Marsh Deer Blastocerus dichotomus
Marsh  Deer, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil

Members of the deer family spread from their original heartlands in Europe and Asia to North America in the early Miocene epoch (about 20 million years ago) and spread into South America in the late Pliocene epoch (about 3 million years ago).

Marsh  Deer, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image On reaching the tropics, they adapted to the climate in a variety of ways and there is much less seasonality here in terms of rutting, breeding and the loss of antlers.

The Marsh Deer is the largest South American deer and, apart from its size, it is noticeable for its rufous chestnut colouring, its large ears with white on the inside and its long, dark legs.

Marsh  Deer, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image

As its name implies, it is found only in marshy areas and prefers water about half a metre deep. To help it graze in the marshes, its hooves can spread to 10cms across.

There is an illustration in Eisenberg, Plate 19 and some more on-line information at the University of Michigan site.

Marsh  Deer, Brazil, Sept 2000 - click for larger image

 

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