Gray brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira) range from southern Central America down through northern South America, and reach as far south as northern Argentina and Uruguay. It is one of the more widely distributed brocket deer.
Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )
- Yanosky, A., C. Mercolli. 1994. Estimates of brown brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira) habitat use at El Bagual Ecological Reserve, Argentina. Texas Journal of Science, 46: 73-78.
- IUCN. 2002. Accessed 10/23/02 at http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/actionplans/deer/Deer_contents.pdf.
Gray brocket deer range from 850 to 1050 mm in total body length, stand around 650 mm at the shoulder. They weigh approximately of 17kg.
Gray brocket deer are slightly smaller than red brocket deer (Mazama americana). The gray brocket deer also has a straighter back, giving its silhouette a more deer-like shape.
Mazama gouazoubira has a grayish-brown to reddish-brown coat. The males have simple antlers about 70 to 100 mm in length. The undersides of the tail is white, with the pelage on the flanks being of a paler color.
Range mass: 8 to 25 kg.
Average mass: 15.6 kg.
Range length: 1050 to 850 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: ornamentation
Habitat and Ecology
It eats a wide variety of plant species and is a selective feeder. It has pulses of frugivory depending on the area, season and availability of frutis, but is not essentially frugiverous in many areas; its habitat is not consistent with a frugivorous diet since it avoids forests where most of the fruit is found (Caballero 2001; Cartes 1998; Julia 2002; Pinder 1997; Stallings 1984).
Breeding occurs almost all year around with births in all months except May, June and July in Argentina and Bolivia and correlated with the rainy season in Brazil (Chavez 1999; Julia 2002). There is a post partum estrus and a gestation period of 7 months.
Mazama gouazoubira is a small to medium sized deer, with head and body length 882-1060 mm, tail length 83-190 mm, and ear length 95-121 mm (Rossi, 2000); shoulder height 500-650 mm and weight 11-25 kg (Duarte and Jorge 1998). In Brazil, regional, ecological and individual variations in coloration of M. gouazoubira have frequently been reported (Duarte 1996; Pinder and Leeuwenberg 1997; Rossi 2000). Light and brownish colors prevail in individuals living in grasslands, while forest populations tend to be darker and grayer; significant individual variation exists within a single population. M. gouazoubira can be readily distinguished from the most similar species, the Amazonian brown brocket Mazama nemorivaga, by its orange rump and dorsal side of the tail, larger rounded ears, smaller eyes and orbital cavities, and wider auditory bulla rather than chocolate brown rump and dorsal side of the tail, small pointed ears, large eyes, large orbital cavities, and narrow auditory bulla of the latter species (Duarte 1996; Rossi 2000).
Mazama gouazoubira is commonly found in open areas, like the thorn scrub of the Chaco and the Gran Sabana in Venezuela. These animals may be found in very dry areas, and can be found dwelling in savannas, swamplands or at the edge of secondary vegetation and transitional forests.
Habitat Regions: tropical
Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; chaparral ; scrub forest
- Mares, M., R. Ojeda, R. Barquez. 1989. Guide to the Mammals of Salta Province, Argentina. London: University of Oklahoma Press.
- Redford, K., J. Eisenberg. 1992. Mammals of the Neotropics: The Southern Cone, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gray brocket deer are mostly frugivorous, especially during the wet season (November to February). They focus on soft, fleshy fruits available from bush-like trees. During the dry season they feed more on the mast crops from the trees of Zyzyphus oblongifoia and Casesalpinia paraguarensis (February thru October). These trees produce dry, tough fruits, which become scarce during the wet season. In a region such as the chaco, water stress is more apparent during the extended dry season, resulting in the deer eating more cacti and bromeliad fruits, as well as succulent leaves and roots to satisfy water requirements. Gray brocket deer are also grazers and a browsers. They utilize roots, twigs, flowers, buds, bark and leaves of trees and shrubs, some seasonally and other annually.
Plant Foods: leaves; roots and tubers; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit
Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore )
- Stallings, J. 1984. Notes on the feeding habits of Mazama gouazoubira in the Chaco Boreal of Paraguay. Biotropica, 16: 155-157.
Gray brocket deer are frugivorous and disperse seeds from a variety of trees and shrubs. To the extent that predators rely on these deer as a source of food, they may have some affect on predator poluations.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
- Smythe, N. 1986. Competition and resource partitioning in the guild of neotropical terrestiral frugivorous mammals. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 17: 169-188.
Predators of the gray brocket include ocelots, jaguars and pumas, in addition to some larger raptors. Domestic dogs are also a predator. These deer are taken by local hunters for food.
