Muntiacus reevesi (Reeves' muntjac)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Muntiacus reevesi Ogilby, 1839
Preferred Common Name
- Reeves' muntjac
Other Scientific Names
- Cervus reevesi
International Common Names
- English: Reeves's muntjac
Local Common Names
- UK/England and Wales: barking deer; Chinese muntjac
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
In the UK, where it is now well established, M. reevesi shows rapid expansion of distribution, estimated (between 1972 and 2002) at a compound rate of 8.2% per year (Ward, 2005). However actual rate of expansion under natural conditions is hard to assess, since clear gaps in continuity make it obvious that much of the initial and continuing expansion in distribution is due to continuing secondary translocation (Chapman et al., 1994a). Natural spread of muntjac may occur at perhaps 1 km per year but actual rates including escapes from captive collections or deliberate releases may be nearer 2.4 km per year (Chapman et al., 1994a).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Suborder: Ruminantia
- Family: Cervidae
- Genus: Muntiacus
- Species: Muntiacus reevesi
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Reeves’ muntjac, Muntiacus reevesi, has a native range restricted to southeast China and Taiwan. Two subspecies are recognized: M. reevesi reevesi in mainland China (introduced to Britain), poorly differentiated from M. reevesi micrurus in Taiwan. Although M. reevesi reevesi has been introduced to zoos and collections elsewhere, it is believed that extensive feral populations are established only in the United Kingdom. Local populations are established in parts of the Netherlands and in Belgium.
DescriptionTop of page
M. reevesi is a small reddish-brown deer, weighing 12-16 kg and standing about 0.5m high at the shoulder. There is a conspicuous white underside to a comparatively fat tail, which is held vertically and very prominent when alarmed.
Fawns are heavily spotted: spots gradually fade and have usually disappeared by about 2 months of age. Males develop full facial markings by 9 months.
Stance is also quite distinctive: muntjac often stand with the back arched and commonly hold the head down so the rump appears higher than the withers. When disturbed they often run off in a series of springing jumps.
DistributionTop of page
Although it has been introduced to zoos and collections elsewhere, it is believed that feral populations are established only in Japan (Chiba prefecture in Honshu), the United Kingdom (currently England and possibly Northern Ireland), Ireland (possibly), Belgium and the Netherlands.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007||SE China. KJC Pei, Institute of Wildlife Conservation, National Pingtung Universtity of Science & Technology, Taiwan, personal communication 2009; X Lu , South China Institute of Endangered Animals, China, personal communication, 2009|
|-Anhui||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Fujian||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Gansu||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Guangdong||Present||Native||Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Guangxi||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Guizhou||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Hubei||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Hunan||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Jiangsu||Present||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Jiangxi||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Shanxi||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Sichuan||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Yunnan||Present||Native||Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|-Zhejiang||Widespread||Native||Sheng, 1991; Zhang, 1997; Pang et al., 2007|
|Japan||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Honshu||Localised||Introduced||NG Chapman, Suffolk, UK, personal communication, 2009. Introduced from Taiwan to Chiba prefecture|
|Taiwan||Widespread||Native||DR McCullough, University of California, Berkeley, USA, personal communication, 2009|
|Vietnam||Absent, unreliable record||KJC Pei, Institute of Wildlife Conservation, National Pingtung Universtity of Science & Technology, Taiwan, personal communication, 2009. Single record from mid 1980s in central Vietnam. No other record and therefore this report must be considered unreliable|
|Belgium||Localised||Introduced||NG Chapman, Suffolk, UK, personal communication, 2009|
|France||Present only in captivity/cultivation||NG Chapman, Suffolk, UK, personal communication, 2009|
|Ireland||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Carden et al., 2011||In counties Wicklow and Kildare. Also unconfirmed reports from Wexford, Sligo, Longford and Leitrim which are possibly recent releases/escapes and not indicative of an established feral population|
|Netherlands||Localised||Introduced||NG Chapman, Suffolk, UK, personal communication, 2009|
|UK||Widespread||Introduced||1894||Chapman, 2008||Well established over much of England, especially southern half. By 1993 only 5 counties lacked any records (Chapman et al., 1994a). Some further expansion since then, expected to continue. A few records from Wales and Scotland probably represent individual (short-lived) escapes from captivity and generally have not persisted. There have been numerous reports from Northern Ireland although many are unconfirmed (RF Carden, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, personal communication, 2011)|
|-England and Wales||Widespread||Introduced||1894||Chapman, 2008||Well established over much of England, especially southern half. By 1993 only 5 counties lacked any records (Chapman et al., 1994a). Some further expansion since then, expected to continue. A few records from Wales probably represent individual (short-lived) escapes from captivity and generally have not persisted.|
|-Northern Ireland||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||RF Carden, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, personal communication, 2011||There have been numerous reports from Northern Ireland although many are unconfirmed.|
|-Scotland||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Chapman, 2008||A small number of records which probably represent individual (short-lived) escapes from captivity and generally have not persisted.|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
In the UK specimens of two species of muntjac were introduced to Woburn Park, Bedfordshire: Indian muntjac M. muntjak (in 1893) and Reeves’ muntjac M. reevesi (in 1894). Thirty-one M. muntjak and 11 M. reevesi were released into neighbouring woods in 1901, but populations of M. muntjak did not survive. Muntjac now established in UK are all M. reevesi (Chapman and Chapman, 1982; Chapman et al., 1993). These became more widely established as a result of many translocations, escapes and releases from the 1930s to the 1990s, as well as through natural spread (Chapman et al., 1994a). Muntjac are now recorded in a significant number of counties in the south of England as well as in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Ireland||UK||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)
Intentional release (pathway cause)
|Carden et al. (2011)|
|UK||China||1894||Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)
Intentional release (pathway cause)
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Establishment of populations in the Netherlands and in Belgium must be a cause for real concern, since the species now has the potential for further spread across continental Europe wherever there is suitable habitat. Although in theory both rate of spread and overall extent might be limited by mountains and other natural barriers, experience in the UK and in Ireland suggests that enthusiasm for establishment of the species by hunters may lead to (illegal) secondary translocations past such natural barriers (Chapman et al., 1994a).
