Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The distribution limits of this species are unknown, reflecting ambiguity over what the name refers to, and how to identify taxa within the M. rooseveltorum complex. For a description of the range of this species-complex see M. rooseveltorum. The syntypes of M. truongsonensis were collected from four houses in three locations in Hien District, west Quang Nam Province, Viet Nam. “The three locations are: Hien, the district capital, A Tin village, and A Plo village (15°56'59''N, 107°34'18''E)” (P.M. Giao et al. 1998). Two skulls which share the distinctive mtDNA sequences presented by P.M. Giao et al. (1998) for M. truongsonensis were collected in the adjacent area of Lao PDR, on the Dakchung Plateau (Amato et al. 1999b, 2000; R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Published range descriptions for M. truongsonensis (e.g. Groves and Schaller 2000; Grubb 2005) are hypothetical. Specimens and camera-trap photographs of animals of the M. rooseveltorum complex, but morphologically dissimilar to the M. rooseveltorum holotype (see taxonomic note) occur from the type locality of M. truongsonensis north to at least the northern highlands of Lao PDR and Viet Nam and probably into adjacent areas of China (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). M. truongsonensis may be found to occur throughout the range of the M. rooseveltorum species-complex (dark-pelaged animals appear to be widespread), but equally it could be much more localised.

Circumstantial evidence from Myanmar presents a possibility of more than one taxon in the M. rooseveltorum species complex in that region (see 2008 Red List account for M. putaoensis), with potentially similar pelage and skull character variation as shown in Indochina. Amato et al. (1999a, 1999b, 2000) placed M. putaoensis as the sister taxon to M. truongsonensis on the basis of mtDNA, and the holotype of the former species shares with specimens speculated to be M. truongsonensis long premaxillae that contact the nasals; in fact skulls of these two taxa may be (nearly) impossible to diagnose apart (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008). Some uncertainty exists over the pelage characteristics of M. putaoensis, although the assumption is that they are reddish animals (see 2008 Red List account for M. putaoensis). Contrary to the statements of Rabinowitz et al. (1999) and others, which have not taken into account the patchiness of suitable surveying, the ‘small’ muntjacs comprising the M. rooseveltorum species-complex are not particularly restricted in range, but are rather widespread in montane areas of northern southeast Asia. The lack of evidence of the complex from many areas, giving an apparent disjunct distribution, is much more likely to reflect the paucity of suitable surveys than the genuine distribution pattern. Survey work in south-west and south-east China, much of Myanmar, the Himalayan region and northern and western Thailand have certainly been insufficient to conclude anything about the range of this species-complex in those regions.

Grubb (2005) suggested that various muntjac specimens recorded from China (in Sokolov 1957; Shou 1962) might be attributable to M. truongsonensis, without giving profound justification. It seems, on current knowledge, equally likely that they belong elsewhere in the M. rooseveltorum species-complex, or, as suggested by the original authors, that they refer to animals from the M. crinifrons species-complex (i.e. that species, M. feae and M. gongshanensis).
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Geographic Range

Muntiacus truongsonensis (Annamite Muntjac) is indigenous to the highland ranges of Indochina. It is named after the Annamite Mountain Range in Vietnam where it was discovered. Its presence has been confirmed in the Hoang Lien Son Range in the Lao Cai province of Vietnam and Southern Laos. Its range limits are unknown but are thought to closely resemble those of Muntiacus rooseveltorum, with the exception that M. truongsonensis extends into higher elevations.

Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )

  • Wilson, D., D. Reeder. 2005. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Duckworth, J., R. Pine. 2003. English names for a world list of mammals, exemplified by species of Indochina. Mammal Review, 33: 151-173. Accessed March 13, 2011 at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2907.2003.00012.x/full.
  • Giao, P., D. Tuoc, V. Dung, E. Wikramanayake, G. Amato, P. Arctander, J. Mackinnon. 1998. Description of Muntiacus truongsonensis, a new species of muntjac (Artiodactyla: Muntiacidae) from Central Vietnam, and implications for conservation. Animal Conservation, 1: 61-68. Accessed March 13, 2011 at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-1795.1998.tb00227.x/pdf.
  • Sterling, E., M. Hurley. 2006. Vietnam: a natural history. New Haven: Yale University Press.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Muntiacus truongsonensis is one of the smaller members of Muntiacus. The exact size of M. truongsonensis is unknown, but it has been described to be approximately 15 kg by local hunters. It has black fur on its legs and bright orange fur on its head. Dorsal pelage is brown and it has a broad flat tail with black dorsal fur and long white ventral fur which distinguishes it from its similar sized relative, Muntiacus rooseveltorum. It has white rings surrounding each hoof. Similar to other muntjac species, M. truongsonensis has ridges running from the top of the snout to the apex of the head, which give rise to short, simple, burred antlers that are hidden by tufts of long fur at the top of the head. Like those of many species of Muntiacus, the canines of M. truongsonensis are long and tusk-like. Muntiacus truongsonensis is the only muntjac species in which females and males have similarly sized canines.  No description has been given of juvenile M. truongsonensis. However, many related cervids, including species in Muntiacus, have young with spotted coats.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

  • Macdonald, D. 2001. The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Vrba, E. 2000. Antelopes, deer, and relatives : fossil record, behavioral ecology, systematics, and conservation. New Haven: Yale University Press.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
In Lao PDR this species-complex is probably restricted to higher elevations (over 1,000 m asl) and forests at the evergreen end of the spectrum; it may be absent from forest even above 1,000 m asl in drier western areas. In Viet Nam it occurs also down to lower altitudes (perhaps to the foothills) especially on the eastern slope of the Annamites and probably also in northeastern areas (east of the Red River) (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2006). Social ecology is likely to be similar to other species of muntjac, which are generally solitary and territorial.

The complex is widely sympatric with northern red muntjac M. vaginalis, although at high elevations over about 1,500 m asl that species appears to become scarce or naturally absent within Indochina, whereas the rooseveltorum complex ascends to over 2,000 m asl in at least northern Viet Nam (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008, based on photographs and other unpublished data of S. Swann/FFI).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Muntiacus truongsonensis is a mountain dwelling cervid, found in dense, tropical, secondary, evergreen forests. Elevations where M. truongsonensis can be found extend up to and possibly exceed 1,000 m.

Range elevation: 1000 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Little is known about the diet of Muntiacus truongsonensis. While most munjacs are herbivorous, M. reevesi is known to be omnivorous, eating carrion and small animals. Other species of Muntiacus, such as Muntiacus vaginalis, are generalist herbivores eating a wide range of flora including fruit, twigs, seeds and foliage.

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Little is known about the ecosystem roles of Muntiacus truongsonensis. However, close relatives have been described as important seed predators and dispersers and their barking has been suggested to act as a warning system to small mammals.

  • Chen, J., B. Deng, L. Bai, Q. Chen, L. Yong, Z. Lui. 2001. Fruit Characteristics and Muntiacus muntijak vaginalis (Muntjac) Visits to Individual Plants of Choerospondias axillaris. Biotropica, Vol. 33, No. 4: 718-722. Accessed April 06, 2011 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/3593176.
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Predation

A range of large predators including tigers, leopards, and crocodiles commonly prey upon many muntjacs. Humans are the only confirmed predator of M. truongsonensis. Potential predatory defense mechanisms of M. truongsonensis are unknown.

Known Predators:

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Many species of Muntiacus are somewhat vocal, but it is not known if M. truongsonensis is included among them. Males "buzz" when approaching a female in estrus, and receptive females whine and lower their heads to males. Vocal species use barking as an alarm system to warn of potential dangers such as predators.

Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic

  • Yahner, R. 1980. Barking in a Primative Ungulate, Muntiacus reevesi: Function and Adativeness. The American Naturalist, 116: 157-177. Accessed April 15, 2011 at http://www.jstor.org/stable/2460670.
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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

No information was found on the longevity of M. truongsonensis in the wild or captivity.

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Reproduction

The mating system of Muntiacus truongsonensis is unknown. Other species in the genus, including Muntiacus vaginalis and Muntiacus reevesi, mate year round. Male M. reevesi defend territories that overlap with those of females. Males compete for mates by locking antlers and pushing against each other. They use their tusks to scratch the faces and necks of rival males. Both sexes of M. reevesi are semi-vocal. Males "buzz" when approaching a female in estrus, and receptive females whine and lower their heads to males.

Members of Muntiacus living in similar habitats as Muntiacus truongsonensis, such as M. reevesi and M. vaginalis, are polygynous and aseasonal breeders. Gestation is variable in Muntiacus. For example, gestation in Muntiacus muntjak lasts for 180 days, while that of M. reevesi lasts for 210 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous

There is no information available regarding parental investment in Muntiacus truongsonensis, but it is probably similar to that of close relatives. Muntiacus reevesi exhibits minimal parental care and weans offspring at 17 weeks. Like many small cervids in enclosed environments (e.g., forests), M. truongsonensis likely has young that exhibit hiding behavior in which young lie and hide for extended periods of time, while mothers wander off to graze and then return periodically to nurse.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Timmins, R.J., Duckworth, J.W. & Long, B.

Reviewer/s
Black, P.A. & Gonzalez, S. (Deer Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This nominal species is listed as Data Deficient because current taxonomic uncertainties prevent clarification of status and distribution of this species within the many specimens and photographs of animals undoubtedly belonging to the M. rooseveltorum species-complex (see taxonomic note). As a result there is no reasonable way to estimate its species-specific range or conservation status within that of the species-complex. General hunting levels in the region are high but there is no information about how tolerant the species may be to hunting (northern red muntjac is able to withstand high hunting, but there is no real reason to believe that this trait is shared with the rest of the genus, but equally nor is there any reason to believe that it is not). Habitat loss is probably a threat in some regions, but levels of tolerance of fragmentation and degradation cannot yet be assessed.

History
  • 2000
    Data Deficient
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Little is known of the potential conservation needs of Muntiacus truongsonensis, due in part to the difficulty of distinguishing it from closely related muntjacs species. As a result, this species is classified as "data defficient" on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. Possible threats include hunting and habitat loss.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: data deficient

  • Trimmins, R., T. Cuong. 2001. An Assessment of the Conservation Importance of the Huong Son (Annamite) Forest, Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, Based on the Results of a Field Study For Large Mammals and Birds. New York: The American Museum of Natural History. Accessed March 14, 2011 at cbc.amnh.org/center/pubs/pdfs/timmins.pdf.
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Population

Population
Over 50 specimens (not all now extant) and close to 100 camera-trap photographs of the species-complex are known to R.J. Timmins from Indochina (pers. comm. 2008), suggesting it is relatively common in both Lao PDR and especially Viet Nam. Results from camera-trapping in Lao PDR (Nan Et–Phou Louey NPA: R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008, based on unpublished data A. Johnson/ WCS; Nakai-Nam Theun NPA: R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008, based on Watershed Management Protection Agency unpublished data; Robichaud et al. in prep.) and Viet Nam (Hoang Lien Son mountain range: R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008, based on unpublished data S. Swann/FFI) show that the species-complex is at least locally common at these sites, and it could be so over much of its range. In other areas, mostly south of the previous list of areas, such as Pu Mat NR; Thua-Thien Hue province; and Quang Nam province (Viet Nam), and Bolikhamsai province (Lao PDR), the species-complex has been camera-trapped less frequently than M. vaginalis in each area, but this may reflect ecological factors of sampling areas, such as habitat and altitude range (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2008, based on various unpublished datasets; SFNC 2000; Robichaud and Stuart 1999).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The main threat to the species-complex is hunting. Especially within Lao PDR and Viet Nam, there is indiscriminate snaring throughout its known range, for local meat consumption and a thriving bushmeat trade (see Timmins et al. 2007). However, the best protection from hunting at present is the ‘cushioning’ effect of large forest blocks, where the costs of extracting wildlife of low to medium commercial value from the centre are higher than the income from selling it, and where habitat is so extensive it is simply more difficult to hunt out cryptic, non-gregarious species, than it is in smaller forest blocks. Because most such blocks within the complex’s geographical range are centred on rugged terrain, with higher elevations forming the core of such areas, these muntjacs are likely to be significantly less threatened than are sympatric ground-dwelling mammals with altitudinal ranges limited to lower elevations.

