Muntiacus gongshanensis can be found in Southern China, Tibet, Myanmar, and Northern Thailand. (Macdonald and Norris, 2001)
Muntiacus gongshanensis has a dark, chestnut brown coat and may be conspecific with Muntiacus crinifrons, which resembles M. gongshanensis in appearance. Muntiacus gongshanensis has small, dagger like antlers, which are hidden in a tuft of reddish colored hair. Females can reach 57 to 61 centimeters in height, where males only reach 47 to 52 centimeters in height, both sexes weigh between 18 and 20 kilograms (Macdonald and Norris, 2001). However, a weight of 24 kilograms was reported for a male in one study (Schaller and Vrba, 1996). (Macdonald and Norris, 2001; Schaller and Vrba, 1996)
Reproduction behavior of M. gongshanensis is not documented, however, in Muntiacus reevesi, males demarcate and aggressively defend small territories against other males. These territories may overlap with several female territories. (Lu and Sheng, 1984; Nowak, 1999; Wood and Myers, 2006)
Little is known about mating systems in M. gongshanensis. In their close relative, Muntiacus crinifrons, breeding occurs continuously throughout the year. They have no distinct breeding season and females may go into estrous before reaching full body size. In one study, it was found that some lactating females were carrying fetuses, indicating that post-partum estrous occurs in this species. Although the gestation period is not known for M. gongshanensis, in Muntiacus reevesi gestation lasts between 209 to 220 days. Typically a single young is born, twins are rare. (Geist, 1998; Nowak, 1999; Wood and Myers, 2006)
Nothing is known about parental care in M. gongshanensis. In other species of Muntiacus, however, maturation progresses quickly and females can carry one developing young in the uterus while nursing another. Both sexes develop rapidly, becoming independent within 6 months after birth. (Dueling and Myers, 2004; Geist, 1998; Wood and Myers, 2006; Worlddeer, 2005)
No studies have been done on the behavior of M. gongshanensis. However, it is probably similar to that of the close relative, M. crinifrons. Muntiacus crinifrons is solitary and very territorial. When a male enters another male’s territory, the resident male attacks the other male, using their large, tusk-like, upper canines. Muntiacus crinifrons defend their territories from conspecifics as well as other deer species. Muntjac species are generally active at dusk and dawn. (Geist, 1998; Lu and Sheng, 1984; Nowak, 1999; Wood and Myers, 2006)
Nothing is known about the home range of M. gongshanensis, but M. reevesi that were released in England had home ranges of approximately 20 ha and females had home ranges of approximately 12 ha. (Nowak, 1999; Wood and Myers, 2006; Nowak, 1999; Wood and Myers, 2006; Nowak, 1999; Wood and Myers, 2006)
No studies have been done on this topic for M. gongshanensis. However, M. crinifrons individuals use secretions from frontal and preorbital glands to mark territorial boundaries. They also use scents to indicate reproductive status. Muntiacus crinifrons uses visual signals. For instance, the white fur on the underside of the tail can be used to show a predator or an opponent that they have been detected. A raised frontal tuft can have the same meaning. Auditory signals may also be used, such as a barking sound used when a predator has been detected. Male M. reevesi use low postures and buzzing noises during courtship. (Dueling and Myers, 2004; Geist, 1998; Nowak, 1999; Wood and Myers, 2006)
Not much has been reported on the food habits of M. gongshanensis. Most muntjac species are described as omnivorous, however, the closely related species, M. crinifrons, seems to be mainly herbivorous. A study of stomach contents showed that the diet is made up of fruits, twigs, and leaves. (Lu and Sheng, 1984; Wood and Myers, 2006)
Little is known about predation on Gongshan muntjacs, but humans are suspected of being important predators. In M. crinifrons dholes and leopards are important predators. Some species of Muntiacus flee from predators on well maintained trails and hide in dense undergrowth. (Dueling and Myers, 2004; Geist, 1998; Lu and Sheng, 1984; Nowak, 1999; Wood and Myers, 2006; Worlddeer, 2005)
Gongshan muntjacs are likely to be important in tree seed dispersal in their native ecosystems. They are also important prey for large predators, such as leopards. (Geist, 1998; Lu and Sheng, 1984; Wood and Myers, 2006)
Gongshan muntjacs are hunted by native populations for their meat, horns, and hides. They are also important members of healthy, native ecosystems. (Lu and Sheng, 1984; Rabinowitz and Khaing, 1998; Rabinowitz, et al., 1998; Sheng and Lu, 1980; Wood and Myers, 2006; Worlddeer, 2005)
Muntiacus gongshanensis numbers appear to be decreasing because of over hunting by local human populations. Gongshan muntjacs are considered data deficient, more research is needed to determine their conservation status. (Deer Specialist Group, 2006; Worlddeer, 2005)
There is controversy regarding the taxonomic status of Gongshan muntjacs. “ Muntiacus gongshanensis has always been problematic since it was described on the basis of a single, odd karyotype" (C. P. Groves, pers. comm.). Amato, Eagan, and Rabinowitz (1999) suggest that M. crinifrons and M. gongshanensis should be treated as a single taxon because morphological and molecular data from multiple specimens does not diagnose M. gongshanensis as distinct. They suggest that further study must be done. (Amato, et al., 1999)
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Kyle Thompson (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor, instructor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
uses sound to communicate
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
active at dawn and dusk
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
an animal that mainly eats fruit
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
having more than one female as a mate at one time
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
breeding takes place throughout the year
young are relatively well-developed when born
Amato, G., M. Eagan, A. Rabinowitz. 1999.
A new species of muntjac, Muntiacus putaoensis (Artiodactyla: Cervidae) from northern Myanmar. Animal Conservation, 2: 1-7.
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Macdonald, D., S. Norris. 2001. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Barnes & Noble Inc.
Nowak, R. 1999. Walker’s Mammals of the World. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
Rabinowitz, A., G. Amato, U. Saw Tun Khaing. 1998. Discovery of the Black Muntjac, Muntiacus crinifrons (Artiodactyla, Cervidae), in Northern Myanmar. Mammalia, 62: 105-108.
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Sheng, H., H. Lu. 1980. Current studies on the rare Chinese Black Muntjac. Journal of Natural History, 14: 803-807.
Wood, A., P. Myers. 2006. "“Muntiacus crinifrons”" (On-line image). Animal diversity web. Accessed November 15, 2006 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Muntiacus_crinifrons. html.
Worlddeer, 2005. "The Gongshan Muntjac; Muntiacus gongshanensis" (On-line). Accessed November 21, 2006 at http://www.worlddeer.org/gongshanmuntjac.html.