Forest

Habitats

Forest

  • 1.1. Boreal
  • 1.2. Subarctic
  • 1.3. Subantarctic
  • 1.4. Temperate
  • 1.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 1.6. Subtropical/tropical moist lowland
  • 1.7. Subtropical/tropical mangrove vegetation above high tide level
  • 1.8. Subtropical/tropical swamp
  • 1.9. Subtropical/tropical moist montane

 

Forest Animals

North America

Continents

North America

 

North American Animals

Savanna

Habitats

Savanna

  • 2.1. Dry
  • 2.2. Moist

 

Savanna Animals

Europe

Continents

Europe

 

European Animals

Asia

Continents

Asia

 

Asian Animals

Shrubland

Habitats

Shrubland

  • 3.1. Subarctic
  • 3.2. Subantarctic
  • 3.3. Boreal
  • 3.4. Temperate
  • 3.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 3.6. Subtropical/tropical moist
  • 3.7. Subtropical/tropical high altitude
  • 3.8. Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation

 

Shrubland Animals

Grassland

Habitats

Grassland

  • 4.1. Tundra
  • 4.2. Subarctic
  • 4.3. Subantarctic
  • 4.4. Temperate
  • 4.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 4.6. Subtropical/tropical seasonally wet/flooded
  • 4.7. Subtropical/tropical high altitude

 

Grassland Animals

South America

Continents

South America

 

South American Animals

Wetlands

Habitats

Wetlands (Inland)

  • 5.1. Permanent rivers/streams/creeks (includes waterfalls)
  • 5.2. Seasonal/intermittent/irregular rivers/streams/creeks
  • 5.3. Shrub dominated wetlands
  • 5.4. Bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, peatlands
  • 5.5. Permanent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha)
  • 5.6. Seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha)
  • 5.7. Permanent freshwater marshes/pools (under 8 ha)
  • 5.8. Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools (under 8 ha)
  • 5.9. Freshwater springs and oases
  • 5.10. Tundra wetlands (inc. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt)
  • 5.11. Alpine wetlands (inc. temporary waters from snowmelt)
  • 5.12. Geothermal wetlands
  • 5.13. Permanent inland deltas
  • 5.14. Permanent saline, brackish or alkaline lakes
  • 5.15. Seasonal/intermittent saline, brackish or alkaline lakes and flats
  • 5.16. Permanent saline, brackish or alkaline marshes/pools
  • 5.17. Seasonal/intermittent saline, brackish or alkaline marshes/pools
  • 5.18. Karst and other subterranean hydrological systems (inland)

 

Wetland Animals

Africa

Continents

Africa

 

African Animals

Rocky

Habitats

Rocky

  • Inland Cliffs
  • Mountain Peaks

 

Rocky Area Animals

Australia

Continents

Australia

 

Australian Animals

Antarctica

Continents

Antarctica

 

Antarctic Animals

Caves & Subterranean

Habitats

Caves & Subterranean (Non-Aquatic)

  • 7.1. Caves
  • 7.2. Other subterranean habitats

 

Caves & Subterranean Animals

Desert

Habitats

Desert

  • 8.1. Hot
  • 8.2. Temperate
  • 8.3. Cold

 

Desert Animals

Marine Neritic

Habitats

Marine Neritic

  • 9.1. Pelagic
  • 9.2. Subtidal rock and rocky reefs
  • 9.3. Subtidal loose rock/pebble/gravel
  • 9.4. Subtidal sandy
  • 9.5. Subtidal sandy-mud
  • 9.6. Subtidal muddy
  • 9.7. Macroalgal/kelp
  • 9.8. Coral Reef
    • 9.8.1. Outer reef channel
    • 9.8.2. Back slope
    • 9.8.3. Foreslope (outer reef slope)
    • 9.8.4. Lagoon
    • 9.8.5. Inter-reef soft substrate
    • 9.8.6. Inter-reef rubble substrate
  • 9.9 Seagrass (Submerged)
  • 9.10 Estuaries

 

Marine Neritic Animals

Marine Oceanic

Habitats

Marine Oceanic

  • 10.1 Epipelagic (0–200 m)
  • 10.2 Mesopelagic (200–1,000 m)
  • 10.3 Bathypelagic (1,000–4,000 m)
  • 10.4 Abyssopelagic (4,000–6,000 m)

 

Marine Oceanic Animals

Marine Deep Ocean Floor

Habitats

Marine Deep Ocean Floor (Benthic and Demersal)

  • 11.1 Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200–4,000 m)
    • 11.1.1 Hard Substrate
    • 11.1.2 Soft Substrate
  • 11.2 Abyssal Plain (4,000–6,000 m)
  • 11.3 Abyssal Mountain/Hills (4,000–6,000 m)
  • 11.4 Hadal/Deep Sea Trench (>6,000 m)
  • 11.5 Seamount
  • 11.6 Deep Sea Vents (Rifts/Seeps)

 

Marine Deep Ocean Floor Animals

Marine Intertidal

Habitats

Marine Intertidal

  • 12.1 Rocky Shoreline
  • 12.2 Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, etc.
  • 12.3 Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
  • 12.4 Mud Shoreline and Intertidal Mud Flats
  • 12.5 Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses)
  • 12.6 Tidepools
  • 12.7 Mangrove Submerged Roots

 

Marine Intertidal Animals

Marine Coastal/Supratidal

Habitats

Marine Coastal/Supratidal

  • 13.1 Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands
  • 13.2 Coastal Caves/Karst
  • 13.3 Coastal Sand Dunes
  • 13.4 Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes
  • 13.5 Coastal Freshwater Lakes

 

Marine Coastal/Supratidal Animals

Artificial Terrestrial

Habitats

Artificial – Terrestrial

  • 14.1 Arable Land
  • 14.2 Pastureland
  • 14.3 Plantations
  • 14.4 Rural Gardens
  • 14.5 Urban Areas
  • 14.6 Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest

 

Artificial Terrestrial Animals

Artificial Aquatic

Habitats

Artificial – Aquatic

  • 15.1 Water Storage Areas [over 8 ha]
  • 15.2 Ponds [below 8 ha]
  • 15.3 Aquaculture Ponds
  • 15.4 Salt Exploitation Sites
  • 15.5 Excavations (open)
  • 15.6 Wastewater Treatment Areas
  • 15.7 Irrigated Land [includes irrigation channels]
  • 15.8 Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land
  • 15.9 Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
  • 15.10 Karst and Other Subterranean Hydrological Systems [human-made]
  • 15.11 Marine Anthropogenic Structures
  • 15.12 Mariculture Cages
  • 15.13 Mari/Brackish-culture Pond

 

Artificial Aquatic
Habitats

Introduced Vegetation

 

Introduced Vegetation Animals

Other

Other

 

Other Habitat Animals

Unknown

Unknown

 

Unknown Habitat Animals

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Livingstone's Flying Fox

Livingstone’s flying foxes breed from January-June and give birth to a single young in July-October after a gestation of 4-6 months.

The breeding season for the Livingstone’s flying fox is from January through June.

Gestation lasts 4 to 6 months, after which a single young is born between July and October.


Image | © Aardwolf6886, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Hutchins, Kleiman, & Geist, 2003)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Global climate change could negatively affect the availability of suitable roosting habitat for the Livingstone’s flying fox.

The mean surface temperature of the Comoros is thought to have increased about 1° Celsius since 1900 and is expected to increase by 1-3° Celsius more by 2100 due to global climate change.

It is unclear whether or how such changes will affect the Livingstone’s flying fox, but since thermal characteristics are important components of roost suitability for this and other Pteropus species, predicted temperature increases could negatively affect the availability of suitable roosting habitat.


Image | © Ben J Charles (CharlieJB), All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Granek, 2002; Pierson & Rainey, 1992; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Stocker, et al., 2013)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

There is no information on the Livingstone’s flying fox’s home range, but it’s known to be non-migratory.

There is no available information on the home range of Livingstone’s flying foxes, but it is known that they do not migrate.


