European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 14–22 | Cite as

The genus Cervus in eastern Eurasia

  • Colin GrovesEmail author


In 2004, Christian Pitra and co-workers published the first molecular phylogeny of Old World deer which advanced our understanding of the Cervinae immeasurably by demonstrating the non-monophyletic status of the red deer/wapiti group, the chital/hog deer group and the swamp deer/Eld's deer group. Therefore, many conspicuous external features—antler complexity, mane and rump-patch development—turned out to be related not to phylogeny as much as to climatic-related lifestyle factors. At a lower level, molecular genetics has reinforced some conclusions drawn on the basis of morphology or behaviour. Striking examples are the divisions between mainland and Japanese sika and between northern and southern forms of Japanese sika. In this paper, I will look at the species living in what Pitra et al. (Evolution and phylogeny of old world deer. Mol Phylogenet Evol 33:880–895, 2004) identified as the heartland of cervine evolution: eastern Eurasia. I will consider the two species groups in this region that seem to crystallize both the problems of cervine classification and the ways in which the new sources of evidence have opened up new avenues of inquiry.


Deer Molecular phylogeny Morphology Sika 



This paper is dedicated to Professor Christian Pitra on the occasion of his 65th birthday, 29 April 2005.


  1. Allen GM (1940) Mammals of China and Mongolia, vol 2. American Museum of Natural History, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Balakrishnan CN, Montfort SL, Gaur A, Singh L, Sorenson MD (2003) Phylogeography and conservation genetics of Eld's deer (Cervus eldi). Mol Ecol 12:1–10PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Banwell DB (1999) The Sika. Halcyon, AucklandGoogle Scholar
  4. Braun A, Groves CP, Grubb P, Yang QS, Xia L (2001) Catalogue of the Musée Heude collection of mammal skulls. Acta Zootaxon Sin 26:608–660Google Scholar
  5. Brooke V (1878) On the classification of the Cervidae, with a synopsis of the existing species. Proc Zool Soc Lond 1878:883–928Google Scholar
  6. Cook CE, Wang Y, Sensabaugh G (1999) A mitochondrial control region and cytochrome b phylogeny of sika deer (Cervus nippon) and report of tandem repeats in the control region. Mol Phylogenet Evol 12:47–56PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dao VT (1985) Scientific results of some mammal surveys in North Vietnam (1957–1971). Scientific and Technical Publishing House, Hanoi (in Vietnamese)Google Scholar
  8. Dobroruka L (1959) Formosa-sika, Cervus nippon taiouanus Blyth, 1860. Säugetierkundl Mitt 7:172Google Scholar
  9. Dobroruka L (1960) Über Cervus nippon mantchuricus Swinhoe, 1864. Zoologischer Anzeiger 165:70–74Google Scholar
  10. Dolan JM (1988) A deer of many lands: a guide to the subspecies of the red deer Cervus elaphus L. Zoonooz 62(10):4–34Google Scholar
  11. Dolan JM, Killmar LE (1988) The shou, Cervus elaphus wallichi Cuvier, 1825, a rare and little-known cervid, with remarks on three additional Asiatic elaphines. Zool Gart NF 58:84–96Google Scholar
  12. Ellerman JR, Morrison-Scott TCS (1951) Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian mammals 1758 to 1946. Trustees of the British Museum, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Engelmann C (1938) Über die Grosssäuger Szetschwans, Sikongs und Osttibets. Z Säugetierkd 13:1–76Google Scholar
  14. Flerov KK (1952) Fauna of USSR. Mammals, vol 1, no 2. Musk deer and deer. Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow (Translation: 1980, Israel Program for Scientific Translations. National Science Foundation and Smithsonian Institution, Washington)Google Scholar
  15. Geist V (1998) Deer of the world: their evolution, behaviour, and ecology. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PAGoogle Scholar
  16. Goodman M, Porter CA, Czelusniak J, Page SL, Schneider H, Shoshani J, Gunnell G, Groves CP (1998) Toward a phylogenetic classification of Primates based on DNA evidence complemented by fossil evidence. Mol Phylogenet Evol 9:585–598PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goodman SJ, Tamate HB, Wilson R, Nagata J, Tatsuzawa S, Swanson GM, Pemberton JM, McCullough DR (2001) Bottlenecks, drift and differentiation: the population structure and demographic history of sika deer (Cervus nippon) in the Japanese archipelago. Mol Biol 10:1357–1370Google Scholar
