Elaphodus cephalophus cephalophus
Family: Cervidae (Muntiacinae)
1) General Zoological Data
This is the only member of the genus Elaphodus, a species from Southern China and Burma. It closely resembles the muntjacs in many ways according to Nowak (1999) and other authorities. Elaphodus is contained in the subfamily muntiacinae and three subspecies are recognized (Dolan, 1986). It is one of the most primitive antlered deer. In contrast to muntjacs though, this species lacks the prominent frontal bony ridge. Otherwise, these two species are very similar. Only males carry antlers, in both species. They are smaller in tufted deer although the animals are slightly larger than muntjacs. Their canines are also smaller.
Tufted deer are said to have originated in the Miocene (Dolan, 1971); they separated from muntjacs about 3.4 MYA according to the study of mtDNA by Lan & Shi (1993). Both sexes also bark and are still actively hunted despite their dwindling numbers. Their maintenance in captivity has been described by Schwenn (1988). Adults weigh 17-50 kg and have a single young. These animals are rarely seen in zoos, but the San Diego Zoo has had an active reproductive colony since 1985. The placenta shown here was retrieved from a singleton gestation at term. The longevity of tufted deer is over 12 years in captivity (Jones, 1993).
General Gestational Data
The length of gestation is 210 days and the animals usually produce a single young according to Helin & Houji (1982).
General Characterization of the Placenta
Details of fetal/maternal barrier
The villous structure and general appearance is very much the same as that found in other deer (see chapter on deer). The villi are covered by a single layer of cuboidal epithelium and there are scattered binucleate trophoblastic cells as in other deer. Occasional trophoblastic cells on the villous surface contain a yellow pigment, but the large among of pigment found beneath the chorionic plate in other Artiodactyla is absent. On must assume that the tufted deer have an epithelio-chorial placenta and that the villi were dislodged from the caruncular interstices during detachment of the placenta. No implanted placenta has yet been available.
This specimen's umbilical cord measured 20 cm x 2 cm and was not spiraled. It contained four blood vessels. Approximately 5 cm from the insertion site, between the two cotyledons, the membranes of the allantoic sac meet the amnionic sac. A pair of blood vessels supplies each cotyledon. In the center of the cord is a large allantoic duct that is surrounded by capillaries. Other smaller vessels surround the large arteries and some of the smaller vessels have a musculature. The surface has no areas of squamous metaplasia. The epithelium of the allantoic duct is urothelial.
This is completely unknown.
Trophoblast external to barrier
18) Other remarks - What additional Information is needed?
Dolan, J.F. Jr.: China's tufted deer. Zoonooz (San Diego) 59:12, 1986.
Helin, S. and Houji, L.: Distribution, habits and resource status of the tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus). Acta Zool. Sinica 28:307-311, 1982.
Jones, M.L.: Longevity of ungulates in captivity. Intern. Zoo Yearbk. 32:159-169, 1993.
Lan, H. and Shi, L.: Restriction endonuclease analysis of mitochondrial DNA of muntjacs and related deer. In, Deer of China, pp. 126-134. N. Ohtaishi and H.I Sheng, eds. Elsevier Science Publishers, 1993.
Nowak, R.M.: Walker's Mammals of the World. 6th ed. The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1999.
Schwenn, C.: Management and behavior of Western Tufted Deer () at the San Diego Zoo. Animal Keepers Forum 15:475-482, 1988.
Shi, L., Yang, F. and Kumamoto, A.: The chromosomes of tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus). Cytogenet. Cell Genet. 56:189-192, 1991.
Wang, Z. and Quan, G.: Karyotype of Elaphodus cephalophus. Zool. Res. 5:78, 1984. (In Chinese).
Zhang, X., Wang, J. and Chen, Y.: Somatic chromosome studies of the tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus). Zool. Res. 4:89-93, 1984. (In Chinese).
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