Image | © M Jean Marie PARIS, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Hutchins, Kleiman, & Geist, 2003)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Livingstone’s flying foxes prefer to roost and forage in emergent trees, primarily on steep-sided valleys with southeast facing slopes, near ridge tops and in areas generally associated with dense natural vegetation.

The Livingstone’s flying fox roosts and forages primarily in native forests and underplanted forests and avoids areas heavily affected by human disturbance.

They prefer to roost in emergent trees, primarily on steep-sided valleys with southeast facing slopes, near ridge tops and in areas generally associated with dense natural vegetation. Populations of this bat are largely confined to primary tropical moist forest, especially in montane areas.

Specifically, on Anjouan, all the major roosts are restricted to a narrow mid-altitudinal range (600-960 meter above sea level) and are strongly associated with the presence of native and endemic trees, with most of the largest roosts located in dense canopy, old growth forest.

Ficus esperata, Girostpula comoriensis, Gambeya spp., Ficus lutea, and Nuxia pseudodentata are the five most commonly used tree species for roosting.


Image | © Deborah Luffman, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Daniel, et al. 2016; Granek, 2002; Dewey & Long, 2007; Hutchins, Kleiman, & Geist, 2003; Mickleburgh, Hutson, & Racey, 1992; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Sewell, et al., 2007, 2011)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Like other pteropodids, Livingstone’s flying foxes are nocturnal, active in the evening and at night when foraging for fruit.

Like other pteropodids, Livingstone’s flying foxes are nocturnal. They are active in the evening and at night when foraging for fruit.

Females forage at night and return to their young in the maternity roost to nurse them.


Image | © Quaddles, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY 3.0)
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Hutchins, Kleiman, & Geist, 2003)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

There is an active captive-breeding program for the Livingstone’s flying fox that has increased the captive population from 17 to 59 individuals across four different institutions.

There is an active captive-breeding program underway for the Livingstone’s flying fox initiated by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in 1992.

The program began with 17 founder individuals, 7 females and 10 males, captured from the wild on Anjouan during 1992-1995.

The captive population of the bat subsequently expanded at a slower rate than other fruit bat species in captive breeding programs, such as the Rodrigues flying fox (Pteropus rodricensis), at least initially. However, by 2014, the Livingstone’s flying fox captive population had reached 59 individuals, 22 females and 37 males, housed at four institutions: the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, U.K.; Bristol, Clifton; West of England Zoological Society, in Bristol, U.K.; North of England Zoological Society in Chester, U.K.; and Lisieux Cerza in Lisieux, France.


Image | © M Jean Marie PARIS, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Clark, et al., 1997; O’Brien, 2011; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Unlike other bats in the Comoros, the Livingstone’s flying fox is not normally hunted for food, possibly due to cultural taboos or the bat’s inaccessible roosting areas.

There is no evidence that the Livingstone’s flying fox is hunted for food, a key factor affecting other fruit bat species. This may be due in part to cultural taboos among the majority of the population that surround consumption of fruit bats. However, the apparent lack of hunting may also be due in part to the bat’s habit of roosting in inaccessible areas remote from towns.

Some limited hunting of the other two fruit bat species in the Comoros has been occasionally recorded.

It is unclear if the increased access to formerly inaccessible roost areas could expose the bats to any hunting pressure in the future, but any such hunting would likely first affect the flying fox’s congener, the seychelles flying fox (Pteropus seychellensis comorensis), which sometimes roosts and forages in visible locations in or near towns.


Image | © M Jean Marie PARIS, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Mickleburgh, Hutson, & Racey, 1992; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Trewhella, et al., 2005)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Unlike other nocturnal bats, Livingstone’s flying foxes are capable of soaring on air thermals and glide, rather than fly directly.

Unlike other nocturnal bats, Livingstone’s flying foxes are capable of soaring on air thermals.

Because they have very slow wing beats and a relatively slow, flapping flight, Livingstone’s flying foxes often glide and circle in an attempt to gain height, rather than fly directly. They use updrafts of warm air to help extend their gliding distance.

Their wings have a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters (4 feet, 7 inches), an aspect ratio of 6.52, and a wing loading of 25.8 N/m2, and have been estimated to have a turning circle of 11.3 meters (37 feet).


Image | © M Jean Marie PARIS, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Hutchins, Kleiman, & Geist, 2003; Wikipedia, 2018)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

The Livingstone’s flying fox is “Critically Endangered” due to serious population decline and an 80% habitat loss over the past 3 generations, caused by deforestation, construction, and agriculture.

The Livingstone’s flying fox is listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species because of a serious population decline.

The species is suspected to suffer from catastrophic habitat decline caused by the cutting of trees for fuelwood and construction and by conversion of all but the steepest upland areas to agricultural use. This has resulted in extensive declines in the species’ area of occupancy, the extent of its occurrence, and the quality of its habitat.

True population change in the Livingstone’s flying fox is unknown and data on habitat change over time is limited. However, the species qualifies for the Critically Endangered status under the A2c criterion because best estimates indicate habitat loss has exceeded 80% over the past three generations (estimated generation length: 8.1 years/generation), because remaining habitat is increasingly degraded and fragmented, and because declines in the extent and quality of habitat are continuing.

The Livingstone’s flying fox also meets the Endangered threshold under a second criterion, B1. The geographic range is small, such that the current extent of occurrence is estimated to be 1,856 km², less than the Endangered threshold of 5,000 km² under criterion B1. In addition, the habitat is severely fragmented, and there have been clear, continuing, observed declines in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, habitat quality, and number of locations. Declines in the number of mature individuals are also inferred from these declines in habitat. Therefore, this species would also be listed as Endangered under criterion B1ab(i, ii, iii, iv, v).


Image | © Josh More, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Livingstone’s flying foxes are polygynous, but females will mate with more than one male throughout their lifetimes.

Livingstone’s flying foxes are polygynous as males attempt to mate with as many females as they can. Females will, however, mate with more than one male throughout their lifetimes.


Image | © Aardwolf6886, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Hutchins, Kleiman, & Geist, 2003)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

The Livingstone’s flying fox’s black and tawny fur, rounded ears, and red-orange eyes distinguishes it from other pteropodids.

The Livingstone’s flying fox has three features that distinguishes it from most other pteropodids, its black and tawny pelage, semicircular ears, and red-orange eyes.

It has a mostly black pelage with golden or tawny tinges on the rump, sides of the belly, and at times on each shoulder. The amount of golden hair varies between individuals with some having a narrow band of golden fur down the back with others being pure black without any paler hair at all.

The bat’s wings, legs, nose, and large, rounded, unique semicircular ears are black and hairless.

The Livingstone flying fox has large, red-orange eyes and well-developed vision.

These bats weigh from 500 to 800 grams (18-28 ounces), have a wingspan up to 1.5 meters (4 feet, 7 inches), and are about 30 centimeters (12 inches) in body length.

Livingstone’s flying foxes do not exhibit sexual dimorphism.


Image | © Ben J Charles (CharlieJB), All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Emanoil, Edward, Kasinec, 1994; Wikipedia, 2018)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Despite what some may think, the Livingstone’s flying fox is not blind and actually has good vision.

Despite what some may think, the Livingstone’s flying fox is not blind and actually has good vision.


Image | © Ben J Charles (CharlieJB), All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Dechmann & Safi, 2005)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Livingstone’s flying foxes are one of the most endangered bat species, with 400-1,300 remaining individuals, and may become extinct within 10 years.

Livingstone’s flying foxes are one of the most critically endangered bat species, with an estimated population size of 400-1,300 individuals.

True changes in the population size of the Livingstone’s flying fox are currently unknown, and data on habitat change over time is limited but is likely to be linked to changes in forest and underplanted forest habitat.

Repeated simultaneous surveys of all 23 known roosts during 1998-2006 typically recorded about 1,200 bats. Many of these roosts were located as a result of the implementation of a national monitoring program. Surveys have been conducted only sporadically since 2007, so it is unclear whether populations have changed recently. However, a survey conducted with sequential visits to all previously-known roosts in 2011 and 2012 estimated 1,300 bats across 22 roosts (Anjouan: 940 bats at 16 roosts, Mohéli: 360 bats at 6 roosts).

Rapid destruction of the forest habitats the Livingstone’s flying fox rely on indicates these bats may become extinct within 10 years. Best estimates, derived from the little available data on forest loss rates, suggest that habitat decline over the most recent three generation, or 24.3-year period, was 83%. Thus, the best estimate of loss of P. livingstonii habitat exceeds the threshold under the A2 criterion for Critically Endangered status (≥80% loss of population, as suspected by habitat change, over a three-generation period, where habitat loss is ongoing).


Image | © Ben J Charles (CharlieJB), All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Daniel, et al., 2016; Dewey & Long, 2007; Malik, 2013; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Sewall, et al., 2007; Trewhella, et al., 2005)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Like most mammals, Livingstone’s flying foxes often use vocalizations and chemoreception to communicate.

Livingstone’s flying foxes often use vocalizations to communicate.

Like most mammals, chemoreception is important in communicating sexual receptiveness.


Image | © Ben J Charles (CharlieJB), All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Dechmann & Safi, 2005)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Livingstone’s flying foxes are important members of their native ecosystems, helping to disperse fruiting tree species, pollinate plants, and ultimately regenerate forests.

Members of the genus Pteropus are important in the dispersal of seeds in the forests they inhabit. They are often seen as keystone species because they maintain forest regeneration patterns.

As such, Livingstone’s flying foxes are important members of their native ecosystems, helping to disperse fruiting tree species and sometimes pollinate plants.

There are no adverse effects of Comoro black flying foxes on humans.


Image | © Ben J Charles (CharlieJB), All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Hutchins, Kleiman, & Geist, 2003)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

The Livingstone’s flying fox is endemic to the islands of Anjouan and Mohéli of the Union of the Comoros island chain, just off the coast of Africa.

The Livingstone’s flying fox is endemic to the Union of the Comoros island chain, just off the coast of Africa, where it is only found on the islands of Anjouan, also called Nzwani, and Mohéli, also called Mwali.

The Extent of Occurrence is estimated as 1,856 km². This includes unsuitable areas of land and ocean located between patches of suitable habitat.

The total land area of Anjouan and Mohéli is a combined 635 km². However, not all this area is occupied by the Livingstone’s flying fox. The species is found within a combined area on the two islands ranging from 99.1 km² to 462.5 km². These two figures represent the possible range of this species on the two islands it inhabits. This represents a substantial decline over the past five years.

A land cover classification conducted in 2012 using high-resolution satellite imagery and extensive ground-truthing found the combined area of native forest, forest with little trace of human impact and a closed canopy, on both islands was 54.7 km² (29.6 km² in Anjouan; 25.1 km² in Moheli). The combined area of native forest and degraded forest, forest either underplanted with crops, or with localized logging or clearance for fuelwood, on both islands was 143.1 km².

Within the smallest total range on both islands, the area around all known currently occupied long-term roost sites, the Area of Occupancy is estimated to be 65.0 km². Within the largest total range on both islands, the equivalent estimate for Area of Occupancy is 188.4 km². Thus, the estimated total Area of Occupancy for this species is 65.0 – 188.4 km².


Image | © Andrew Thompson, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Daniel, et al., 2016; Dewey & Long, 2007; Green, 2014; Emanoil, Edward, Kasinec, 1994; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Wikipedia, 2018)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

During the rainy season when more food is available, Livingstone’s flying foxes feed on a variety of fruits, but during the dry season, they eat selectively and mostly rely on the giant-leaved fig tree.

In the dry season, Livingstone’s flying foxes tend to be much more selective on what and where they feed, preferring fig trees, but in the rainy season when more food is available, they feed on a larger variety of fruits.

A very important tree for the Livingstone’s flying fox and the Seychelles flying fox (Pteropus seychellensis) during the dry season is the giant-leaved fig tree (Ficus lutea). This tree is chosen over many other fig trees.


Image | © Deborah Luffman, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Sewall, 2002; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, Davies, Reason, & Wray, 2001)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Do you think you know the Livingstone’s flying fox? Test your knowledge of Livingstone’s flying fox FaunaFacts with this trivia quiz!

Click on an answer choice to receive instant feedback. Red answers are incorrect, but allow you to continue guessing. Green answers are correct and will provide additional explanatory information. Sometimes more than one answer is correct!

