Brokx, Peter A.J (1972). A Study of the Biology of Venezuelan White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus gymnotis Wiegmann, 1833). With a Hypothesis on the Origin of South American Cervids.
Abstract. The thesis concerns the biology of Venezuelan white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus gymnotis Wiegmann, 1833). The phylogenetic position of this race is considered in terms of the analysis of skulls and skins, histological analysis of reproductive tracts, and field observations.
The literature on South American deer is reviewed. Weights and measurements of gymnotis are analysed.
O.v. gymnotis is a small deer; adult bucks average less than 50 kg and adult does weigh less than 40 kg. Weight and measurement relationships appear to be about the same as in North American races. With the exceptions that gymnotis has relatively short tail and a long third –upper molar. Metatarsal glands are lacking, but the deer have a small metatarsal tuft.
O.v. gymnotis displays a moult into two distinct pelages- a red coat and a brown coat. The moult is correlated with physiological condition. Antlers are shed annually: contrary to earlier reports. Only bucks with polished antlers are capable of reproduction. Antler casting occurs mainly during the second part of the year, during the wet season. Does are polyestrus; they experience estrus within about a month following parturition. Lactation does not interfere with ovulation. Normally, one fawn is carried. Parturition can occur at any time of the year, but it happens most often during the wet season. There appears to be synchronization in physiological condition that is correlated with age. this is shown to be significant is comparisons between all older (adult) deer and all younger (adult) deer. But larger samples are needed to determine if there are additional differences in the timing of certain physiological events among age groups of older deer, as the sample indicates.
Deer live large cattle ranches. The population density varies from property to property. High densities in certain areas indicate that, even in the presence of overgrazing by livestock, densities could be much higher (4-8 deer/km²) that they are at the present. Hunting is the limiting factor. There is no deer management on the part of the Government or by individual landowners, and an effective system of law enforcement is lacking.
The phylogeny of the cervids is reviewed. Scuth American White-tailed deer are relatively unspecialized. Other Neocervinae might be considered as subgenera of Odocoileus, as Lydekker (1898) did, with Rangifer and Pudu (Pudella) being too specialized to be included in this group.