HabitatTop of page
In the UK, they still favour dense habitat with diversity of vegetation: deciduous woodland with year-round understorey, coppice, young unthinned plantations, scrub and even overgrown and undisturbed gardens and cemeteries are occupied. They are frequently present in commercial coniferous woodlands which have some deciduous trees and ground cover. Here they select areas with a variety of vegetation types, especially in the ground and shrub layers, bramble and mature nut-bearing trees (Chapman et al., 1985; Chapman, 2008).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Principal habitat|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Chromosomes: 2n=46, all acrocentric except for small submetacentric Y chromosome.
ClimateTop of page
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Preferred||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Vulpes vulpes||Predator||Juvenile||not specific||No|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Heavy mortality may also occur during severe winters with prolonged periods of deep snow. Debilitation from starvation, often with pneumonia, accounted for deaths of c. 50% of a high density population (Cooke, 1996).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Introductions outside their native range have been deliberate, although subsequent release to the wild may be accidental (through escape from captivity) or deliberate (see History of Introduction). After establishment, they show a rapid expansion of distribution, estimated in the UK at a compound rate of 8.2% per year (Ward, 2005). However, the actual rate of expansion under natural conditions is hard to assess, since it is clear that much of the initial and continuing expansion in distribution is due to continuing secondary translocation (Chapman et al., 1994a). Natural spread of muntjac may occur at perhaps 1 km per year but actual rates including escapes from captive collections or deliberate releases may be nearer 2.4 km per year (Chapman et al., 1994a).
Pathway CausesTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
Negative impacts occur from localized damage to arable crops, soft fruit nurseries or other horticulture. At present muntjac within the UK are not widely implicated in agricultural damage but they may cause local problems in horticulture (Putman and Moore, 1998) or in gardens (Chapman et al., 1994b). Damage to forestry is also localized though muntjac may seriously compromise establishment through damage to naturally regenerating or planted saplings, and may cause significant (though again localized) damage to coppice regrowth through browsing and stem breakage (Tabor, 1993; Cooke, 1994, 1998, 2006; Cooke and Farrell, 2001).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
There is considerable niche overlap between muntjac and roe deer, so there may be competition in winter; correlational data (with declines in density of roe correlated with increases in muntjac density) suggest muntjac may displace roe from areas of sympatry (Forde, 1989; Wray, 1994; Hemami et al., 2005).
Chapman (2008) notes that impacts in conservation woodland can be serious where muntjac densities are high (Cooke, 2004) with direct effects noted on woody vegetation (Tabor, 1993; Cooke and Farrell, 1995, 2001; Cooke, 2005) and ground flora (Cooke, 1994, 1997, 2006; Diaz and Burton, 1996; Tabor, 1999).
Rackham (1975) and Tabor (1993) highlight damage to woodland ground flora (especially to oxslip Primula elatior) which they attribute to high grazing and browsing pressure from fallow deer and muntjac. Cooke has also reported comprehensively on the effects of muntjac at high densities on other elements of the ground flora (primroses, Primula vulgaris; bluebells, Hyacynthoides non-scripta; dog’s mercury, Mercurialis perennis; and common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii), within Monk’s Wood National Nature Reserve in Cambridgeshire (summarized for example in Cooke, 1994, 1995, 2005, 2006) although these heavy impacts were recorded at extremely high population levels, and the extent to which they impacts are more widely representative is uncertain.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts forestry
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
While muntjac were established in the UK largely as a novelty, they are now regularly hunted, and most of the subsequent secondary translocations were motivated by a wish to expand the distribution of a new potential quarry species. Introduction to Honshu (Japan) was specifically for hunting. In practice, however, most hunting is recreational and this is not a species of great positive economic benefit.