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox | Play on Quizizz

The Livingstone’s flying fox is endemic to what country?
Comoros
The Livingstone’s flying fox is endemic to the Union of the Comoros island chain, just off the coast of Africa, where it is only found on the islands of Anjouan, also called Nzwani, and Mohéli, also called Mwali.
Mayotte
Madagascar
Seychelles
What are Livingstone’s flying foxes considered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Critically Endangered
The Livingstone’s flying fox is listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species because of a serious population decline.
Vulnerable
Endangered
Extinct in the Wild
What is the Livingstone’s flying fox’s diet?
Herbivorous
Livingstone’s flying foxes are frugivorous herbivores and feed primarily on fruit.
Carnivorous
Omnivorous
What are groups of Livingstone’s flying foxes called?
Harem
Livingstone’s flying foxes form small groups, called harems or colonies, in which they roost and forage. Groups of bats are also called cauldrons or clouds.
Cloud
Livingstone’s flying foxes form small groups, called harems or colonies, in which they roost and forage. Groups of bats are also called cauldrons or clouds.
Colony
Livingstone’s flying foxes form small groups, called harems or colonies, in which they roost and forage. Groups of bats are also called cauldrons or clouds.
Cauldron
Livingstone’s flying foxes form small groups, called harems or colonies, in which they roost and forage. Groups of bats are also called cauldrons or clouds.
During the past 20 years, the Comoros, where the Livingstone’s flying fox inhabits, has lost how much of its remaining forests?
75%
Over the last few decades, the Comoros have undergone a sustained, rapid deforestation, resulting in the loss of nearly all its native forests. Data quality on rates of habitat loss is poor, but best estimates are that during the past 20 years alone, the country has lost 75% of its remaining forests, the fastest rate of any country in the world.
20%
50%
95%
The generation length of the Livingstone’s flying fox is unknown, but is estimated to be 8.1 years.
True
Generation length for the wild population of the Livingstone’s flying fox is unknown, but several demographic parameters can be derived from the studbook for captive bats of this species. Females do not reproduce during the first few years of life in captivity. The minimum dam age at first reproduction has been 3.4 years, whereas the average dam age at first reproduction is 5.9 years, and the average age of females giving birth is elevated (of all dams born in captivity that have since died or are 10 years of age, mean age when giving birth = 8.1 years). Thus, based on studbook data, this last figure of 8.1 years represents our best estimate of the generation length of the captive population. This estimate may be conservative as most (75%) of these females are still alive and at least some presumably will reproduce again at a later age
False
The Livingstone’s flying fox is endemic to what continent?
Africa
The Livingstone’s flying fox is endemic to the Union of the Comoros island chain, just off the coast of Africa.
Asia
Australia
Europe
Human pressures on the Livingstone’s flying fox’s native forests are expected to continue, as the growth rate of the human population remains high, with an annual increase of how much?
2.5%
Human pressures on native forests are expected to continue, as the growth rate of the human population remains high, with an annual increase of 2.5%.
12.5%
25%
52%
How do Livingstone’s flying foxes positively affect their native ecosystem?
Seed Dispersal
Members of the genus Pteropus are important in the dispersal of seeds in the forests they inhabit. They are often seen as keystone species because they maintain forest regeneration patterns. As such, Livingstone’s flying foxes are important members of their native ecosystems, helping to disperse fruiting tree species and sometimes pollinate plants.
Forest Regeneration
Members of the genus Pteropus are important in the dispersal of seeds in the forests they inhabit. They are often seen as keystone species because they maintain forest regeneration patterns. As such, Livingstone’s flying foxes are important members of their native ecosystems, helping to disperse fruiting tree species and sometimes pollinate plants.
Plant Pollination
Members of the genus Pteropus are important in the dispersal of seeds in the forests they inhabit. They are often seen as keystone species because they maintain forest regeneration patterns. As such, Livingstone’s flying foxes are important members of their native ecosystems, helping to disperse fruiting tree species and sometimes pollinate plants.
Disease Prevention
When is the Livingstone’s flying fox’s breeding season?
January-June
The breeding season for the Livingstone’s flying fox is from January through June.
July-December
What types of communication do Livingstone’s flying foxes most rely on?
Auditory
Livingstone’s flying foxes often use vocalizations to communicate. Like most mammals, chemoreception is important in communicating sexual receptiveness.
Chemical
Livingstone’s flying foxes often use vocalizations to communicate. Like most mammals, chemoreception is important in communicating sexual receptiveness.
Tactile
Visual
Why do Livingstone’s flying foxes roost near rivers and other humid environments?
Thermal Sensitivity
Livingstone’s flying fox roosts are often associated with rivers and other humid environments, a factor which may be related to their thermal sensitivity.
Predator Aversion
Food Availability
Water Requirements
Livingstone’s flying foxes are one of the most critically endangered bat species.
True
Livingstone’s flying foxes are one of the most critically endangered bat species.
False
When was a captive-breeding program initiated for the Livingstone’s flying fox?
1992
There is an active captive-breeding program underway for the Livingstone’s flying fox initiated by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in 1992.
1929
2002
2019
How many Livingstone’s flying foxes are estimated to remain?
400-1,300
Livingstone’s flying foxes are one of the most critically endangered bat species, with an estimated population size of 400-1,300 individuals.
100-300
3,000-4,000
10,000-14,000
What is the mating system of the Livingstone’s flying fox?
Polygynous
Livingstone’s flying foxes are polygynous as males attempt to mate with as many females as they can. Females will, however, mate with more than one male throughout their lifetimes.
Monogamous
Polyandrous
Ploygynandrous
Livingstone’s flying foxes are blind.
False
Despite what some may think, the Livingstone’s flying fox is not blind and actually has good vision.
True
Livingstone’s flying foxes often glide, rather than fly directly.
True
Because they have very slow wing beats and a relatively slow, flapping flight, Livingstone’s flying foxes often glide, rather than fly directly.
False
The Livingstone’s flying fox’s small population is found within a restricted range solely on how many small, adjacent islands?
2
The Livingstone’s flying fox is endemic to the Union of the Comoros island chain, just off the coast of Africa, where it is only found on two islands: Anjouan, also called Nzwani, and Mohéli, also called Mwali.
3
4
5
What kind of legal protection does the Livingstone’s flying fox receive within the Union of the Comoros?
Highest Level
The Livingstone’s flying fox receives the highest level of legal protection available within the Union of the Comoros. It is listed as an “integrally-protected species”, which prohibits the capture or detention of individuals without a permit. This law also expressly prohibits the killing of flying fox individuals; transport, purchase, sale, export or re-export of live or dead flying fox individuals or body parts; all disruption during the period of reproduction and raising of young; and the destruction of roosts.
Lowest Level
None
What threatens the Livingstone’s flying fox?
Habitat Loss
The species is suspected to suffer from catastrophic habitat decline caused by the cutting of trees for fuelwood and construction and by conversion of all but the steepest upland areas to agricultural use. This has resulted in extensive declines in the species’ area of occupancy, the extent of its occurrence, and the quality of its habitat. The remaining habitat is increasingly degraded and fragmented, and declines in the extent and quality of habitat are continuing. Lastly, the geographic range is small.
Habitat Defragmentation
The species is suspected to suffer from catastrophic habitat decline caused by the cutting of trees for fuelwood and construction and by conversion of all but the steepest upland areas to agricultural use. This has resulted in extensive declines in the species’ area of occupancy, the extent of its occurrence, and the quality of its habitat. The remaining habitat is increasingly degraded and fragmented, and declines in the extent and quality of habitat are continuing. Lastly, the geographic range is small.
Small Range
The species is suspected to suffer from catastrophic habitat decline caused by the cutting of trees for fuelwood and construction and by conversion of all but the steepest upland areas to agricultural use. This has resulted in extensive declines in the species’ area of occupancy, the extent of its occurrence, and the quality of its habitat. The remaining habitat is increasingly degraded and fragmented, and declines in the extent and quality of habitat are continuing. Lastly, the geographic range is small.
High Predator Populations
The loss of native forests has resulted in impermanence or complete drying of nearly all rivers in the Livingstone’s flying fox’s habitat.
True
The loss of native forests has resulted in impermanence or complete drying of nearly all rivers on Anjouan and many on Mohéli.
False
Global climate change could negatively affect the availability of suitable roosting habitat for the Livingstone’s flying fox.
True
The mean surface temperature of the Comoros is thought to have increased about 1° Celsius since 1900 and is expected to increase by 1-3° Celsius more by 2100 due to global climate change. It is unclear whether or how such changes will affect the Livingstone’s flying fox, but since thermal characteristics are important components of roost suitability for this and other Pteropus species, predicted temperature increases could negatively affect the availability of suitable roosting habitat.
False
Livingstone’s flying foxes are migratory.
False
There is no available information on the home range of Livingstone’s flying foxes, but it is known that they do not migrate.
True
What sense do Livingstone’s flying foxes rely on to determine if fruit is ripe enough to eat?
