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            An Ultimate Ungulate Fact SheetReturn to Artiodactyla

             
            Classification
            Kingdom: Animalia
              Phylum: Chordata
                Class: Mammalia
                  Order: Artiodactyla
                    Family: Cervidae
                      Subfamily: Capreolinae
                        Genus: Mazama

            Mazama americana

                  Red brocket

            Taxonomy

            Mazama americana [Erxleben, 1777].  
            Citation: Syst. Regni Anim., 1:324.
            Type locality: French Guiana, Cayenne.

            General Characteristics

            Body Length: 70-130 cm / 2.3-4.3 ft.
            Shoulder Height: 69-71 cm / 2.3-2.4 ft.
            Tail Length: 8-15 cm / 3.2-6 in.
            Weight: 16-25 kg / 35-55 lb.

            Adult colouration is fairly uniform: generally a bright reddish brown with the neck greyish.  The belly and lower surface of the neck are lighter, while the underside of the tail is bright white.  Fawns are born with white spots over a reddish coat.  Overall, the red brocket's body shape is reminiscent of the African duikers, with a stout body, arched back, and slender limbs.  The males alone carry the simple antlers which grow 10-13 cm / 4-5.2 inches in length.  Generally just a spike, the antlers may be forked in very old animals.  Like many tropical deer, a male red brocket may keep his antlers for over a year.

            Ontogeny and Reproduction

            Gestation Period: 200 days.
            Young per Birth: 1, sometimes 2
            Weaning: At 6 months.
            Sexual Maturity: At 12 months.
            Life span: 7-12 years.

            Although there is no fixed breeding or birthing season, many births occur from January to April as well as July to September depending on the locality and its conditions.

            Ecology and Behavior

            Red brockets are diurnal, spending most of their active time in dense forests searching for food.  At dawn and dusk, however, they can often be seen foraging in nearby fields.  Individuals inhabit small home ranges with a radius of up to 1 km / 0.6 miles.  Extremely shy and wary, red brockets are difficult to observe.  When danger is sensed, this diminutive deer will freeze in its position, and if startled will bound away for a short distance and then pause to look back at the disturbance.  Compared to other deer species, they have  low endurance and can be overtaken by common dogs.  These small deer are exceptional swimmers, and have been seen crossing rivers over 300 meters / 328 yards wide.  Population densities of about 1 animal per square kilometer were found in Surinam.  The only known vocalization is a piercing cry.

            Family group: Solitary.
            Diet: Mainly leaves, also buds, shoots, fruit, fungi, and grasses.
            Main Predators: Humans, jaguar, puma, tayra, feral dogs, eagles, large snakes.

            Distribution

            Forest thickets near water throughout Central and South America.

            Range Map (Redrawn from Whitehead, 1993)

            Conservation Status

            The red brocket is a common species.

            Remarks

            The largest brocket species, the red brocket is found in every Central and South American country, with the exception of Chile and Uruguay.  Brocket is thought to be from broc (Old French) the tine of a stag's antler.

            Mazame or macame was a Mexican name given to certain deer during the 17th century.  -anus (Latin) suffix meaning belonging to: this petite deer occupies much of Central and South America.

            Literature Cited

            MacNamara, M.  1990.  Guemals, Pudus, and Brockets (Genera Hippocamelus, Pudu, and Mazama).  In Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals.  Edited by S. P. Parker.  New York: McGraw-Hill.  Volume 5, pp. 219-229.

            Nowak, R. M. [editor]. 1991.  Walker's Mammals of the World (Fifth Edition).  Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

            Whitehead, K. G.  1993.  The Whitehead Encyclopedia of Deer.  Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, Inc.

            Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder [editors]. 1993. Mammal Species of the World (Second Edition). Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.  Available online at http://nmnhwww.si.edu/msw/

            Return to Artiodactyla



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