Pudu

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Pudu
Temporal range: Pleistocene – recent
Southern Pudu, Edinburgh Zoo.jpg
Southern pudu (P. puda)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Capreolinae
Genus: Pudu
Gray, 1852
Species

Pudu puda (Molina, 1782) [1] [2]
Pudu mephistophiles (de Winton, 1896) [3]

Contents

Pudu puda Range.png
Geographic range of Pudu puda
Pudu mephistophiles map.png
Geographic range of Pudu mephistophiles
Synonyms

PuduaGarrod, 1877
PudellaThomas, 1913

The pudus (Mapudungun püdü or püdu, [4] Spanish : pudú, Spanish pronunciation:  [puˈðu] ) are two species of South American deer from the genus Pudu, and are the world's smallest deer. [5] The name is a loanword from Mapudungun, the language of the indigenous Mapuche people of central Chile and south-western Argentina. [6] The two species of pudus are the northern pudu (Pudu mephistophiles) from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, and the southern pudu [7] (Pudu puda; sometimes incorrectly modified to Pudu pudu [8] ) from southern Chile and south-western Argentina. [9] Pudus range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters (13 to 17 in) tall, and up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long. [10] The southern pudu is classified as near threatened, [11] while the northern pudu is classified as Data Deficient in the IUCN Red List. [12]

Taxonomy

The genus Pudu was first erected by English naturalist John Edward Gray in 1850. Pudua was a Latinized version of the name proposed by Alfred Henry Garrod in 1877, but was ruled invalid. Pudus are classified in the New World deer subfamily Capreolinae within the deer family Cervidae. The term "pudú" itself is derived from the language of the Mapuche people of the Los Lagos Region of south-central Chile. [6] Because they live on the slopes of the Andes Mountain Range, they are also known as the "Chilean mountain goat". [13]

Two similar species of pudús are recognised:

ImageScientific nameCommon nameDistributionDescription
Pudupuda male Lliuco Jan05 2-PhotoJimenez.JPG Pudu puda Southern pudú Southern Andes of Chile and Argentina Slightly larger than its sister species, the northern pudú, being 35 to 45 cm (14 to 18 in) tall at the shoulder and weighs 6.4 to 13.4 kg (14 to 30 lb). [14] The antlers of the southern pudú grow to be 5.3 to 9 cm (2.1 to 3.5 in) long and tend to curve back, somewhat like a mountain goat. Its coat is a dark chestnut-brown, and tends to tuft in the front, covering the antlers. [15] It is found at lower elevations than its sister species, from sea level to 2,000 m (6,600 ft).
Pudu mephistophiles.png Pudu mephistophiles Northern pudú Andes of Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and EcuadorThe smallest species of deer in the world, being 32 to 35 cm (13 to 14 in) tall at the shoulder and weighs 3.3 to 6 kg (7.3 to 13.2 lb). [14] The antlers of the northern pudú grow to about 6 cm (2.4 in) long, also curving backward. Its coat tends to be lighter than that of the southern pudú, but the face is darker compared to the coat. [14] It is found at higher altitudes than its sister species, from 2,000 to 4,000 m (6,600 to 13,100 ft) above sea level.

Description

The pudus are the world's smallest deer, with the southern pudu being slightly larger than the northern pudu. [5] It has a stocky frame supported by short and slender legs. It is 32 to 44 cm (13 to 17 in) high at the shoulder and up to 85 cm (33 in) in length. Pudus normally weigh up to 12 kg (26 lb), [10] but the highest recorded weight of a pudu is 13.4 kg (30 lb). [6] Pudus have small, black eyes, [5] black noses, and rounded ears with lengths of 7.5 to 8 cm (3.0 to 3.1 in). Sexual dimorphism in the species includes an absence of antlers in females. Males have short, spiked antlers that are not forked, as seen in most species of deer. The antlers, which are shed annually, [16] can extend from 6.5 to 7.5 cm (2.6 to 3.0 in) in length and protrude from between the ears. [10] Also on the head are large preorbital glands. Pudus have small hooves, dewclaws, and short tails about 4.0 to 4.5 cm (1.6 to 1.8 in) in length when measured without hair. Coat coloration varies with season, sex, and individual genes. The fur is long and stiff, typically pressed close to the body, with a reddish-brown to dark-brown hue. [17] The neck and shoulders of an aged pudu turn a dark gray-brown in the winter. [10]

Habitat and distribution

Male southern pudu; Los Lagos Region Pudu puda 01.jpg
Male southern pudú; Los Lagos Region

The pudú inhabits temperate rainforests in South America, where the dense underbrush and bamboo thickets offer protection from predators. [18] Southern Chile, south-west Argentina, Chiloé Island, and northwest South America are home to the deer. [6] [10] The northern pudú is found in the northern Andes of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru, from 2,000 to 4,000 m (6,600 to 13,100 ft) above sea level. The southern species is found in the slope of the southern Andes from sea level to 2,000 m (6,600 ft).

