DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionMuntiacus gongshanensis was described from Yunnan province, south-western China (Ma et al. 1990), within which its distribution spans the latitudinal range of about 252810N (Ma et al. 1994). It also occurs in Kachin state, northern Myanmar: there are several specimens over the latitudinal range of 2646N2810N in NHM and FMNH (note specimens are not catalogued under the name M. gongshanensis; R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Recent reports by Rabinowitz et al. (1998) and Amato et al. (1999b, 2000), where M. gongshanensis was considered synonymous with M. crinifrons, presumably refer to this species (Grubb 2005), although insufficient morphological characters are given to allow a firm identification. However, from the same area come many recent camera-trap photographs morphologically consistent with M. gongshanensis, specifically from Hkakaborazi National Park and Hponkanrazi Wildlife Sanctuary, which lie within the specimen-validated latitudinal range (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008, based on WCS Myanmar Programme unpublished data).
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 28332929N, 95209705E. 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 (3007N, 9502E) and the Modog are to the south, and from near Zayu at 2956N, 9448E; 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 (2702N, 8816E); 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).