1) General Zoological Data
The pudu, a South American deer, is the smallest deer and, because of its similarity to brocket deer, these two species have sometimes been grouped together. There are some significant bony differences, however, that led to their separation (Groves & Grubb, 1987). The longevity of pudus is maximally 15 years 9 months according to Jones (1993); more often they die at a younger age. The name pudu is said to derive from Mapuche, people in southern Chile (Gotch, 1979). The designations Pudu pudu and Pudu puda are interchangeable and there is debate as to which is more correct. There are two species, Pudu mephistophiles and P. pudu according to the detailed taxonomic considerations of Hershkovitz (1982). The former species is darker, smaller and may be more primitive. It is from the Northwest of South America; the latter species is from Chile and both are severely endangered. Both have rudimentary antlers in males only and only the Southern pudu fawn is spotted. The maximum weight recorded is 13.4 kg; most are smaller (6-11 kg).
A number of zoos have bred the Southern pudu successfully and those institutions are listed by Hershkovitz (1982). The Northern species, however, is said to be more difficult to maintain. A successful colony exists at the Wild Animal Park of the Zoological Society of San Diego. The recent publication by Schurer & Sliwa (2002) takes issue with the species name and explains in considerable detail how the name was derived. Accordingly, we now prefer to name this Southern pudu Pudu pudu.
General Gestational Data
Hershkovitz (1982), in his extensive review of all known characters of pudu, reported that pudus have a gestational length of 7 months (around 202-223 days) and that the single newborns weigh 35-37 oz. He also listed the weight of 370 g for an animal born in the Cologne Zoo, but Hick (1967/8; 1969) described the successful raising of a 1,000 g neonate at Cologne. A second birth resulted in a much smaller neonate. The male neonate that we observed weighed 700 g but died on its second day of life of "maternal neglect". Macnamara & Eldridge (1987) provided an overview of the reproduction in pudus and brocket deer. The birth of occasional twins, in both species, has been reported by some authors.
The recent publication by Schurer & Sliwa (2002) provides much more information and more accurate data on this species than has been available in the past. The average length of gestation observed was 210 days; the average weight (of 55 newborn animals) was 890 g, the female usually being as heavy as the males. Offspring below 600 g did not survive, nor did those weighing more than 1000 g. In addition, these authors provide information on seasonality, reproductive age and longevity.
General Characterization of the Placenta
Details of fetal/maternal barrier
Unfortunately, the first placenta was significantly degenerated due to autolysis. Nevertheless, some trophoblast was sufficiently intact to identify the large number of binucleate cells. The trophoblast is single-layered, cuboidal and cylindrical in other regions. The stroma was edematous, as is often the case in the placentas that I receive. No maternal tissue was present. The second placenta was slightly better preserved and had pronounced binucleate cells but no yellow “hemophagous” trophoblastic areas under the chorion. Some villi are somewhat edematous again from autolysis.
The umbilical cord was 8 cm long and 1 cm in width. It contained 4 vessels and an allantoic duct. The relatively small duct is shown next at the arrow. The cord was not spiraled. The umbilical cord of the second specimen was similar but only 6 cm long. The second placenta's umbilical cord had numerous patches of keratinizing squamous metaplasia on the surface.
This has not been studied.
Trophoblast external to barrier
Although no implanted placenta has been observed, judging from what is known of other cervidae, it is unlikely that trophoblast invasion of the endometrium occurs.
The only data known to me are the results of the pox infection reported by Junge et al. (2000). They reported the development of neutralizing antibodies following infection.
No detailed studies are known to me.
18) Other remarks - What additional Information is needed?
Berrios, S. Ayarza, E., Moreno, M. Paulos, A. and Fernandez-Donoso, R.: Non-random distribution of the pericentromeric heterochromatin in meiotic prophase nuclei of mammalian spermatocytes. Genetica 106:187-195, 1999.
Bubenik, G.A., Reyes, E., Schams, D., Lobos, A., Bartos, L. and Koerner, F.: Effect of antiandrogen cyproterone acetate on the development of the antler cycle in Southern pudu (Pudu puda). J. Exp. Zool. 292:393-401, 2002.
Gotch, A.F.: Mammals - Their Latin Names Explained. Blandford Press, Poole, Dorset, 1979.
Groves, C.P. and Grubb, P.: Relationships of living deer. Pp. 21-59, in Biology and Management of the Cervidae. C.M. Wemmer, ed. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC 1987.
Hamilton, W.J., Harrison, R.J. and Young, B.A.: Aspects of placentation in certain cervidae. J. Anat. 94:1-23, 1960.
P.: Neotropical Deer (Cervidae). Part I. Pudus, Genus Pudu Gray.
Fieldiana. Zoology. New Series # 11, pp. 86, 1982.
Hick, U.: Successful raising of a pudu Pudu pudu at Cologne Zoo. Int. Zoo Yearbk. 9:110-112, 1969.
Jones, M.L.: Longevity of ungulates in captivity. Int. Zoo Yearbk. 32:159-169, 1993.
Junge, R.E., Duncan, M.C., Miller, R.E., Gregg, D. and Kombert, M.: Clinical presentation and antiviral therapy for poxvirus infection in pudu (Pudu puda). J. Zoo Wild. Med. 31:412-418, 2000.
Kohls, G.M.: Ixodes taglei n. Sp. (Acarina: Ixodidae) a parasite of the deer, Pudu pudu (Wol.), in Chile. J. Med. Entomol. 6:280-283, 1969.
Koulisher, L., Tyskens, J. and Mortelmans, J.: Mammalian Cytogenetics. VII. The chromosomes of Cervus canadensis, Elaphurus davidianus, Cervus nippon (Temminck) and Pudu pudu. Acta Zool. Pathol. Antverp. 56:25-30, 1972.
Macnamara, M. and Eldridge, W.: Behavior and reproduction in captive pudu (Pudu puda) and red brocket (Mazama americana), a descriptive and comparative analysis. In, Biology and Management of the Cervidae, C.M. Wemmer, ed. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1987.
Petit, P. and de Meurichy, W.: On the banding patterns of the chromosomes of the Pudu pudu (Pudu). Ann. Genet. 32:141, 143, 1989.
Reyes, E., Munoz, P., Recabarren, S., Torres, P. and Bubenik, G.A.: Seasonal variation of LH and testosterone in the smallest deer, the pudu (Pudu puda molina) and its relationship to the antler cycle. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Comp. Physiol. 106:683-685, 1993.
A. and Dmoch, R.: Chromosomes of two rare species of neotropical mammals:
Southern pudu (Pudu puda) and Bush dog (Speothos venaticus).
Z. Säugetierk. 59:317-320, 1994.
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