Smell
In general, Pteropus species use olfaction to find fruiting trees and determine if fruit is ripe enough to eat.
Sight
Hearing
Taste
What physical features distinguishes the Livingstone’s flying fox from most other pteropodids?
Black & Tawny Fur
The Livingstone’s flying fox has three features that distinguishes it from most other pteropodids, its black and tawny fur, rounded ears, and red-orange eyes.
Rounded Ears
The Livingstone’s flying fox has three features that distinguishes it from most other pteropodids, its black and tawny fur, rounded ears, and red-orange eyes.
Red-Orange Eyes
The Livingstone’s flying fox has three features that distinguishes it from most other pteropodids, its black and tawny fur, rounded ears, and red-orange eyes.
Black, Hairless Wings
With continuing habitat change, where has the Livingstone’s flying fox retreated?
Higher Elevations
With continuing habitat change, the Livingstone’s flying fox has retreated to higher elevations.
Lower Elevations
There are numerous conservation action plans and programs in place to help preserve the Livingstone’s flying fox.
True
The Conservation Action Plan for Livingstone’s Flying Fox has been adopted by the government of the Union of the Comoros and is just one of many programs intended to help the Livingstone’s flying fox.
False
What kind of herbivore is the Livingstone’s flying fox?
Frugivore
Livingstone’s flying foxes are frugivorous herbivores and feed primarily on fruit.
Folivore
Detritivore
Ruminant
How long does Livingstone’s flying fox weaning last?
4-6 Months
The young are weaned within 4 to 6 months of being born.
2-4 Months
6-12 Months
12-18 Months
The Livingstone’s flying fox occurs in protected areas.
False
The Livingstone’s flying fox does not occur in any protected areas.
True
When are Livingstone’s flying foxes born?
Summer-Fall
Gestation lasts 4 to 6 months, after which the young is born between July and October.
Fall-Winter
Winter-Spring
Spring-Summer
When are Livingstone flying foxes much more selective on what and where they feed?
Dry Season
In the dry season, Livingstone’s flying foxes tend to be much more selective on what and where they feed, preferring fig trees, but in the rainy season when more food is available, they feed on a larger variety of fruits.
Rainy Season
Why are trees felled in the Livingstone’s flying fox’s habitat?
Fuelwood
The Livingstone’s flying fox’s habitat change is caused by cutting of trees for fuelwood and construction, and by conversion of all but the steepest upland areas to agricultural use for subsistence agriculture and for export crops such as cloves.
Construction
The Livingstone’s flying fox’s habitat change is caused by cutting of trees for fuelwood and construction, and by conversion of all but the steepest upland areas to agricultural use for subsistence agriculture and for export crops such as cloves.
Agricultural Use
The Livingstone’s flying fox’s habitat change is caused by cutting of trees for fuelwood and construction, and by conversion of all but the steepest upland areas to agricultural use for subsistence agriculture and for export crops such as cloves.
Ranching Livestock
Rapid destruction of the Livingstone’s flying fox’s forest habitats indicates these bats may become extinct within 10 years.
True
Rapid destruction of the forest habitats the Livingstone’s flying fox rely on indicates these bats may become extinct within 10 years.
False
In what type of habitat does the Livingstone’s flying fox reside?
Forest
The Livingstone’s flying fox roosts and forages primarily in native forests and underplanted forests and avoids areas heavily affected by human disturbance.
Caves & Subterranean
Rocky Areas
Shrubland
Livingstone’s flying foxes are considered a nuisance.
False
There are no adverse effects of Livingstone’s flying foxes on humans and they avoid areas heavily affected by human disturbance.
True
What is the rhythm of the Livingstone’s flying fox?
Nocturnal
Like other pteropodids, Livingstone’s flying foxes are nocturnal. They are active in the evening and at night when foraging for fruit. Females forage at night and return to their young in the maternity roost to nurse them.
Diurnal
Crepuscular
Cathemeral
What is the lifespan of the Livingstone’s flying fox?
15-30 Years
The Livingstone’s flying fox can be long-lived in captivity, but its longevity isn’t well-documented and is estimated to be 15-30 years based on other Pteropus species.
1-5 Years
5-15 Years
30-50 Years
Livingstone’s flying foxes exhibit sexual dimorphism.
False
Livingstone’s flying foxes do not exhibit sexual dimorphism.
True, Males are Larger
True, Females are Larger
The Livingstone’s flying fox breeding program has increased the captive population from 17 to how many individuals?
59
The captive population of the bat subsequently expanded at a slower rate than other fruit bat species in captive breeding programs, such as the Rodrigues flying fox (Pteropus rodricensis), at least initially. However, by 2014, the Livingstone’s flying fox captive population had reached 59 individuals, 22 females and 37 males, housed at four institutions: the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey, U.K.; Bristol, Clifton; West of England Zoological Society, in Bristol, U.K.; North of England Zoological Society in Chester, U.K.; and Lisieux Cerza in Lisieux, France.
29
109
509
Both male and female Livingstone’s flying foxes partake in parental investment.
False
There is limited information available specifically on parental investment in the Livingstone’s flying fox, but males are known not to stay around after mating, leaving the females to raise and care for the young.
True
What are predators of the Livingstone’s flying fox?
Humans
Humans are the primary predators of the species, both for food and as a secondary result of forest destruction. Other predators have not been documented, but large arboreal snakes and raptors make take young and adult Livingstone’s flying foxes.
Snakes
Humans are the primary predators of the species, both for food and as a secondary result of forest destruction. Other predators have not been documented, but large arboreal snakes and raptors make take young and adult Livingstone’s flying foxes.
Raptors
Humans are the primary predators of the species, both for food and as a secondary result of forest destruction. Other predators have not been documented, but large arboreal snakes and raptors make take young and adult Livingstone’s flying foxes.
Lemurs
Which tree is most important for the Livingstone’s flying fox?
Giant-Leaved Fig Tree
A very important tree for the Livingstone’s flying fox and the Seychelles flying fox (Pteropus seychellensis) during the dry season is the giant-leaved fig tree (Ficus lutea). This tree is chosen over many other fig trees.
Kapok
Antandronarum
Mangrove
How do Livingstone’s flying foxes most often gain height when flying?
Updrafts of Warm Air
Because they have very slow wing beats and a relatively slow, flapping flight, Livingstone’s flying foxes often glide and circle in an attempt to gain height, rather than fly directly. They use updrafts of warm air to help extend their gliding distance.
Gliding
Because they have very slow wing beats and a relatively slow, flapping flight, Livingstone’s flying foxes often glide and circle in an attempt to gain height, rather than fly directly. They use updrafts of warm air to help extend their gliding distance.
Circling
Because they have very slow wing beats and a relatively slow, flapping flight, Livingstone’s flying foxes often glide and circle in an attempt to gain height, rather than fly directly. They use updrafts of warm air to help extend their gliding distance.
Flapping
How many key Livingstone’s flying fox roost sites have been identified?
7
Critical roosting habitat at seven key roost sites that together harbored more than half the population was identified during the development of the Conservation Action Plan for Livingstone’s Flying Fox. Habitat conservation of these roost sites was identified as a key goal in this plan.
2
17
32
Livingstone’s flying foxes prefer to roost on steep-sided valleys with slopes that face which direction?
Southeast
They prefer to roost in emergent trees, primarily on steep-sided valleys with southeast facing slopes, near ridge tops and in areas generally associated with dense natural vegetation.
Southwest
Northeast
Northwest
The Livingstone’s flying fox has taken advantage of elevational differences in tree fruiting phenology to compensate for seasonal variation in fruit availability.
True
The Livingstone’s flying fox may have naturally taken advantage of elevational differences in tree fruiting phenology to compensate for seasonal variation in fruit availability.
False
What is the average size of a group of Livingstone’s flying foxes?
15-150
Colony size typically ranges from 15 to 150 individuals. The largest known roosts have sometimes reached about 250 individuals during the rainy season, but not all of these are mature individuals.
1-15
150-1,500
1,500-5,000
What do Livingstone’s flying foxes feed on?
Fruit
Livingstone’s flying foxes are frugivorous herbivores and feed primarily on fruit. They also feed on nectar and leaves, to a lesser degree.
Nectar
Livingstone’s flying foxes are frugivorous herbivores and feed primarily on fruit. They also feed on nectar and leaves, to a lesser degree.
Leaves
Livingstone’s flying foxes are frugivorous herbivores and feed primarily on fruit. They also feed on nectar and leaves, to a lesser degree.
Insects
The habitat loss of the Livingstone’s flying fox’s has exceeded what percentage over the past 3 generations?
80%
True population change in the Livingstone’s flying fox is unknown and data on habitat change over time is limited. Best estimates indicate habitat loss has exceeded 80% over the past three generations (estimated generation length: 8.1 years/generation), because remaining habitat is increasingly degraded and fragmented, and because declines in the extent and quality of habitat are continuing.
20%
40%
60%
The Livingstone’s flying fox is hunted for food more than other bats in its region.
False
There is no evidence that the Livingstone’s flying fox is hunted for food, a key factor affecting other fruit bat species. This may be due in part to cultural taboos among the majority of the population that surround consumption of fruit bats. However, the apparent lack of hunting may also be due in part to the bat’s habit of roosting in inaccessible areas remote from towns. Some limited hunting of the other two fruit bat species in the Comoros has been occasionally recorded.
True
To how many young does a Livingstone’s flying fox typically give birth?
1
Gestation lasts 4 to 6 months, after which a single young is born.
5
10
20

How much did you know about the Livingstone’s flying fox? Share your results in the comments!

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Livingstone’s flying foxes are frugivorous herbivores and feed on a large variety of fruits, as well as nectar and leaves.

Livingstone’s flying foxes are frugivorous herbivores and feed primarily on fruit. They also feed on nectar and leaves, to a lesser degree.

Feeding is principally on native species but also includes non-native kapok (Ceiba pentandra). Particularly important food sources are native giant-leaved fig trees (Ficus lutea) and Ficus antandronarum.

In general, Pteropus species use olfaction to find fruiting trees and determine if fruit is ripe enough to eat.


Image | © Andrew Thompson, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Dechmann & Safi, 2005; Sewall, 2002; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, Davies, Reason, & Wray, 2001)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Livingstone’s flying foxes are social and form groups of 15-250, called harems or colonies, in which they roost and forage.

Livingstone’s flying foxes form small groups, called harems or colonies, in which they roost and forage. Groups of bats are also called cauldrons or clouds.

Colony size typically ranges from 15 to 150 individuals. The largest known roosts have sometimes reached about 250 individuals during the rainy season, but not all of these are mature individuals.

In general, members of the genus Pteropus form maternity colonies where females and their young gather. Females forage at night and return to their young in the maternity roost to nurse them.


Image | © Aardwolf6886, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Dewey & Long, 2007; Gould, Woolf, & Turner, 1973; Hutchins, Kleiman, & Geist, 2003; Sewall, Young, Trewhella, Rodríguez-Clark, & Granek, 2016; Sewall, et al., 2007, 2011)

Learn More About the Livingstone’s Flying Fox

Livingstone's Flying Fox

Livingstone’s Flying Fox (Pteropus livingstonii)

Throughout the month of May 2019, FaunaFocus will feature its first bat, the Livingstone’s flying fox!

The Livingstone’s flying fox is an Old World fruit bat, or megabat, and is one of the largest and most endangered of the bat species. Endemic to only two islands of the Comoros island chain, just off the coast of Africa, this herbivorous frugivore resides in forests and is threatened by habitat loss and human influences. This species is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

 

GET INVOLVED

Create art inspired by the Livingstone’s flying fox and share it in the FaunaFocus Discord Server or on social media with #faunafocus. Learn about more ways to get involved with FaunaFocus!

 

EVENTS
Event Date Time (CDT)
Free-For-All: Deadline May 29 12:00 pm
Free-For-All: Livestream May 30 7:00 pm

 


Image | © Ben J Charles (CharlieJB), All Rights Reserved

Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Because of their acute hearing and excellent binocular vision, mule deer specialize in detecting danger long-range and can quickly detect and visually track another animal from as far as 600 meters away.

The mule deer has excellent binocular vision. While unable to detect motionless objects, it’s extraordinarily sensitive to moving objects. Males can quickly detect and visually track another animal from as far as 600 meters away.

Because of its large ears, the mule deer’s sense of hearing is also extremely acute.

Because of their acute hearing and excellent binocular vision, mule deer specialize in detecting danger at a very long range.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson & Wallmo, 1984; Geist, 1981; Misuraca, 1999)

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Mule Deer

Mule Deer

To counter agricultural development, rangeland conversion, mining, road and highway construction, and the development of housing tracts, many government agencies have purchased critical areas to maintain for mule deer.

All federal, state, and provincial land and wildlife management agencies recognize the fundamental need to maintain mule deer ranges and keep them habitable. Where they occur, mule deer populations are typically managed by organizations that monitor abundance and trends in order to set species management objectives.

To counter the trend of agricultural development, rangeland conversion, mining, road and highway construction, and the development of housing tracts, many states and provinces have purchased critical areas, especially winter ranges, to maintain the various habitats of the mule deer. Due to political opposition to government acquisition of privately owned lands, plus a scarcity of funds for this purpose, only a small fraction of mule deer ranges has been acquired by the government.

Unfortunately, one obstacle involved in evaluating mule deer populations trend is inconsistent and incomplete data collections. This problem results from the wide variety of methodologies and approaches used by states and provinces for mule deer management. There is a real need to standardize many of the methodologies to obtain data collections and establish protocols to obtain those measurements about mule deer populations.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Misuraca, 1999; Sanchez-Rojas & Gallina, 2016; Wallmo, 1981)

Learn More About the Mule Deer

FFA
Judges
Noelle M. Brooks Deertush Stephen Scott (BlindCoyote)
Date April 2019 Theme Mule Deer
Entries 6 Winner Shadowind

As we approach FaunaFocus’ 2-Year Anniversary, the April 2019 Free-For-All has come to and end with six different entries drawing inspiration from the mule deer. From digital to traditional and analogous to fully chromatic, we were blessed with several beautiful artworks depicting this gentle herbivore.

Congratulations to April 2019’s FaunaFocus Free-For-All Winner, Shadowind who stunned the judges with an analogous composition filled with oranges, yellows, and golds. This piece displays a mule deer peryton leaping from a field of sunflowers amongst a flock of birds. With skilled anatomy and careful attention to detail, this piece captured the hearts of the judges with its warm and welcoming presence.

Shadowind will choose the FaunaFocus for June 2019, which will be announced at the end of May’s Free-For-All critique livestream. Shadowind was also last month’s Free-For-All winner, and has thus chosen the FaunaFocus for the month of April, FaunaFocus’ first bat species, the Livingstone’s flying fox!

 


FaunaFocus Calendar | Free-For-All | Free-For-All Archives

Mule Deer

Mule Deer

The mule deer’s most urgent threat is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), but they are also threatened by high predator populations, competition with livestock grazing, and human-related habitat alterations.

Today the most urgent threat to wild mule deer is the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Currently, CWD is more prominent at the local or regional level. CWD has currently been diagnosed in mule deer in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States and other mid-western states.

Other threats include: high predator populations (including feral dogs), competition with livestock grazing, human habitat alterations, and other anthropogenic forces.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Sanchez-Rojas & Gallina, 2016)

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Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Both male and female mule deer experience parallel growth during their first year until males exceed females in body weight; chest girth; neck circumference; body, head, hindfoot, and hoof length; cranial breadth; and shoulder height.

Growth in mule deer during the first year is roughly parallel in males and females, but afterward, males, in general, exceed females in carcass weight, chest girth, neck circumference, body length, head length, cranial breadth, shoulder height, hindfoot length, and hoof length.

Carcass weight ranges from 45 to 150 kilograms in males, and 43 to 75 kilograms in females. Chest girth ranges from 80 to 117 centimeters in males, and 78 to 97 centimeters in females. Neck circumference ranges from 30 to 65 centimeters in males, and 26 to 38 cm centimeters females. Body length ranges from 126 to 168 centimeters in males, and 125 to 156 centimeters in females. Head length ranges from 28 to 35 centimeters in males, and 27 to 33 centimeters in females. Cranial breadth ranges from 11 to 16 centimeters in males, and 10 to 14 centimeters in females. Shoulder height ranges from 84 to 106 centimeters in males, and 80 to 100 centimeters in females.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson & Wallmo, 1984; Misuraca, 1999; Wallmo, 1981)

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Mule Deer

Mule Deer

The mule deer is a target for various viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases such as gastrointestinal nematodes, parasitic meningeal worms, neurologic disease, and foot-and-mouth disease.

The mule deer is a target for various viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases.

For example, heavy amounts of gastrointestinal nematodes may cause death in mule deer. This parasitic disease is usually indicative of such predisposing factors as high mule deer density and malnutrition.

Infection by the parasitic meningeal worm can cause fatal neurologic disease in mule deer.

Livestock may transmit viral diseases to mule deer as seen in foot-and-mouth disease. This infection is characterized by blisters in the mouth, above the hooves, and between the digits.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson & Wallmo, 1984; Misuraca, 1999)

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Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Mule deer communication is facilitated by five integumentary glands which produce specific pheromones that elicit specific reactions.

Communication among mule deer is facilitated by the sebaceous and sudoriferous secretory cells of five integumentary glands. The cells of each gland produce specific scents, or pheromones, that elicit specific reactions in conspecifics.

The metatarsal gland produces an alarm pheromone, the tarsal gland aids in mutual recognition, the interdigital gland leaves a scent trail, and the function of the tail gland is unknown.

Urine has a pheromone function at all ages and for both sexes. It is deposited on tufts of hair surrounding the tarsal glands. In fawns, it functions as a distress signal, while in adults, it functions as a threat signal.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson & Wallmo, 1984; Misuraca, 1999)

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Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Mule deer weigh 2-5kg at birth, affected by litter size and sex as males are heavier than females.

At birth, mule deer have a mass from two to five kilograms, affected by litter size and sex, with males being heavier than females.

Weaning begins at about five weeks of age and usually is completed at age 16 weeks. Full development of most skeletal attributes occurs at about 49 months of age in males and 37 months of age in females. However, gains in carcass mass are continuous until an age of 120 months in males and 96 months in females.

Male neonates predominate when poor nutrition prevails about 6 weeks before, and during, the breeding period.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson & Wallmo, 1984; Misuraca, 1999)

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Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Although mule deer are “Least Concern” and not in need of conservation action, the Cedros Island subspecies is “Vulnerable” and in danger of becoming extinct because its densities are low and poaching and predation by feral dogs are high.

Where they occur, mule deer populations are typically managed by federal, state, and provincial agencies that monitor abundance and trends in order to set species management objectives. The species also occurs in several protected areas across its distribution. As a result, mule deer remain abundant throughout much of their native range and are not currently in urgent need of further conservation action, but some evidence in the United States and Canada has shown declines in some populations.

Although the entirety of the mule deer species is considered Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, there are subspecies that are in danger of becoming extinct. Most of the mule deer’s subspecies are not threatened, but the Cedros Island subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis) is considered to be Vulnerable, as of 1988. This subspecies is in danger of becoming extinct because its densities are very low on the island where it occurs and predation by feral dogs and poaching are high. Other subspecies that live on islands are also considered endangered.

Additionally, in Mexico, some data show local extinction of some populations in the Chihuahuan desert region of Coahuila and Nuevo León Mexico, and in some populations, evidence of metapopulation dynamics for the species have been found.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Ballard, Lutz, Keegan, Carptenter, & deVos, 2001; Martinez-Muñoz, et al., 2003; Sanchez-Rojas & Gallina, 2000, 2016)

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Mule Deer Trivia

Mule Deer

Do you think you know the mule deer? Test your knowledge of mule deer FaunaFacts with this trivia quiz!

Click on an answer choice to receive instant feedback. Red answers are incorrect, but allow you to continue guessing. Green answers are correct and will provide additional explanatory information. Sometimes more than one answer is correct!

