DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionThe distribution of M. montanus is uncertain. It is known only from specimens collected from western Sumatra, Indonesia, and has never been suspected to occur anywhere off the island. The known localities are Sungai Kering (spelled as Sungei Kring in the Dutch colonial era), a river draining from the south east massif of Gunung Kerinci); Gunung Kerinci [= Korinchi Peak], Kerinci district, Jambi province; and Sungai Kambang [= Sungai Kumbang], Pesisir Selatan district of West Sumatra province (Robinson and Kloss 1918; D. Martyr pers. comm. 2008). Miller (1942) described a specimen very likely to be this species (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008) from Gunung Leuser [= Mount Löser], Aceh Province, in the north of Sumatra. Van Bemmel (1952) mentioned a specimen from Redelong, Aceh, in the Zoological Museum, Amsterdam, and also gave the distribution as including Gunung Talamau (= Mount Ophir) based on Jacobson (1919; basis for record uncertain) and Gunung Kerinci (= Mount Indrapura) based on reports, as well as the lowlands of Deli, east Sumatra. However, all these localities additional to Kerinchi should be considered provisional, notably Deli, because it is not clear from descriptions in Van Bemmel (1952) that the muntjacs he attributed to M. montanus were in fact this species (see Taxonomic Note). There are several modern records. A female muntjac released from a snare (and photographed) at about 1,920 m asl at Ladeh Panjang on the western slopes of Gn. Kerinci, and a male photographed on the south-eastern side of Mt Gunung Tujuh (about 15 km south-east of Ladeh Panjang) at about 1,900 m asl, both locations being within Kerinci Seblat National Park (Kerinci district, Jambi province), each show at least one character likely to be diagnostic of the species (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008 based on photograph and data provided by D. Martyr and J. Holden). Several other animals photographed in the Kerinci Seblat National Park are either best considered unidentifiable, or most probably M. muntjak (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008 based on photograph and data provided by D. Martyr and J. Holden).
It seems very likely that M. montanus is a montane form. The Bukit Barisan mountain chain runs almost uninterrupted along the length of Sumatra, and there does not seem to be an obvious ecological break for restricting species to southern Sumatran mountains such as Kerinci. However, the area south of Lake Toba (about 2°45′N, 99°35′E) has several passes of somewhat lower land and has been suspected to be a faunal break for some species (Whitten et al. 1987); but survey to date has been insufficient to be sure that it truly comprise a barrier of distribution for any of large mammal (e.g. Meiri et al. 2007). Whether M. montanus occurs the length of the chain is therefore difficult to predict.
This paucity of information is partly the result of the synonymy of montanus with M. muntjac in the lengthy review of Van Bemmel (1952), thereby no doubt dousing subsequent authors’ enthusiasm to differentiate muntjacs in Sumatra. In any case, there are very few specimens of muntjacs from Sumatra in easily accessible western institutions, and at least within the RMNH, NHM, AMNH, NMNH and FMNH, the only specimens of M. montanus found by R.J. Timmins (pers. comm. 2008) are those of the type series (the small majority of other identifiable specimens being M. muntjac). Other specimens or records of the species may exist, especially within Indonesia, but there is no confirmation of this.