  18. Groves CP, Grubb P (1987) Relationships of living deer. In: Wemmer CM, (ed) Biology and management of the Cervidae. Research symposia of the National Zoological Park. Smithsonian Institution, Washingon, DC, USA, pp 21–80Google Scholar
  19. Groves CP, Smeenk C (1978) On the type material of Cervus nippon Temminck, 1836; with a revision of sika deer from the main Japanese islands. Zool Meded Leiden 53:11–28Google Scholar
  20. Guo Z, Chen E, Wang Y (1978) A new subspecies of sika deer from Sichuan—Cervus nippon sichuanicus subsp. nov. Acta Zool Sin 24:187–192Google Scholar
  21. Heptner VG, Nasimovich AA, Bannikov AG (1961) Mammals of the Soviet Union, vol 1. Artiodactyla and Perissodactyla (Translation: 1998, Smithsonian Institution and National Science Foundation, Washington)Google Scholar
  22. Heude PM (1884) Catalogue des Cerfs Tachetées (Sikas) du Musée de Zi-ka-wei, ou Notes Préparatoires à la Monographie de ce Groupe. Shanghai Musée de Zi-ka-weiGoogle Scholar
  23. Hodgson BH (1841) Notes on the Cervus elaphus (?) of the Sal Forest of Nepal. Hodie, C. Affinis, nob. J R Asiat Soc Bengal Sci 10:721–724Google Scholar
  24. Imaizumi Y (1960) Coloured illustrations of the mammals of Japan (in Japanese). Osaka Hoikusha Publishing Co. Ltd., JapanGoogle Scholar
  25. Imaizumi Y (1970) Description of a new species of Cervus from the Tsushima Islands, Japan, with a revision of the subgenus Sika based on clinical analysis. Bull Nat Sci Mus Tokyo 13:185–193Google Scholar
  26. Liu XH, Wang YQ, Liu ZQ, Zu KY (2003) Phylogenetic relationships of Cervinae based on sequence of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Zool Res 1:27–33Google Scholar
  27. Ludt CJ, Schroder W, Rottmann O, Kuehn R (2004) Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography of red deer (Cervus elaphus). Mol Phylogenet Evol 31:1064–1083PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lydekker R (1909) On a new race of deer from Sze-chuan. Proc Zool Soc Lond 1909:533–540Google Scholar
  29. Lydekker R (1915) Catalogue of the ungulate mammals in the British Museum (Natural History), vol IV. Artiodactyla, Families Cervidae (Deer), Tragulidae (Chevrotains), Camelidae (Camels and Llamas), Suidae (Pigs and Peccaries), and Hippopotamidae (Hippopotamuses). British Museum Trustees, LondonGoogle Scholar
  30. Matsumoto M, Nishinakagawa H, Otsuka J (1984) Morphometrical study on the skull of Cervus pulchellus, Cervus nippon mageshimae and Cervus nippon yakushimae. J Mammal Soc Japan 10:41–52Google Scholar
  31. Meijaard E, Groves CP (2004) Morphometrical relationships between South-east Asian deer (Cervidae, tribe Cervini): evolutionary and biogeographic implications. J Zool Lond 263:179–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nagata J, Masuda R, Tamata HB, Hamasaki SI, Ochiai K, Asada M, Tatsuzawa S, Suda K, Tado H, Yoshida MC (1999) Two genetically distinct lineages of the sika deer, Cervus nippon, in Japanese islands: comparison of mitochondrial D-loop region sequences. Mol Phylogenet Evol 13:511–519PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pitra C, Fickel J, Meijaard E, Groves CP (2004) Evolution and phylogeny of old world deer. Mol Phylogenet Evol 33:880–895PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pocock RI (1912) On a rare stag (Cervus wallichii) from Nepal recently presented to the Zoological Society by His Majesty King George. Proc Zool Soc Lond: 558–575Google Scholar
  35. Pocock RI (1943) The larger deer of British India. Part II. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 43:553–572Google Scholar
  36. Polziehn RO, Strobeck C (2002) A phylogenetic comparison of red deer and wapiti using mitochondrial DNA. Mol Phylogenet Evol 22:342–356PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Randi E, Mucci N, Claro-Hergueta F, Bonnet A, Douzery EJP (2001) A mitochondrial DNA control region phylogeny of the Cervinae: speciation in Cervus and implications for conservation. Anim Conserv 4:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Thomas O (1918) The nomenclature of the geographical forms of the Panolia deer (Rucervus eldi and its relatives). J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 25:363–367Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Archaeology and Anthropology Building 14Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations