".