Muntiacus gongshanensis can be found in Southern China, Tibet, Myanmar, and Northern Thailand.
Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native )
- Macdonald, D., S. Norris. 2001. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Barnes & Noble Inc.
Gongshan muntjac also probably inhabits southeastern Tibet: Chen et al. (2007) reported animals from Modog and Damu counties, close to the China, India and Myanmar border, in the range 28°33′–29°29′N, 95°20′–97°05′E. They based their identification (as M. crinifrons) solely on mtDNA and no morphological voucher seems to be available (small pieces of pelt may have been preserved), and no characters were discussed other than that the pelt was dark. Specimen-based records, again as M. crinifrons with M. gongshanensis explicitly considered a synonym, from this general area were reported by Schaller and Rabinowitz (2004), from the rivers Pailong and Yigong (30°07′N, 95°02′E) and the Modog are to the south, and from near Zayu at 29°56′N, 94°48′E; again, no morphological characters were given sufficient to allow identification to species. Gongshan muntjac or another species (but not M. vaginalis) may also occur much further to the west, in India: Inglis (1952) referred to melanistic (“very dark brown”) muntjacs, sometimes almost black, in the Darjeeling district (27°02′N, 88°16′E); one was at this time mounted in the Darjeeling museum. Whether this specimen is still extant is unclear, and no analysis more substantial seems to have been published on these animals. Also in India, Johnsingh (2004) stated that Muntiacus crinifrons was discovered in Arunachal Pradesh; the actual location and basis for identification remain unpublished, but this seems more likely to refer to M. gongshanensis than to M. crinifrons (but again could also potentially refer to some other taxon such as one of the M. rooseveltorum species-complex).
Camera-trapping studies in Lao PDR and Viet Nam have many images not referable to northern red muntjac M. vaginalis or to large-antlered muntjac M. vuquangensis. Many are certainly of the M. rooseveltorum complex of species, but given the external similarity of some specimens of the later to M. gongshanensis, some photographs may in fact be M. gongshanensis or a closely related taxon (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008, based on extensive examination of various camera-trapping programmes’ images). No certain specimen evidence has yet come to light which would support this.
In sum, if these records in Tibet, India and even Lao PDR and Viet Nam do refer to M. gongshanensis, they indicate a much wider geographic range than the so-far specimen-validated distribution in Gaoligongshan (Yunnan, China) and Kachin state (Myanmar).
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).
Range mass: 18 to 24 kg.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: female larger; ornamentation
Muntiacus gongshanensis prefers habitats with productive evergreen, lowland forests.
Habitat Regions: terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
- Worlddeer, 2005. "The Gongshan Muntjac; Muntiacus gongshanensis" (On-line). Accessed November 21, 2006 at http://www.worlddeer.org/gongshanmuntjac.html.
Habitat and Ecology
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.
Plant Foods: leaves; wood, bark, or stems; fruit
Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore )
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.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
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.
- humans (Homo sapiens)
Life History and Behavior
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.
Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic ; chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
The lifespan of M. gongshanensis is unknown. However, a wild, pregnant female M. crinifrons was captured at 11 years of age.
Status: wild: 11 (high) years.
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.
Mating System: polygynous
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.
Breeding interval: Gongshan muntjac interbirth intervals are not known.
Breeding season: Gongshan muntjacs may breed throughout the year.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Range gestation period: 0 to 0.01 months.
Average weaning age: 2 months.
Average time to independence: 6 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 6 (low) months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 9 (low) months.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
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.
Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female)
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.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Data Deficient(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
- 1996Data Deficient
- 1994Indeterminate(Groombridge 1994)
A immediate need is to dispel the confusion surrounding this species' taxonomic validity, generated through inspection of part of its mtDNA, compounding the, to date, only weak discussions of its morphological distinctiveness, and to establish and communicate the diagnostic characteristics of the species. This requires re-evaluation of the types and other specimens in China, a review of as much modern material is available in Myanmar (specimens and photographs), and analysis of specimens held in internationally-accessible institutions (most or all of which are still catalogued under earlier names).
An analysis of sensitivity to hunting is needed, which should focus on the relative abundance of this and other muntjac species within heavily hunted areas.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Gongshan muntjacs do not negatively impact human economies.
Gongshan muntjacs are hunted by native populations for their meat, horns, and hides. They are also important members of healthy, native ecosystems.
Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material
- 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.
- Rabinowitz, A., U. Khaing. 1998. Status of selected mammal species in North Myanmar. Oryx, 32/3: 201-208.
- Sheng, H., H. Lu. 1980. Current studies on the rare Chinese black muntjac. Journal of Natural History, 14: 803-807.
The Gongshan muntjac (Muntiacus gongshanensis) is a species of muntjac (a type of deer) living in the Gongshan mountains in northwestern Yunnan, southeast Tibet and northern Myanmar. Recently, it has also been found to occur in Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India. The earlier references of occurrence of the hairy-fronted muntjac Muntiacus crinifrons in Arunachal Pradesh are actually Gongshan muntjakc. More recently, genetic studies have shown it to be very closely related to the hairy-fronted muntjac, possibly close enough to be considered the same species despite different coloration, though this position is disputed. Ongoing hunting is a major threat to its survival.
- Timmins, R.J., Duckworth, J.W. & Zaw, T. (2008). Muntiacus gongshanensis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 April 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is data deficient.
- Ma, Shilai; Wang, Yingxiang; Shi, Liming (1990). "A new species of the genus Muntiacus from Yunnan, China". Zoological Research 11: 47–52.
- Grubb, P. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Choudhury, A.U. (2009). Records and distribution of Gongshan and leaf muntjacs in India. Deer Specialist Group News 23: 2-7.
- Choudhury, A.U. (2003). The mammals of Arunachal Pradesh. Regency Publications, New Delhi. 140pp
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