Mazama gouazoubiraSouth American brown brocket(Also: gray brocket)

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Geographic Range

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 species. ("", 2002; Yanosky and Mercolli, 1994)

Habitat

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. (Mares, et al., 1989; Redford and Eisenberg, 1992)

Physical Description

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. (Mares, et al., 1989; Redford and Eisenberg, 1992)

  • Range mass
    8 to 25 kg
    17.62 to 55.07 lb
  • Average mass
    15.6 kg
    34.36 lb
  • Range length
    1050 to 850 mm
    41.34 to 33.46 in

Reproduction

There is no information on mating systems in gray brockets in the literature.

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). (Stallings, 1986; Thomas, 1975)

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. (Stallings, 1986; Thomas, 1975)

  • 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

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. (Huffman, 2004; Thomas, 1975)

  • 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

Lifespan/Longevity

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. (Huffman, 2004; Maffei, 2001)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    13 (high) years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    13 years

Behavior

Gray brocket deer are generally solitary animals. Rarely have they been seen in groups of three. They frequent dense cover during the day but emerge at night into the open to feed. They are nervous and shy when in captivity, unless cover is offered. A limited number of confrontations were observed in captivity when protecting home ranges. (Black-Dècima, 2000; "", 2002; Thomas, 1975; Whitehead, 1972)

Home Range

The home ranges of the female gray brockets were noted to overlap in a captive study area, whereas male home ranges were regarded as being exclusive. (Black-Dècima, 2000)

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. (Black-Dècima, 2000)

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.

Food Habits

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. (Stallings, 1984)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • roots and tubers
  • wood, bark, or stems
  • seeds, grains, and nuts
  • fruit

Predation

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. (Stallings, 1986; Whitehead, 1972)

Ecosystem Roles

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. (Smythe, 1986)

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • disperses seeds

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. (Yanosky and Mercolli, 1994; "", 2002)

  • Positive Impacts
  • food

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Gray brockets are known to do minimal crop damage. (Redford and Eisenberg, 1992)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

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. ("", 2002)

Other Comments

There are several common names for this species. Although in this document it was called the gray brocket deer, another name is brown brocket deer, which shows up commonly in the literature. The original spelling of the species name was M. gouazoupira, they are now recognized as M. gouazoubira.

Ten subspecies of M. gouazoubira are currently recognized. (Whitehead, 1972; Wilson and Reeder, 1993)

Contributors

Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Carey Haralson (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Glossary

Neotropical

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chaparral

Found in coastal areas between 30 and 40 degrees latitude, in areas with a Mediterranean climate. Vegetation is dominated by stands of dense, spiny shrubs with tough (hard or waxy) evergreen leaves. May be maintained by periodic fire. In South America it includes the scrub ecotone between forest and paramo.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

crepuscular

active at dawn and dusk

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

food

A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.

frugivore

an animal that mainly eats fruit

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

monogamous

Having one mate at a time.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

sedentary

remains in the same area

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

sexual ornamentation

one of the sexes (usually males) has special physical structures used in courting the other sex or fighting the same sex. For example: antlers, elongated tails, special spurs.

solitary

lives alone

swamp

a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.

tactile

uses touch to communicate

territorial

defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year

young precocial

young are relatively well-developed when born

References

IUCN. 2002. Accessed 10/23/02 at http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/actionplans/deer/Deer_contents.pdf.

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.

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.

MacDonald, D., S. Norris. 2001. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Maffei, L. 2001. Estructura de edades de la urina (Mazama gouazoubira) en el Chaco Boliviano. Mastozoologia Neotropical, 8(2): 149-155.

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.

Smythe, N. 1986. Competition and resource partitioning in the guild of neotropical terrestiral frugivorous mammals. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 17: 169-188.

Stallings, J. 1984. Notes on the feeding habits of Mazama gouazoubira in the Chaco Boreal of Paraguay. Biotropica, 16: 155-157.

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.

Whitehead, G. 1972. Deer of the World. London: Constable.

Wilson, D., D. Reeder. 1993. Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.

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.