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Temporal range: Miocene to present
Muntiacus sp - Hai Hong Karni.jpg
Indian muntjac
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Tribe: Muntiacini
Genus: Muntiacus
Rafinesque, 1815
Range of Muntjac species, including ones introduced into Wales and England.png
Geographic range

Muntjacs ( /mʌntæk/ MUNT-jak), [1] also known as barking deer or rib-faced deer are small deer of the genus Muntiacus native to south and southeast Asia. Muntjacs are thought to have begun appearing 15–35 million years ago, with remains found in Miocene deposits in France, Germany [2] and Poland. [3] Most species are listed as Least Concern or Data Deficient by the IUCN although others such as the black muntjac, Bornean yellow muntjac and giant muntjac are Vulnerable, Near Threatened and Critically Endangered respectively. [4] [5]



The present name is a borrowing of the Latinized form of the Dutch muntjak, which was borrowed from the Sundanese mēncēk. The Latin form first appeared as Cervus muntjac in Zimmerman in 1780. [6] [7] An erroneous alternative name of 'Mastreani deer' has its origins in a mischievous Wikipedia entry from 2011 and is incorrect. [8]


Head of a common muntjac Barking Deer - Kolkata 2011-05-03 2409.JPG
Head of a common muntjac
Skull Barking deer skeleton.jpg

The present-day species are native to Asia and can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Indonesian islands, Taiwan and Southern China. Their habitat includes areas of dense vegetation, rainforests, monsoon forests and they like to be close to a water source. [9] They are also found in the lower Himalayas (Terai regions of Nepal and Bhutan).

An invasive population of Reeves's muntjac exists in the United Kingdom and in some areas of Japan (the Bōsō Peninsula and Izu Ōshima Island). [10] In the United Kingdom, wild deer descended from escapees from the Woburn Abbey estate around 1925. [11] Muntjac have expanded very rapidly, and are now present in most English counties and have also expanded their range into Wales, although they are less common in the north-west. The British Deer Society coordinated a survey of wild deer in the UK between 2005 and 2007, and they reported that muntjac deer had noticeably expanded their range since the previous census in 2000. [12] It is anticipated that muntjac may soon become the most numerous species of deer in England and may have also crossed the border into Scotland with a couple of specimens even appearing in Northern Ireland in 2009; they have been spotted in the Republic of Ireland in 2010, almost certainly having reached there with some human assistance.[ original research? ]

Inhabiting tropical regions, the deer have no seasonal rut, and mating can take place at any time of year; this behaviour is retained by populations introduced to temperate countries. Males have short antlers, which can regrow, but they tend to fight for territory with their "tusks" (downward-pointing canine teeth). The presence of these "tusks" is otherwise unknown in native British wild deer and can be an identifying feature to differentiate a muntjac from an immature native deer. Water deer also have visible tusks but they are much less widespread.[ citation needed ]

Muntiacus muntjak chromosomes Metaphase spread of the Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak vaginalis).jpg
Muntiacus muntjak chromosomes

Muntjac are of great interest in evolutionary studies because of their dramatic chromosome variations and the recent discovery of several new species. The Indian muntjac (M. muntjak) is the mammal with the lowest recorded chromosome number: The male has a diploid number of 7, the female only 6 chromosomes. Reeves's muntjac (M. reevesi), in comparison, has a diploid number of 46 chromosomes. [13]


The genus Muntiacus has 12 recognized species:

See also

Related Research Articles

Karyotype Photographic display of total chromosome complement in a cell

A karyotype is a preparation of the complete set of metaphase chromosomes in the cells of a species or in an individual organism, sorted by length, centromere location and other features. and for a test that detects this complement or counts the number of chromosomes. Karyotyping is the process by which a karyotype is prepared from photographs of chromosomes, in order to determine the chromosome complement of an individual, including the number of chromosomes and any abnormalities.

Truong Son muntjac Species of deer

The Truong Son muntjac or Annamite muntjac is a species of muntjac deer. It is one of the smallest muntjac species, at about 15 kg (33 lb), half the size of the Indian muntjac. It was discovered in the Truong Son mountain range in Vietnam in 1997.

The leaf muntjac, leaf deer or Putao muntjac is a small species of muntjac. It was documented in 1997 by biologist Alan Rabinowitz during his field study in the isolated Naungmung Township in Myanmar. Rabinowitz discovered the species by examining the small carcass of a deer that he initially believed was the juvenile of another species; however, it proved to be the carcass of an adult female. He managed to obtain specimens, from which DNA analysis revealed a new cervid species. Local hunters knew of the species and called it the leaf deer because its body could be completely wrapped by a single large leaf. It is found in Myanmar and India.