The climate of the pudú's habitat is composed of two main seasons: a damp, moderate winter and an arid summer. Annual precipitation in these areas of Argentina and Chile ranges from 2 to 4 m (6.6 to 13.1 ft). [19]

Behavior

Social

The pudú is a solitary animal whose behavior in the wild is largely unknown because of its secretive nature. [20] Pudús are crepuscular, most active in the morning, late afternoon, and evening. Their home range generally extends about 16 to 25 ha (40 to 62 acres), much of which consists of crisscrossing pudú-trodden paths. Each pudú has its own home range, or territory. [19] A single animal's territory is marked with sizable dung piles found on paths and near eating and resting areas. Large facial glands for scent communication allow correspondence with other pudú deer. [16] Pudús do not interact socially, other than to mate. [19] An easily frightened animal, the deer barks when in fear. [13] [21] Its fur bristles and the pudú shivers when angered. [13]

Predators of the pudús include the horned owl, Andean fox, Magellan fox, cougar, and other small cats. The pudú is a wary animal that moves slowly and stops often, smelling the air for scents of predators. Being a proficient climber, jumper, and sprinter, the deer flees in a zigzag path when being pursued. [22] The lifespan of the pudús ranges from 8 to 10 years in the wild. [21] The longest recorded lifespan is 15 years and 9 months. However, such longevity is rare and most pudús die at a much younger age, from a wide range of causes. Maternal neglect of newborns, as well as a wide range of diseases, can decrease the population. [6] A popular rumor is that if alarmed to a high degree, pudús die from fear-induced cardiac complications. [13]

Diet

The pudús are herbivorous, [13] consuming vines, leaves from low trees, shrubs, succulent sprouts, herbs, ferns, blossoms, buds, tree bark, and fallen fruit. [19] [23] [24] They can survive without drinking water for long periods due to the high water content of the succulent foliage in their diets. [5]

Pudús have various methods of obtaining the foliage they need. Their small stature and cautious nature create obstacles in attaining food. [24] They stop often while searching for food to stand on their hind legs and smell the wind, detecting food scents. [19] [22] Females and fawns peel bark from saplings using their teeth, but mature males may use their spikelike antlers. The deer may use their front legs to press down on saplings until they snap or become low enough to the ground so they can reach the leaves. Forced to stand on their hind legs due to their small size, the deer climb branches and tree stumps to reach higher foliage. [16] They bend bamboo shoots horizontally in order to walk on them and eat from higher branches. [19]

Reproduction

Pudu fawn at a rehabilitation center, Llanquihue Province Pudu puda 02.jpg
Pudú fawn at a rehabilitation center, Llanquihue Province
Small pudu Pudu pudu AB.jpg
Small pudú

Pudús are solitary and only come together for rut. Mating season is in the Southern Hemisphere autumn, from April to May. [18] Pudú DNA is arranged into 70 chromosomes. [6] To mate, the pudú male rests his chin on the female's back, then sniffs her rear before mounting her from behind, holding her with his fore legs. [19] The gestation period ranges from 202 to 223 days (around 7 months) with the average being 210 days. [6] A single offspring or sometimes twins are born in austral spring, from November to January. [18] [21] Newborns weigh 700 to 1,000 g (25 to 35 oz) with the average birth weight being 890 g (31 oz). [6] [10] Newborns less than 600 g (21 oz) or more than 1,000 g (35 oz) die. Females and males weigh the same at birth. [6] Fawns have reddish-brown fur and southern pudú fawns have white spots running the length of their backs. [10] Young are weaned after 2 months. Females mature sexually in 6 months, while males mature in 8–12 months. [16] Fawns are fully grown in 3 months, but may stay with their mothers for 8 to 12 months. [18]

Status and conservation

The southern pudu is currently listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List, [11] mainly because of overhunting and habitat loss, while the northern pudu is currently classified as being 'Data deficient'. [12] Pudu puda is listed in CITES Appendix I, and Pudu mephistophiles is listed in CITES Appendix II. [25] The southern species is more easily maintained in captivity than the northern, though small populations of the northern formerly existed in zoos. [6] As of 2010, more than 100 southern pudús are kept at Species360-registered institutions with the vast majority in European and US zoos. [26] Pudús are difficult to transport because they are easily overheated and stressed. [10] Pudús are protected in various national parks; parks require resources to enforce protection of the deer. [18]

Southern pudu in captivity at Bristol Zoo Bristol.zoo.southern.pudu.arp.jpg
Southern pudú in captivity at Bristol Zoo

Efforts to preserve the pudú species are being taken in order to prevent extinction. An international captive-breeding program for the southern pudú led by Concepcion University in Chile has been started. [16] [27] Some deer have been bred in captivity and reintroduced into Nahuel Huapi National Park in Argentina. [10] Reintroduction efforts include the use of radio collars for tracking. [28] The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has banned the international trading of pudús. [18] The Wildlife Conservation Society protects their natural habitat and works to recreate it for pudús in captivity. [22] Despite efforts made by the World Wildlife Fund, the size of the pudú population remains unknown. [19] Threats to the pudús remain despite various conservation efforts. [18]

Threats

Pudús are threatened due to the destruction of their rainforest habitat. The land is cleared for human development, cattle ranching, agriculture, logging, and exotic tree plantations. [5] [16] [18] Habitat fragmentation and road accidents cause pudú deaths. They are taken from the wild as pets, as well as exported illegally. [10] [18] They are overhunted and killed for food by specially trained hunting dogs. [5] [18] [28] The recently introduced red deer compete with pudús for food. Domestic dogs prey upon pudús and transfer parasites through contact. Pudús are very susceptible to diseases such as bladder worms, lungworms, roundworms, and heartworms. [18] [22]

Related Research Articles

Deer Family of mammals belonging to even-toed ungulates

Deer or true deer are hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the red deer, and the fallow deer; and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer (caribou), white-tailed deer, the roe deer, and the moose. Male deer of all species as well as female reindeer, grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family (Bovidae) within the same order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).

European fallow deer Species of hooved mammal

The European fallow deer also known as the common fallow deer or simply just fallow deer is a species of ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. It is native to Turkey and possibly the Italian Peninsula, Balkan Peninsula, and the island of Rhodes in Europe, but has also been introduced to other parts of Europe and the rest of the world.

Sika deer Species of deer native to much of East Asia

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Elds deer Asia ruminant mammal species

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Chital Species of deer

The chital, also known as spotted deer, chital deer, and axis deer, is a deer species native to the Indian subcontinent. It was first described by German naturalist Johann Christian Polycarp Erxleben in 1777. A moderate-sized deer, male chital reach nearly 90 cm (35 in) and females 70 cm (28 in) at the shoulder. While males weigh 30–75 kg (66–165 lb), the lighter females weigh 25–45 kg (55–99 lb). It is sexually dimorphic; males are larger than females, and antlers are present only on males. The upper parts are golden to rufous, completely covered in white spots. The abdomen, rump, throat, insides of legs, ears, and tail are all white. The antlers, three-pronged, are nearly 1 m long.

Water deer Species of mammals belonging to the deer, muntjac, roe deer, reindeer, and moose family of ruminants

The water deer is a small deer superficially more similar to a musk deer than a true deer. Native to China and Korea, there are two subspecies: the Chinese water deer and the Korean water deer. Despite certain anatomical peculiarities, including a pair of prominent tusks, and its lack of antlers, it is classified as a cervid. Yet, its unique anatomical characteristics have caused it to be classified in its own genus (Hydropotes) as well as its own subfamily (Hydropotinae). However, studies of mitochondrial control region and cytochrome b DNA sequences placed it near Capreolus within an Old World section of the subfamily Capreolinae. Its prominent tusks, similar to those of musk deer, have led to both subspecies being colloquially named vampire deer in English-speaking areas to which they have been imported. The species is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. It was first described to the Western world by Robert Swinhoe in 1870.

Tufted deer Species of mammals belonging to the deer, muntjac, roe deer, reindeer, and moose family of ruminants

The tufted deer is a small species of deer characterized by a prominent tuft of black hair on its forehead and fang-like canines for the males. It is a close relative of the muntjac, living somewhat further north over a wide area of central China northeastern Myanmar. Suffering from overhunting and habitat loss, this deer is considered near-threatened. It is the only member of the genus Elaphodus.