Canis lupus familiaris
This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Life History and Behavior
Communication and Perception
One way of communication that has been studied in gray brocket deer is scent-marking, which would include urination, defecation, forehead rubbing and thrashing. There is a difference in frequency of scent-marking between females, as well as between males and juveniles. It was also observed that females and juveniles marked more often in the core of their home range versus the males who often marked outside their home range.
As is true for virtually all mammals, there are probably some other forms of communication as well. These deer probably use some vocalizations. Visual signals and postures may be important, and physcial contact signals are probably important between mother and infant, as well as between mates.
Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: scent marks
Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic
Using cementum annuli, the oldest age class of gray brocket deer in one study was 13 years. Lifespan of the related red brocket ranges from 7 to 12 years.
Status: wild: 13 (high) years.
Status: wild: 13 years.
- Maffei, L. 2001. Estructura de edades de la urina (Mazama gouazoubira) en el Chaco Boliviano. Mastozoologia Neotropical, 8(2): 149-155.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Specific mating behaviors for this animal was not found, although it is thought to be monogamous like red brocket deer.
Mating System: monogamous
Reproduction appears to be year round, as spotted fawns have been found throughout the year. In some juvenile females, the ovaries were detected to have developing follicles indicating an early onset of reproduction. The age classes used were the same used for whitetail deer, placing these females around a one-year age class.
Does were found to be simultaneously pregnant and lactating. In captivity, the gestation period is around eight months. Usually a single young is born with twins being rare. The young are camoflaged in grass, very similar to whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
The antler conditions of bucks also supports the notion that there is year round reproduction. Males with polished antlers were observed throughout the year. Bucks have been found in velvet in January, May and June and with polished antlers by May through November. The males of this species apparently shed their antlers every 18 months to two years but with great individual variability.
Breeding interval: It is likely that the females breed once annually.
Breeding season: Breeding is not restricted to a season in this species.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 8 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 13 months.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 12 months.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization ; viviparous
The doe provides care to the fawn until weaned. The female feeds the fawn, but until it becomes older, the fawn stays hidden. The time to weaning or the duration of dependence on the doe is unknown. In red brocket deer (M. americana) weaning occurs at about 6 months. Male parental care has not been reported.
Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)
- Stallings, J. 1986. Notes on the reporductive biology of the grey brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira) in Paraguay. Journal of Mammalogy, 67: 175-176.
- Thomas, W. 1975. Observation of captive brockets. Int. Zoo Yearbook, 15: 77-78.
- Huffman, B. 2004. "Red Brocket: Mazama americana" (On-line). Ultimate Ungulate Page. Accessed March 31, 2004 at http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Mazama_americana.html.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Mazama gouazoupira
No available public DNA sequences.
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mazama gouazoupira
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mazama gouazoubira (cytb)
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mazama gouazoubira
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2000Data Deficient
In the central Chaco regions intensive hunting has resulted in a local decline. In Venezuela habitat destruction and illegal hunting may pose a threat, especially around settled areas.
In the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Community Reserve of the Peruvian Amazon the gray brocket is one of the focal species in a community based wildlife management initiative.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Gray brockets are known to do minimal crop damage.
Negative Impacts: crop pest
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
In Paraguay they are mostly hunted for meat, although pelts are also known to be traded in rather high quantities in certain regions. In the Peruvian Amazon the pelts of gray brockets are not traded. In the central chaco region the meat is sold at local markets. In the Amazonian cities, the meat of the gray brocket is sold in smaller quantities than that of the red brocket.
Positive Impacts: food
The gray brocket (Mazama gouazoubira), also known as the brown brocket, is a species of brocket deer from northern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Peru, eastern and southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. It formerly included the Amazonian Brown Brocket (M. nemorivaga) and sometimes also the Yucatan Brown Brocket (M. pandora) as subspecies. Unlike other species of brocket deer in its range, the gray brocket has a gray-brown fur without reddish tones.
The scientific name of the gray brocket deer comes from Félix de Azara's "Gouazoubira". Azara was the first to provide a quality description of the small deer in the Americas, and he referred to the red brocket as Gouazoupita, while he referred to the gray brocket as Gouazoubira. Gouazoubira has been maintained in the current species name, Mazama gouazoubira. Though sometimes it is seen as Mazama gouazoupira, this is incorrect, perhaps mistakenly replacing a "b" with a "p" from Azara's name for the red brocket, Gouazoupita.
The coat of a gray brocket can range from gray-brown to dark brown. Lighter, browner coats are seen in those that live in grasslands, whereas grayer, darker colors are more prevalent in forest regions. Significant variation can be seen between individuals of the same population as well. Their tails are white on the bottom, and on their flanks the hair is of a lighter color than that of the rest of the body. The body length of a gray brocket deer can range from 85 to 105 cm (33 to 41 in) and the weight from 11 to 25 kg (24 to 55 lb).
