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CITES Appendix I (CITES) [2]
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Capreolinae
Genus: Hippocamelus
H. antisensis
Binomial name
Hippocamelus antisensis
(d'Orbigny, 1834)
Hippocamelus antisensis distribution.svg
Geographic range

The taruca (Hippocamelus antisensis), also known as the Peruvian guemal, north Andean deer, north Andean huemul, northern huemul or northern guemal, is a mid sized deer species that inhabits the high regions of the Andes mountains in South America. The common name taruca means "deer" in both the Quechua and Aymara languages, though these are not interrelated. The taruca is closely related to the southern guemal (H. bisulcus), the only other member of the Hippocamelus genus.



The taruca is a medium-sized deer with a heavy body. It measures 128 to 146 cm (50 to 57 in) from head to rump, with an 11 to 13 cm (4.3 to 5.1 in) tail, and stands 69 to 80 cm (27 to 31 in) tall at the shoulder. Adults weigh between 69 and 80 kg (152 and 176 lb). As with most deer, males are significantly larger than females. [3]

It has sandy brown fur over most of its body, with white patches on the underside of its head, neck, tail, and genital region, and on the inner surface of its fore-legs. While females often have a dark brown area on the forehead, facial markings are much clearer in the males. The exact patterns vary between different males, but in general there is a black mask behind the nose, and a black Y or V pattern over the forehead and snout. [3]

As other deer, only male tarucas typically grow antlers. The longer tine of a full grown male generally measures around 30 cm (12-inch). Unlike other South American deer, except for the closely related huemul, the antlers consist of just two tines which branche from the base, and with the posterior tine being the larger. Males also possess canine teeth in their upper jaw, which females usually, but not always, lack. [3]

Distribution and habitat

Tarucas are found only in the Andes mountains, from central Peru, through Bolivia and extreme north-eastern Chile, and into northern Argentina.

Peru holds the largest population of tarucas in South America. In 2008 it was suggested that between 9,000 and 12,000 individuals lived across the central Andes mountains. The Huancabamba depression marks the northern limit of the species distribution. Tarucas live at altitudes ranging from 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft), and at lower altitudes within that range, might share territory with the Peruvian whitetail deer that are also endemic to the region. In Argentina, tarucas are found at altitudes of 2,000 m (6,600 ft) to 3,000 m (9,800 ft) where they occupy grasslands marked by occasional shrubs and rocky outcrops, typically near water. [1] There are no recognised subspecies.

Diet and behaviour

Tarucas are mainly found in rocky slopes, queñual forests and at puna grasslands by the side of glaciar lakes at high altitude mountain terrains. Despite living in grasslands, the taruca feeds mainly on the local bushes, shrubs, and herbs for much of the year, but supplements this diet with grasses during the rainy season. Plants commonly eaten include dwarf gentian, ragworts , lupins , senna, valerian, and clubmosses. Tarucas may also feed on agricultural crops, such as alfalfa, barley, and potato plants. [3]

Tarucas are gregarious, but do not live in stable herds, with individuals moving between groups of up to thirty members each over the course of a few days. Their populations are scattered, due to their need for relatively specialised habitats, with population densities as low as 0.15/km2 (0.39/sq mi), even away from human habitation. Individual groups are typically led by the females. [4] During the breeding season, males may compete with one another, displaying threatening behaviour by raising their forelegs one at a time and pointing their antlers towards one another. [4]


The rut lasts from May to July, during which time the deer segregate into smaller groups with a single adult male. Males drop their antlers immediately after the breeding season finishes, in September, with the new pair beginning to grow in December, and losing the velvet by February. Pregnancy lasts for 240 days, so that the single fawn is born between January and March, coinciding with the rainy season. Twins have been observed in captivity, but are rare. The mother leaves the group in order to give birth, and keeps the fawn hidden behind rocky outcrops for the first month of life. [3]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deer</span> Family of mammals

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).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antler</span> Extensions of the skull found in animals of the family Cervidae (deer)

Antlers are extensions of an animal's skull found in members of the Cervidae (deer) family. Antlers are a single structure composed of bone, cartilage, fibrous tissue, skin, nerves, and blood vessels. They are generally found only on males, with the exception of reindeer/caribou. Antlers are shed and regrown each year and function primarily as objects of sexual attraction and as weapons in fights between males for control of harems.

