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Gray brocket (M. gouazoubira)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Capreolinae
Tribe: Odocoileini
Genus: Mazama
Rafinesque, 1817

A brocket deer is any species of deer in the genus Mazama. 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 look similar to the African duikers and the Asian muntjacs, but they are not related. About 10 species of brocket deer are described.

The genus name Mazama is derived from Nahuatl mazame, the plural of mazatl "deer".[1]

Species[change | change source]

Physical description and habitat[change | change source]

Depending on species, brocket deer are small to medium-sized with stout bodies and large ears. The head-and-body length is 60–144 cm (24–57 in), the shoulder height is 35–80 cm (14–31 in), and the typical weight 8–48 kg (18–106 lb), though exceptionally large M. americana specimens have weighed as much as 65 kg (143 lb).[2][3] When present, the antlers are small, simple spikes.[2] The pelage varies from reddish to brown to gray. Very roughly, the species can be divided into four groups based on size, color, and habitat (but not necessarily matching their phylogeny):

  • M. americana and M. temama are usually found in forest. They are relatively large to medium brocket deer with a reddish to reddish-brown pelage. The head, neck, and legs are often grayish or blackish.
  • M. gouazoubira, M. nemorivaga, and M. pandora are found in forest, woodland, and shrubland. They are medium-sized with a brownish to grayish pelage and pale underparts.[4][5]
  • M. nana, M. bricenii, M. chunyi, and M. rufina are found in forest and high-altitude grassland (M. nana in Atlantic forest; the remaining species in Andean cloud forest, elfin forest and páramo). They are medium to small in size, and the pelage is reddish. In most, a part of the legs and the upper part of the head are blackish or dark gray, but in M. chunyi, the foreparts and neck are also blackish or dark gray.[3]
  • M. bororo is found in Atlantic forest in southeastern Brazil. In appearance, it is intermediate in appearance between M. americana (first group) and M. nana (third group).[6]

Behavior[change | change source]

In addition to being small and nocturnal, Mazama species are shy and are thus rarely observed. They are found living alone or in mated pairs within their own small territory, the boundaries usually marked with urine, feces, or secretions from the eye glands. When threatened by predators (primarily the cougar and the jaguar), they use their knowledge of their territory to finding hiding places in nearby vegetation. As herbivores, their diet consists of leaves, fruits, and shoots.

Reproduction[change | change source]

Mated pairs that live together remain monogamous. Single male deer usually mate with nearby females. When males compete for a mate, they fight by biting and stabbing with their short antlers. Brocket species that live in tropical areas have no fixed mating season, but those in temperate areas have a distinct rutting period in the autumn.

The gestation period is roughly 200–220 days and females bear only one fawn at a time. The young stay with the mother, keeping concealed until large enough to accompany her. They are normally weaned around six months of age and reach sexual maturity after a year.

References[change | change source]

  1. Bright, William (2007). Native American Placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nowak, R. M. (eds) (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Trolle, M., and L. H. Emmons (2004). A record of a dwarf brocket from lowland Madre de Dios, Peru. Archived 2012-03-12 at the Wayback Machine Deer Specialist Group Newsletter 19: 2-5
  4. Rossi, R. V. (2000). Taxonomia de Mazama Rafinesque, 1817 do Brasil (Artiodactyla, Cervidae). M.Sc. Thesis, Universidade de São Paulo.
  5. Medellín, R. A., A. L. Gardner, J. M. Aranda (1998). The taxonomic status of the Yucatán brown brocket, Mazama pandora (Mammalia: Cervidae). Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 111 (1): 1–14.
  6. Vogliotti, A., and J. M. B. Duarte (2009). Discovery of the first wild population of the small red brocket deer Mazama bororo (Artiodactyla: Cervidae). Mastozool. Beotrop. 16(2).

Other websites[change | change source]