Indian muntjac Barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak)

The Indian muntjac, also called the southern red muntjac and barking deer, is a deer species native to South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Reevess muntjac Species of deer

Reeves's muntjac, also known as the Chinese muntjac, is a muntjac species found widely in southeastern China and Taiwan. It has also been introduced in Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, and Japan. It takes its name from John Reeves, an employee of the British East India Company in the 19th century.

Hairy-fronted muntjac Species of deer

The hairy-fronted muntjac or black muntjac is a type of deer currently found in Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi and Fujian in southeastern China. It is considered to be endangered, possibly down to as few as 5–10,000 individuals spread over a wide area. Reports of hairy-fronted muntjacs from Burma result from considering the hairy-fronted muntjac and Gongshan muntjac as the same species. This suggestion is controversial. It is similar in size to the common muntjac.

Gongshan muntjac Species of deer

The Gongshan muntjac is a species of muntjac living in the Gongshan mountains in northwestern Yunnan, southeast Tibet, Northeast India and northern Myanmar.

Roosevelts muntjac Species of deer

A single specimen of the Roosevelt's muntjac or Roosevelt's barking deer was presented to the Field Museum in 1929 following the Kelley-Roosevelts expedition organized by Theodore (Jnr) and Kermit Roosevelt. The specimen is slightly smaller than the common muntjac and DNA testing has shown it to be distinct from recently discovered muntjac species. It is a subspecies of Fea's muntjac, whose home range is mountains further northwest separated by lower land. However, without further evidence, the exact position of Roosevelt's muntjac cannot be stated. Berlin Zoo supposedly held this species between 1961 and 1972 but it could have been an Indian muntjac subspecies annamensis.

Cervinae Subfamily of deer

The Cervinae or the Old World deer, are a subfamily of deer. Alternatively, they are known as the plesiometacarpal deer, due to their ankle structure being different from the telemetacarpal deer of the Capreolinae.

The Sumatran Muntjac is a subspecies of Indian muntjac in the deer family which can be the size of a large dog. It was discovered in 1914, but had not been sighted since 1930 until one was snared and freed from a hunter's snare in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia in 2002. Two other Sumatran muntjac have since been photographed in the park. The Sumatran Muntjac was placed on the IUCN Red List in 2008, but was listed as Data Deficient, as taxonomical issues are still unresolved. The distribution of the species is also uncertain and may be more extensive than suggested. It is possible that some previous sightings of the common muntjac in Western Sumatra were the Sumatran muntjac.

An ornamental animal is an animal kept for display or curiosity, often in a park. A wide range of mammals, birds and fish have been kept as ornamental animals. Ornamental animals have often formed the basis of introduced populations, sometimes with negative ecological effects, but a history of being kept as ornamental animals has also preserved breeds, types and even species which have become rare or extinct elsewhere.

The 2000s witnessed an explosion of genome sequencing and mapping in evolutionarily diverse species. While full genome sequencing of mammals is rapidly progressing, the ability to assemble and align orthologous whole chromosomal regions from more than a few species is not yet possible. The intense focus on the building of comparative maps for domestic, laboratory and agricultural (cattle) animals has traditionally been used to understand the underlying basis of disease-related and healthy phenotypes.

Clapgate Pits

Clapgate Pits is a disused quarry near Broughton, Lincolnshire. This 1.0 ha site has been managed by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust since 1996. It provides an environment for several plants which are rare in Lincolnshire: pale St John's-Wort, Squinancywort and Wall Germander. Until 1969 it was the most northerly site in Britain for Pasqueflower but these plants were apparently dug up by vandals.

Kyaikhtiyo Wildlife Sanctuary

Kyaikhtiyo Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area in Myanmar stretching over 156.21 km2 (60.31 sq mi). It covers evergreen and mixed deciduous forests an elevation of 50–1,090 m (160–3,580 ft) in Kyaikto Township. It was established in 2001 to conserve the biodiversity around the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, a famous pilgrimage site in Mon State.

Pablakhali Wildlife Sanctuary

Pablakhali Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary at the northern end of the Kaptai reservoir in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh. The area of the sanctuary is 42,087 ha, and it is located on the eastern and northern hills of Bangladesh. The nearest town is Rangamati (Bengali: রাঙ্গামাটি which is 112 km from the sanctuary. The western boundary of the sanctuary is formed by the Kassalong River.


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  3. Czyżewska, Teresa; Stefaniak, Krzysztof (December 1994). "Euprox furcatus (Hensel, 1859) (Cervidae, Mammalia) from Przeworno (Middle Miocene, Lower Silesia, Poland)" (PDF). Acta Zoologica Cracoviensia. 37 (1): 55–74.
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