<i>Hippocamelus</i> Genus of mammals belonging to the deer, muntjac, roe deer, reindeer, and moose family of ruminants

Hippocamelus is a genus of Cervidae, the deer family. It comprises two extant Andean and two fossil species. The living members are commonly known as the huemul, and the taruca.

Brocket deer Genus of mammals belonging to the deer, muntjac, roe deer, reindeer, and moose family of ruminants

Brockets or brocket deer are the species of deer in the genus Mazama. They are medium to small in size, and are found in the Yucatán Peninsula, Central and South America, and the island of Trinidad. Most species are primarily found in forests. They are superficially similar to the African duikers and the Asian muntjacs, but unrelated. About 10 species of brocket deer are described.

Red brocket Species of deer

The red brocket is a species of brocket deer from forests in South America, ranging from northern Argentina to Colombia and the Guianas. It also occurs on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

Pampas deer Species of mammals belonging to the deer, muntjac, roe deer, reindeer, and moose family of ruminants

The Pampas deer is a species of deer that live in the grasslands of South America at low elevations. They are known as veado-campeiro in Portuguese and as venado or gama in Spanish. Their habitat includes water and hills, often with winter drought, and grass that is high enough to cover a standing deer. Many of them live on the Pantanal wetlands, where there are ongoing conservation efforts, and other areas of annual flooding cycles. Human activity has changed much of the original landscape. They are known to live up to 12 years in the wild, longer if captive, but are threatened due to over-hunting and habitat loss. Many people are concerned over this loss, because a healthy deer population means a healthy grassland, and a healthy grassland is home to many species, some also threatened. Many North American birds migrate south to these areas, and if the Pampas deer habitat is lost, they are afraid these bird species will also decline. There are approximately 80,000 Pampas deer total, with the majority of them living in Brazil.

Gray brocket Species of deer

The gray brocket, also known as the brown brocket, is a species of brocket deer from northern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Peru, eastern and southern Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It formerly included the Amazonian brown brocket and sometimes also the Yucatan brown brocket as subspecies. Unlike other species of brocket deer in its range, the gray brocket has a gray-brown fur without reddish tones.

Visayan spotted deer Species of deer

The Visayan spotted deer, also known as the "Visayan deer", the "Philippine spotted deer" or "Prince Alfred's deer", is a nocturnal and endangered species of deer located primarily in the rainforests of the Visayan islands of Panay and Negros though it once roamed other islands such as Cebu, Guimaras, Leyte, Masbate, and Samar. It is one of three endemic deer species in the Philippines, although it was not recognized as a separate species until 1983. An estimated 2,500 mature individuals survived worldwide as of 1996, according to the IUCN, although it is uncertain of how many of them still survive in the wild. The diet of the deer, which consists of a variety of different types of grasses, leaves, and buds within the forest, is the primary indicator of its habitat. Since 1991 the range of the species has severely decreased and is now almost co-extensive with that of the Visayan warty pig.

Barasingha species of deer

The barasingha, also called swamp deer, is a deer species distributed in the Indian subcontinent. Populations in northern and central India are fragmented, and two isolated populations occur in southwestern Nepal. It has been extirpated in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and its presence is uncertain in Bhutan.

South Andean deer Species of deer

The south Andean deer, also known as the southern guemal, Chilean huemul or güemul, is an endangered species of deer native to the mountains of Argentina and Chile. It is one of two mid-sized deer in the Hippocamelus genus and ranges across the high mountainsides and cold valleys of the Andes. The distribution and habitat, behaviour, and diet of the deer have all been the subject of study. The viability of the small remaining population is an outstanding concern to researchers.

Taruca Species of deer

The taruca, or north Andean deer, is a species of deer native to South America.

Northern pudu Species of small South American deer

The northern pudu is a species of South American deer native to the Andes of Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador. It is the world's smallest deer and is classified as Data Deficient in the IUCN Red List.

Southern pudu Species of small South American deer

The southern pudu is a species of South American deer native to the Andes of Chile and Argentina. It is found in high-altitude forests and is classified as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List.

Persian fallow deer Species of deer

The Persian fallow deer is a deer species once native to all of the Middle East, but currently only living in Iran and Israel. It was reintroduced in Israel. It has been listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008. After a captive breeding program, the population has rebounded from only a handful of deer in the 1960s to over a thousand individuals.

References

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