In addition to the obvious differences in color, the gray brocket is generally smaller than the red brocket. Separation of the gray brocket and the Amazonian brown brocket using external features is far harder, but the former has a more orange rump, bigger, more rounded ears, wider auditory bulla, and smaller eyes.
Distribution and habitat
The gray brocket is found in northern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Peru, eastern and southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. They range from the western part of South America, in the East Andes foothills in Bolivia, Peru and Argentina. From there it extends eastward, through semi-open regions such as the Gran Chaco, Cerrado and Caatinga, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. It does not live in the Amazon Rainforest region (where replaced by the Amazonian Brown Brocket), and its distribution runs south to the mouth of the Paraná River in Argentina.
It is found in brushy vegetation and forest edge, but typically avoids both open habitats without cover and dense forest.
The gray brocket is a herbivore that chooses what it eats selectively, though it does eat a wide variety of plants. During some periods, the grays brocket may become frugivorous (primarily fruit-eating), but this depends on the season, area, and availability of fruits. Many of the fruits are in dense forests, which it for the most part avoids, but it does find other sources of fruits and also other sources of food. In the dry season they eat the fruit from trees such Caesalpinia paraguariensis, which produce dry, tough fruits. Periodically and locally, they also eat cacti, bromeliad fruits, and leaves and roots from succulents to satisfy their water requirements.
The gray brocket reaches sexual maturity at an age of 18 months. There is no distinct breeding season. The gestation periods lasts around 7 months, and there is post partum estrus. Thus, it is possible for a gray brocket to produce two offspring in one calendar year. After birth, the doe takes care of the fawn until it is weaned, though the time until it is weaned is unknown. During this weaning period, the fawn remains hidden and is fed by the doe.
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Four types of scent marking have been observed as a means of communication, due to their performance of these behaviors in concurrence with certain postures. These scent-marking behaviors include urination, defecation, thrashing, and forehead rubbing. Such scent-marking tactics can be part of a claim on territory if a number of markings are placed within a concentrated area by a single gray brocket.
Gray brockets are active during the day, but generally only appears in the open during the night. It is solitary and territorial, with the male defending a larger territory and the female a smaller core area.
Unless under cover, they are very shy and nervous when held captive.
Population and conservation
Overall the gray brocket remains widespread and common, but it has decreased or even disappeared from near human populations. In Bolivia, the population appears to remain constant despite great hunting pressure, and it is the most common deer in Brazil, though it is declining in some regions. In Argentina, it is declining due to habitat loss and hunting, and in Paraguay it has declined from regions with high human densities. The primary motive for hunting gray brockets is not pest control, as they cause a minimal amount of crop damage. However, hunters can sell the meat from one gray brocket for $15, which could be a potential motivation.[not in citation given]
The gray brocket occurs in 14 national and provincial reserves in Argentina, as well as 7 reserves in Bolivia, and numerous reserves in Paraguay and Brazil. Though hunting is illegal in many areas in the gray brocket’s range, bans are generally not enforced. In order to prevent further population declines, hunting laws need to be enforced, stray dogs from human populations should be controlled, and local village populations should be educated to preserve the gray brocket populations. Additionally, population studies are needed to determine the status of the gray brocket in order be better equipped to help it.
- Black, P. & Vogliotti, A. (2008). Mazama gouazoubira. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 7 November 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern.
- Grubb, P. (2005). "Order Artiodactyla". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 637–722. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
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- Medellín, R. A., A. L. Gardner, J. M. Aranda (1998). The taxonomic status of the Yucatán brown brocket, Mazama pandora (Mammalia: Cervidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 111 (1): 1–14.
- Wilson, D. E., Mittermeier, R. A., editors (2011). Handbook of the Mammals of the World, vol. 2 (Hoofed Mammals), p. 441. ISBN 978-84-96553-77-4
- Allen, Joel Asaph. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Volume 34. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1915. p. 522-523.
- Haralson, C. 2004. Mazama gouazoubira (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Downloaded on 9 October 2011.
- Black-Dècima, P. 2000. Home range, social structure, and scent marking behavior in brown brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira) in a large enclosure. Mastozoologia Neotropical, 7(1): 5-14.
- McCarthy, Andrew, Raleigh Blouch, Donald Moore, and Christen M. Wemmer. Deer: status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN, 1998 - Nature. P. 32-33.
- Periago, Maria E. and Gerardo C. Leynaud. Density estimates of Mazama gouazoubira (Cervidae) using the pellet count technique in the arid Chaco (Argentina). Ecología Austral 19:73-77. Abril 2009 Abril de 2009 Asociación Argentina de Ecología. Downloaded on 9 October 2009.