Tufted deer

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Tufted deer
Tufteddeer-2.jpg
Male
Tufteddeer-1.jpg
Female
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Elaphodus
Milne-Edwards, 1872
Species:
E. cephalophus
Binomial name
Elaphodus cephalophus

The tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus) is a small species of deer characterized by a prominent tuft of black hair on its forehead and fang-like canines for the males. [2] 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.

Contents

Subspecies

Four subspecies of the tufted deer are recognized, with one having doubtful taxonomic status: [1]

Description

The tufted deer is similar to a muntjac in appearance, but the longer necks and legs give it a slightly leaner appearance. The coat is coarse with short and stiff hairs, being almost black in the winter and chocolate brown in the summer. The lips, tip of the ears, and the underside of the tails are white. A tuft of horseshoe-shaped hair is present on the forehead and upper neck, being brown to black, and can be up to 17 centimetres (6.7 in) long.

Perhaps the most striking feature of this deer is the fang-like canines in the males of the species. These can grow up to 2.6 cm (1.0 in) long, or longer in rare cases. [4]

The tufted deer is a small deer, but still larger than most muntjac species. It stands at 50–70 centimetres (20–28 in) at the shoulder, and the weight varies from 17 to 30 kilograms (37 to 66 lb). [5] The tail is short at around 10 cm (3.9 in). The antler is only present in males and is extremely short, almost hidden by its long tuft of hair. [3]

Habitat and distribution

The tufted deer is found mainly in China, where it occurs in the south from eastern coast to eastern Tibet. It is absent from the extreme south of the country. There are old records of this species in northeastern Myanmar, but recent surveys failed to find any, possibly due to the lack of surveys on the preferred habitat. [1]

The tufted deer inhabits high, damp forests at 500–4,500 metres (1,600–14,800 ft) above sea level, close to the tree line. It is found in both evergreen and deciduous forests with extensive understory and nearby freshwater supply. The availability of salt licks is also a positive factor to the presence of this animal. This deer is able to withstand minor human disturbances, and is occasionally found in cultivated lands. [3]

Behavior and reproduction

The tufted deer is mainly solitary or found in pairs. It is crepuscular and travels in fixed routes about its territory, which is vigorously defended by the males. It is a timid animal and prefer places with good cover, where it is well camouflaged. It can be easily disturbed and, when alarmed, it will let out a bark before fleeing, moving in cat-like jumps. [6]

The mating season occurs between September and December, during which the loud barks males make could be easily heard. The gestation period lasts about 6 months and a litter of 1–2 is born in late spring and early summer. The young becomes sexually mature at the age of 1–2 years, and could live up to 10–12 years in the wild. [3] [6]

Diet

Tufted Deers are herbivorous species. Their diet mainly consists of leaves, twigs, fruit, and different types of vegetation. Tufted deers are considered both grazers and browsers. This means they feed on both grass and other various vegetation. [2]

Threats and conservation

Surveys from 1998 put the estimated population around 300,000–500,000 individuals, though a substantial, ongoing decline is almost certain. Overharvesting of large animals in China is a serious threat not only to this species. The hide of this deer is a fairly high-end textile material, especially after the vigorous conservation efforts made on other more endangered species. Habitat loss is also an issue in this rapidly developing country. In China, this species is listed as provincially protected species in many places, but it is not protected by the national law. It occurs in a number of protected areas. More study needs to be done on this poorly known species for efficient protection. [1]

The tufted deer is part of the yellow species survival plan program by the association of zoos and aquariums, because it cannot maintain 90% gene diversity for 10 generations. To prevent gene diversity to continue dropping the program plans to work on ex situ [7] populations by increasing the number of exhibit places in zoos and making sure that animals can breed. Prior to this the tufted deer population was also decreasing in captivity due to lack of interest in the species even though captivity greatly help conserve this species by facilitating interbreeding and gene diversity. [7]

Related Research Articles

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Bay duiker Species of mammal

The bay duiker, also known as the black-striped duiker and the black-backed duiker, is a forest-dwelling duiker native to western and southern Africa. It was first described by British zoologist John Edward Gray in 1846. Two subspecies are identified. The bay duiker is reddish-brown and has a moderate size. Both sexes reach 44–49 cm (17–19 in) at the shoulder. The sexes do not vary considerably in their weights, either; the typical weight range for this duiker is 18–23 kg (40–51 lb). Both sexes have a pair of spiky horns, measuring 5–8 cm (2.0–3.1 in). A notable feature of this duiker is the well-pronounced solid stripe of black extending from the back of the head to the tail.

Blue duiker Species of mammal

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Reevess muntjac Species of deer

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Harris, R.B.; Jiang, Z. (2015). "Elaphodus cephalophus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2015: e.T7112A22159620. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T7112A22159620.en . Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. 1 2 Leslie Jr., David M; Lee, Dana N; Dolman, Richard W (13 December 2013). "Elaphodus cephalophus (Artiodactyla: Cervidae)". Mammalian Species. 45 (904): 80–91. doi: 10.1644/904.1 .
  3. 1 2 3 4 "毛冠鹿" [Tufted Deer]. Hudong.com (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 7 November 2021.
  4. "Tufted deer - Elaphodus cephalophus". Ultimate Ungulate. Archived from the original on 7 November 2021.
  5. Wilson & Mittermeier (2011). Handbook of the Mammals of the World vol. 2, p. 409. ISBN   978-84-96553-77-4
  6. 1 2 ARKive
  7. 1 2 Panyaboriban, Saritvich; Singh, Ram; Songsasen, Nucharin; Padilla, Luis; Brown, Janine; Reed, Dolores; Techakumphu, Mongkol; Pukazhenthi, Budhan (1 September 2016). "Reproductive seasonality and sperm cryopreservation in the male tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus)". Theriogenology. 86 (4): 914–923. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2016.03.014 . PMID   27125695.