Uses ListTop of page
- Botanical garden/zoo
- Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Detection of muntjac is however somewhat difficult because of their rather secretive habit and preference for dense, concealing habitats. Often it does not become obvious that they are present within an area until they have already reached a high density.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
As a genus, muntjacs are quite conservative and most species are rather similar. Muntjac are also of similar size and habit to Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis) and European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) with which they occur in the UK.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
However, where establishment of populations is comparatively recent and populations are still small and localized, there probably remains a potential for local eradication of individual population nuclei before further expansion. The problem with this as an approach to containment would appear to be, in many cases, a lack of willingness, since muntjac are often valued as an interesting quarry and thus hunters are actively keen to see their wider establishment.
ReferencesTop of page
Carden RF; Carlin CM; Marnell F; McElholm D; Hetherington J; Gammell MP, 2011. Distribution and range expansion of deer in Ireland. Mammal Review 41 (4): 313-325. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2907.2010.00170.x.
Chapman N; Harris S; Stanford A, 1994. Reeves' Muntjac Muntiacus reevesi in Britain: their history, spread, habitat selection, and the role of human intervention in accelerating their dispersal. Mammal Review, 24(3):113-160.
Chapman NG; Claydon K; Claydon M; Forde PG; Harris S, 1993. Sympatric populations of muntjac and roe deer: a comparative analysis of their ranging behaviour, social organisation and activity. Journal of Zoology, 229:623-640.
Cooke AS, 1994. Colonisation by muntjac deer Muntiacus reevesi and their impact on vegetation. In: Monks Wood National Nature Reserve. The experience of 40 years 1953-93 [ed. by Massey ME, Welch RC] Peterborough, UK: Natural England, 45-61.
Cooke AS, 2004. Muntjac and conservation woodland. In: Managing woodlands and their mammals: proceedings of a joint Mammal Society/Forestry Commission Symposium [ed. by Quine CP, Shore RF, Trout RC] Edinburgh, UK: Forestry Commission, 65-69.
Cooke AS, 2005. Muntjac deer Muntiacus reevesi in Monks Wood NNR: their management and changing impact. In: Ten years of change: woodland research at Monks Wood NNR, 1993-2003 [ed. by Gardiner C, Sparks T], 65-74. [English Nature Research Report 613.]
Cooke AS; Farrell L, 1995. Establishment and impact of muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) on two national nature reserves. In: Muntjac Deer. Their Biology, Impact and Management in Britain [ed. by Mayle BA] Edinburgh, UK: Forestry Commission, 48-62.
Dubost G, 1971. Ethological observations on Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak Zimmermann 1789 and M.reevesi Ogilby 1839) in captivity and semi-liberty. (Observations éthologiques sur le Muntjak (Muntiacus muntjak Zimmermann 1789 et M.reevesi Ogilby 1839) en captivité et semi-liberté. 28:387-427) Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 28:387-427.
Hemami MR; Watkinson AR; Dolman PM, 2005. Population densities and habitat associations of introduced muntjac Muntiacus reevesi and native roe deer Capreolus capreolus in a lowland pine forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 215(1/3):224-238.
Hofmann RR, 1985. Digestive physiology of the deer - their morphophysiological specialisation and adaptation. ([Review].) In: Biology of deer production. Proceedings of an International Conference held at Dunedin, New Zealand, 13-18 February 1983 [ed. by Fennessy PF, Drew KR] Wellington, New Zealand, 393-407.
Putman RJ; Watson P, 2009. Developing an impact assessment methodology for use beyond the site scale: a report for the National Trust. UK: The National Trust, 33 pp. [Deer Initiative Research Report 09/01.] http://www.thedeerinitiative.co.uk/pdf/NT-impact-assessments%20100809.pdf
Staines B; Palmer SCF; Wyllie I; Gill R; Mayle B, 1998. Desk and limited field studies to analyse the major factors influencing regional deer populations and ranging behaviour. Desk and limited field studies to analyse the major factors influencing regional deer populations and ranging behaviour. London, UK: Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food. [MAFF Contract report VC 0314.]
Symonds R, 1985. A comparison of the food preferences of fallow deer (Dama dama) and muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) in Hayley Wood SSSI, Cambridgeshire: with special reference to the effects of browsing on coppice regrowth. British Ecological Society Bulletin, 16:97-98.
Ward AI; Lees K, 2011. Analysis of cost of preventing establishment in Scotland of muntjac deer (Muntiacus spp.). Inverness, UK: Scottish Natural Heritage, vi + 30 pp. [Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.457.]
ContributorsTop of page
09/07/09 Original text by:
Rory Putman, Consultant, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
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