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

The pudus are two species of South American deer from the genus Pudu, and are the world's smallest deer. The name is a loanword from Mapudungun, the language of the indigenous Mapuche people of central Chile and south-western Argentina. The two species of pudus are the northern pudu from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, and the southern pudu from southern Chile and south-western Argentina. Pudus range in size from 32 to 44 centimeters tall, and up to 85 centimeters (33 in) long. The southern pudu is classified as near threatened, while the northern pudu is classified as Data Deficient in the IUCN Red List.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sika deer</span> Species of deer native to much of East Asia

The sika deer, also known as the Northernspotted deer or the Japanese deer, is a species of deer native to much of East Asia and introduced to other parts of the world. Previously found from northern Vietnam in the south to the Russian Far East in the north, it is now uncommon except in Japan, where the species is overabundant.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red deer</span> Species of hoofed mammal

The red deer is one of the largest deer species. A male red deer is called a stag or hart, and a female is called a hind. The red deer inhabits most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Anatolia, Iran, and parts of western Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains of Northern Africa; its early ancestors are thought to have crossed over to Morocco, then to Algeria, Libya and Tunisia via the Strait of Gibraltar, becoming the only species of true deer (Cervidae) to inhabit Africa. Red deer have been introduced to other areas, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina. In many parts of the world, the meat (venison) from red deer is used as a food source.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cordillera Blanca</span> Mountain range in Peru that is part of the larger Andes range

The Cordillera Blanca is a mountain range in Peru that is part of the larger Andes range and extends for 200 kilometres (124 mi) between 8°08' and 9°58'S and 77°00' and 77°52'W, in a northwesterly direction. It includes several peaks over 6,000 metres (19,690 ft) high and 722 individual glaciers. The highest mountain in Peru, Huascarán, at 6,768 metres (22,205 ft) high, is located there.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chital</span> Species of deer

The chital or cheetal, also known as the spotted deer, chital deer, and axis deer, is a deer species native to the Indian subcontinent. It was first described and given a binomial name by German naturalist Johann Christian Polycarp Erxleben in 1777. A moderate-sized deer, male chital reach 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Huascarán National Park</span> World Heritage Site and national park in Peru

Huascarán National Park is a Peruvian national park that comprises most of the mountain range known as Cordillera Blanca which is part of the central Andes, in the region of Ancash. The park covers an area of 340,000 ha and is managed by the Peruvian Network of Protected Natural Areas: SERNANP. It was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1985 by UNESCO, is also a well-known mountaineering spot and harbors a unique biodiversity with plant species such as the Queen of the Andes, trees of the genera Polylepis and Buddleja, and animals such as spectacled bears, condors, vicunas and tarucas.

<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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brocket deer</span> Species of deer in the genus Mazama

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thorold's deer</span> Species of mammal

Thorold's deer is a threatened species of deer found in grassland, shrubland, and forest at high altitudes in the eastern Tibetan Plateau. It is also known as the white-lipped deer for the white patches around its muzzle.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andean cock-of-the-rock</span> Species of bird

The Andean cock-of-the-rock, also known as tunki (Quechua), is a large passerine bird of the cotinga family native to Andean cloud forests in South America. It is widely regarded as the national bird of Peru. It has four subspecies and its closest relative is the Guianan cock-of-the-rock.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Puna grassland</span>

The puna grassland ecoregion, of the montane grasslands and shrublands biome, is found in the central Andes Mountains of South America. It is considered one of the eight Natural Regions in Peru, but extends south, across Chile, Bolivia, and western northwest Argentina. The term puna encompasses diverse ecosystems of the high Central Andes above 3200–3400 m.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Andean deer</span> Species of deer

The south Andean deer, also known as the southern guemal, south Andean huemul, southern huemul, or Chilean huemul or güemul, is an endangered species of deer native to the mountains of Argentina and Chile. Along with the northern guemal or taruca, it is one of the 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.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastern Cordillera Real montane forests</span>

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  1. 1 2 Barrio, J.; Nuñez, A.; Pacheco, L.; Regidor, H.A.; Fuentes-Allende, N. (2017). "Hippocamelus antisensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2017: e.T10053A22158621. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-2.RLTS.T10053A22158621.en . Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. "Appendices | CITES". cites.org. Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Barrio, J. (2013). "Hippocamelus antisensis (Artiodactyla: Cervidae)". Mammalian Species. 45 (901): 49–59. doi: 10.1644/901.1 .
  4. 1 2 Roe, N. & Rees, W. (1976). "Preliminary observations of the taruca (Hippocamelus antisensis: Cervidae) in southern Peru". Journal of Mammalogy. 57 (4): 722–730. doi:10.2307/1379442. JSTOR   1379442.