In localized areas, especially of northern Indochina, the species-complex is likely to be affected by habitat loss. Here, most ethnic groups practice shifting cultivation and in recent decades there has been a clear net loss and fragmentation of forest: such shifting cultivation is not now in a balanced cycle (for rotational systems), or never was (frontier systems). The adaptability of the species-complex to degraded or fragmented habitats is not well known, although evidence from northern Lao PDR suggests that animals there persist in landscape-scale mosaics including extensive secondary, degraded forest fragments and cultivation (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2006). In general it appears that muntjacs (particularly M. vaginalis and M. reevesi) adapt well to secondary and degraded habitats and in fact may reach higher densities in such areas than they do in unencroached habitats. More serious than losses to shifting cultivation, in the most recent years and the immediate future, is likely to be the large-scale replacement of natural forests (albeit mostly heavily degraded) with rubber plantations to supply the burgeoning Chinese market. This is affecting large areas of the northern highlands of Lao PDR and elsewhere, and will have three linked negative effects on ground-dwelling mammals: direct loss of habitat (it is unlikely that rubber plantations will support even mediocre densities of this species-complex, although this is not yet known), decline and destabilisation of the forest resource-base (including wild-meat sources) for subsistence-level communities, leading to higher hunting levels in remaining wildlife areas (C. Wood pers. comm. 2005 to J.W. Duckworth, based on emerging patterns across several provinces in Lao PDR’s northern highlands); and shrinkage of the size of natural habitat blocks and thereby reduction and, locally, loss, of the cushioning effect.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Taxonomic uncertainties within this species-complex forestall any analysis of conservation needs for the individual species. Populations of this species-complex occur in probably most protected areas of the Annamite range and northern highlands of Lao PDR and Viet Nam (R.J. Timmins pers. comm. 2006). If M. truongsonensis were a localised species then conservation measures additional to support and consolidation of the existing protected area system may be warranted.

Whatever actual taxonomic pattern is found within the species-complex, management of hunting will need to recognise that hunters cannot be expected to recognise muntjacs to species in the field: some methods are non-selective (e.g. snares) while active projectile hunting (e.g. guns, bows, blow-pipes) would be severely reduced in their harvest efficiency if identification had to precede shooting. The only realistic site-based management tool for this species-complex is likely to be the declaration of suitably-sized ‘core areas’, site in ecologically appropriate areas, where all hunting using methods suitable for muntjacs, including under hitherto traditional rights, is prevented. Lao protected area legislation apparently provides for ‘core areas’ within each national protected area although few if any have yet been declared. Each protected area within the species-complex’s range should therefore have at least one large (several hundred km², in the absence of any empirical knowledge of muntjac spatial ecology) core zone declared and enforced. This measure implemented in conjunction with well considered hunting management in peripheral forest areas might also benefit the ongoing dietary needs of local people, who could harvest in a controlled manner animals outside core zones, and who, in parts of montane Lao PDR that have been effectively studied, are being forced into involuntary veganism because the lack of effective wildlife management and sensible hunting quotas, has meant wildlife stocks have fallen severely (Krahn and Johnson 2007).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of Muntiacus truongsonensis on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Muntiacus truongsonensis, like many other muntjacs, is hunted for their meat and their skins.

Positive Impacts: food ; body parts are source of valuable material

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Wikipedia

Truong Son muntjac

Truong Son muntjac or Annamite muntjac (Muntiacus truongsonensis) is a species of muntjac deer. It is one of the smallest muntjac species, at about 15 kg, half the size of the Indian muntjac (or common muntjac). It was discovered in the Truong Son mountain range in Vietnam in 1997.

It was identified by examination of skulls and descriptions provided by villagers, who call it samsoi cacoong, or "the deer that lives in the deep, thick forest." It lives at altitudes of 400-1000 metres, where its small size allows it to move through dense undergrowth.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Timmins, R.J., Duckworth, J.W. & Long, B. (2008). Muntiacus truongsonensis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 April 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of data deficient.
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