How do you distinguish an Indian Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) from a Chinese muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi)?

Hi Bryan, sorry there hasn't been a response to your post, I'll endeavour an answer now.

The Chinese and Indian muntjacs are very similar in appearance. The most easily identified difference between them is where they come from. Chinese muntjac are endemic to Taiwan and south east China, although they have breeding populations in England established by escapees from Country Houses and parks. Indian muntjac are widespread throughout South Asia.

The Indian muntjac is also known as the Red muntjac, and it is more reddish/orange than the Chinese muntjac - but not enough to be easily distinguished.

The Chinese muntjac type description is by Ogilby in Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1838:105 [1839]. This should state the differences. I'm afraid I cannot get easy access to this reference, but someone else might be able to check it out.

Distinguishing muntjac species is often very difficult, and indeed contovery persists as to whether certain populations really are separate species or not (indeed, M. muntjak itself might be two species rather than one). Anyway, Chinese and Indian muntjacs are both among the large-antlered group of muntjac species, both have similar chromosomes, and can hybridise. M. reevesi is smaller than M. muntjak, sometimes by as much as a third (M. reevesi may weigh 11-14 kg; M. muntjak can weigh 15-35 kg), and M. muntjak is darker and with longer antlers (9-13 cm vs 6-8 cm). M. reevesi tends to have a reddish patch on its forehead and is often whiter under the chin and throat. The contrast between the dark legs and nape stripe in M. reevesi tends to be more marked in this species than that in M. muntjak. I'm not sure if I can distinguish the two species.

Last edited by Darren Naish (17th Feb 2008 21:20:20)