Learn More About the Mule Deer | Play on Quizizz

What physical attribute originated the mule deer’s name?
Large Ears
The mule deer is named for its ears, which are large like those of the mule.
Gray-Brown Pelage
Bounding Gait
Braying Call
Increased mule deer populations can damage forest regeneration.
True
In the Douglas fir region, the mule deer browses on trees during both the dormant and growing seasons. Practices that encourage the growth of mule deer populations can therefore also encourage damage.
False
How many subspecies of mule deer are recognized?
10
Ten subspecies of the mule deer have been identified, two of which, (O. h. columbianus and O. h. sitkensis,) are classified as black-tailed deer. The black-tailed deer was at one time treated as a separate species, but is now mostly recognized as conspecific with the mule deer. Subspecies of the mule deer include the California mule deer (O. h. californicus), Cedros Island deer (O. h. cerrosensis), Columbian black-tailed deer (O. h. columbianus), desert mule deer (O. h. eremicus), southern mule deer (O. h. fuliginatus), Rocky Mountain mule deer (O. h. hemionus), Inyo mule deer (O. h. inyoensis), peninusla mule deer (O. h. peninsulae), Tiburon Island mule deer (O. h. sheldoni), and Sitka black-tailed deer (O. h. sitkensis).
2
5
20
What is the mule deer’s diet?
Herbivorous
The mule deer is a small herbivorous ruminant with limited ability to digest highly fibrous roughage.
Omnivorous
Carnivorous
What threatens the mule deer?
Disease
Today, the most urgent threat to wild mule deer is the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Other threats include: high predator populations (including feral dogs), competition with grazing livestock, human habitat alterations, and other anthropogenic forces.
Competition with Grazing Livestock
Today, the most urgent threat to wild mule deer is the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Other threats include: high predator populations (including feral dogs), competition with grazing livestock, human habitat alterations, and other anthropogenic forces.
Human-Related Habitat Alterations
Today, the most urgent threat to wild mule deer is the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Other threats include: high predator populations (including feral dogs), competition with grazing livestock, human habitat alterations, and other anthropogenic forces.
High Predator Populations
Today, the most urgent threat to wild mule deer is the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Other threats include: high predator populations (including feral dogs), competition with grazing livestock, human habitat alterations, and other anthropogenic forces.
Mule deer require a diet consisting of highly fibrous roughage.
False
The mule deer is a small ruminant with limited ability to digest highly fibrous roughage. Based on its stomach structure and its diet of woody and herbaceous forage in approximate equal proportions, the mule deer is classified as an intermediate feeder.
True
Which of the mule deer’s senses are most keen?
Hearing
The mule deer has excellent binocular vision. Because of its large ears, the mule deer’s sense of hearing is also extremely acute. Because of their acute hearing and excellent binocular vision, mule deer specialize in detecting danger at a very long range.
Vision
The mule deer has excellent binocular vision. Because of its large ears, the mule deer’s sense of hearing is also extremely acute. Because of their acute hearing and excellent binocular vision, mule deer specialize in detecting danger at a very long range.
Taste
Smell
To what continent is the mule deer endemic?
North America
The mule deer occurs over most of North America, west of the 100th meridian from 23 degrees to 60 degrees North.
South America
Europe
Asia
What type of herbivore is the mule deer?
Intermediate Feeder Ruminant (IM)
The mule deer is a small ruminant with limited ability to digest highly fibrous roughage. Based on its stomach structure and its diet of woody and herbaceous forage in approximate equal proportions, the mule deer is classified as an intermediate feeder.
Fermenter
Concentrate Selector Ruminant (CS)
Roughage Feeder/Grazer Ruminant (GR)
When does mule deer hunting generally occur?
Fall
The mule deer is mainly used as a game animal for trophy hunting and is of tremendous interest to hunters. Populations of deer that are large enough to support hunting during two or three weeks in autumn offer countless recreational opportunities for the public.
Spring
Summer
Winter
What strategies do mule deer use against predators?
Keeping Distance
Mule deer have several distinct strategies for avoiding predators. Once danger is detected, a mule deer may choose to hide, or move into cover and cautiously outmaneuver the predator. The most common strategy is to depart while the predator is still a long way off and move several miles to another area. At an unacceptably high cost per unit time of locomotion, a mule deer may also choose to rapidly bound uphill, imposing on pursuing predators. In yet another strategy, the mule deer may bound off and then trot away, stopping frequently to gain information on the disturbance. This initial bounding, combined with release of metatarsal scent that inhibits feeding, is highly advantageous in that, by alarming others, it causes other mule deer to bound off as well, reducing the conspicuousness of the deer who bounded off first. This strategy would also trigger group formation. Finally, when the predator closes in, the deer initiates evasive maneuvers based on sudden unpredictable changes in direction and on placing obstacles between itself and the predator. This strategy, however, does not work against group-hunting predators.
Imposing
Mule deer have several distinct strategies for avoiding predators. Once danger is detected, a mule deer may choose to hide, or move into cover and cautiously outmaneuver the predator. The most common strategy is to depart while the predator is still a long way off and move several miles to another area. At an unacceptably high cost per unit time of locomotion, a mule deer may also choose to rapidly bound uphill, imposing on pursuing predators. In yet another strategy, the mule deer may bound off and then trot away, stopping frequently to gain information on the disturbance. This initial bounding, combined with release of metatarsal scent that inhibits feeding, is highly advantageous in that, by alarming others, it causes other mule deer to bound off as well, reducing the conspicuousness of the deer who bounded off first. This strategy would also trigger group formation. Finally, when the predator closes in, the deer initiates evasive maneuvers based on sudden unpredictable changes in direction and on placing obstacles between itself and the predator. This strategy, however, does not work against group-hunting predators.
Evasive Maneuvers
Mule deer have several distinct strategies for avoiding predators. Once danger is detected, a mule deer may choose to hide, or move into cover and cautiously outmaneuver the predator. The most common strategy is to depart while the predator is still a long way off and move several miles to another area. At an unacceptably high cost per unit time of locomotion, a mule deer may also choose to rapidly bound uphill, imposing on pursuing predators. In yet another strategy, the mule deer may bound off and then trot away, stopping frequently to gain information on the disturbance. This initial bounding, combined with release of metatarsal scent that inhibits feeding, is highly advantageous in that, by alarming others, it causes other mule deer to bound off as well, reducing the conspicuousness of the deer who bounded off first. This strategy would also trigger group formation. Finally, when the predator closes in, the deer initiates evasive maneuvers based on sudden unpredictable changes in direction and on placing obstacles between itself and the predator. This strategy, however, does not work against group-hunting predators.
Group Formation
Mule deer have several distinct strategies for avoiding predators. Once danger is detected, a mule deer may choose to hide, or move into cover and cautiously outmaneuver the predator. The most common strategy is to depart while the predator is still a long way off and move several miles to another area. At an unacceptably high cost per unit time of locomotion, a mule deer may also choose to rapidly bound uphill, imposing on pursuing predators. In yet another strategy, the mule deer may bound off and then trot away, stopping frequently to gain information on the disturbance. This initial bounding, combined with release of metatarsal scent that inhibits feeding, is highly advantageous in that, by alarming others, it causes other mule deer to bound off as well, reducing the conspicuousness of the deer who bounded off first. This strategy would also trigger group formation. Finally, when the predator closes in, the deer initiates evasive maneuvers based on sudden unpredictable changes in direction and on placing obstacles between itself and the predator. This strategy, however, does not work against group-hunting predators.
What initiates the annual cycle of antler growth in mule deer?
Decreased Day Length
The annual cycle of antler growth in the mule deer is initiated and controlled by changes in day length acting on several cell types of the anterior pituitary. These cell types secrete growth-stimulating hormones that act mainly on the antlers and incidentally on the testes.
Cold Temperatures
Growth-Stimulating Hormones
Lower Food Intake
When is the mule deer breeding season?
November-December
Mule deer courtship and mating occur within the group and the breeding peak occurs mainly from late November through mid-December.
January-February
July-August
April-May
Government agencies are purchasing critical areas to maintain for mule deer in order to counter which trends?
Agricultural Development
All federal, state, and provincial land and wildlife management agencies recognize the fundamental need to maintain mule deer ranges and keep them habitable. Where they occur, mule deer populations are typically managed by organizations that monitor abundance and trends in order to set species management objectives. To counter the trend of agricultural development, rangeland conversion, mining, road and highway construction, and the development of housing tracts, many states and provinces have purchased critical areas, especially winter ranges, to maintain the various habitats of the mule deer.
Rangeland Conversion
All federal, state, and provincial land and wildlife management agencies recognize the fundamental need to maintain mule deer ranges and keep them habitable. Where they occur, mule deer populations are typically managed by organizations that monitor abundance and trends in order to set species management objectives. To counter the trend of agricultural development, rangeland conversion, mining, road and highway construction, and the development of housing tracts, many states and provinces have purchased critical areas, especially winter ranges, to maintain the various habitats of the mule deer.
Mining
All federal, state, and provincial land and wildlife management agencies recognize the fundamental need to maintain mule deer ranges and keep them habitable. Where they occur, mule deer populations are typically managed by organizations that monitor abundance and trends in order to set species management objectives. To counter the trend of agricultural development, rangeland conversion, mining, road and highway construction, and the development of housing tracts, many states and provinces have purchased critical areas, especially winter ranges, to maintain the various habitats of the mule deer.
Construction
All federal, state, and provincial land and wildlife management agencies recognize the fundamental need to maintain mule deer ranges and keep them habitable. Where they occur, mule deer populations are typically managed by organizations that monitor abundance and trends in order to set species management objectives. To counter the trend of agricultural development, rangeland conversion, mining, road and highway construction, and the development of housing tracts, many states and provinces have purchased critical areas, especially winter ranges, to maintain the various habitats of the mule deer.
From how many integumentary glands do mule deer secrete specific scents and pheromones to communicate?
5
Communication among mule deer is facilitated by the sebaceous and sudoriferous secretory cells of five integumentary glands. The cells of each gland produce specific scents, or pheromones, that elicit specific reactions in conspecifics. The metatarsal gland produces an alarm pheromone, the tarsal gland aids in mutual recognition, the interdigital gland leaves a scent trail, and the function of the tail gland is unknown.
2
3
4
What color is the tip of a mule deer’s tail?
Black
The white tails of most mule deer terminate in a tuft of black hairs, or less commonly in a thin tuft of white hairs. On some mule deer, a dark dorsal line runs from the back, down the top of the tail, to the black tail tip.
White
Grey
Brown
The desert mule deer subspecies (O. h. eremicus) is a hybrid of the mule deer and which other animal?
White-Tailed Deer
The desert mule deer, also known as the burro mule deer, is sometimes referred to as O. h. crooki, but O. h. eremicus is considered the correct name. The specimen type of this subspecies is a hybrid of the mule deer and the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
Mule
Black-Tailed Deer
Horse
What is an alternative name for the mule deer?
Black-Tailed Deer
Ten subspecies of the mule deer have been identified, two of which, (O. h. columbianus and O. h. sitkensis,) are classified as black-tailed deer. The black-tailed deer was at one time treated as a separate species, but is now mostly recognized as conspecific with the mule deer.
Red Deer
White-Tailed Deer
Roe Deer
Although the mule deer is extraordinarily sensitive to moving objects, it is unable to detect motionless objects.
True
The mule deer has excellent binocular vision. While unable to detect motionless objects, it’s extraordinarily sensitive to moving objects.
False
Mule deer are social creatures that follow a dominance hierarchy.
True
The social system of mule deer consists of clans of females related by maternal descent. These clans are the facultative resource defenders. Males disperse as individuals or aggregate in groups of unrelated individuals. During winter and spring, the stability of female clans and male groups is maintained with dominance hierarchies.
False
Mule deer are becoming extinct in what regions?
Chihuahuan Desert
Most of the mule deer’s subspecies are not threatened, but the Cedros Island subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis) is considered to be Vulnerable, as of 1988. Additionally, in Mexico, some data show local extinction of some populations in the Chihuahuan desert region of Coahuila and Nuevo León Mexico, and in some populations, evidence of metapopulation dynamics for the species have been found.
Cedros Island
Most of the mule deer’s subspecies are not threatened, but the Cedros Island subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis) is considered to be Vulnerable, as of 1988. Additionally, in Mexico, some data show local extinction of some populations in the Chihuahuan desert region of Coahuila and Nuevo León Mexico, and in some populations, evidence of metapopulation dynamics for the species have been found.
Great Salt Lake Desert
Rocky Mountains
What is the most urgent threat to the mule deer?
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Today, the most urgent threat to wild mule deer is the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Currently, CWD is more prominent at the local or regional level. CWD has currently been diagnosed in mule deer in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States and other mid-western states.
Overhunting
Habitat Loss
High Predator Populations
Where do mule deer generally migrate?
Lower Elevations
Seasonal movements involve migrations from higher elevations in summer ranges to lower winter ranges.
Higher Elevations
The mule deer is a habitat specialist and can only be found in particular habitats.
False
The mule deer is remarkably adaptable and is well adapted to a variety of habitats.
True
What is the mule deer listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Least Concern
The mule deer, as a species, is considered to be Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in light of its adaptability to a wide range of habitats, large populations, occurrence in numerous protected areas, and populations that seem to be relatively stable.
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered
Where in North America does the mule deer mostly reside?
West
In western North America, the mule deer occurs from Alaska and Western Canada through the Rocky Mountains and Western Plains States of the United States south to the Peninsula of Baja California, Cedros Island, Tiburon Island and Northwestern Mexico.
North
South
East
What is the mule deer’s mating system?
Polygynous
The mule deer is a polygynous species, having a tending-bond type breeding system.
Monogamous
Polyandrous
Polygynandrous
When do mule deer give birth?
Summer
The peak birth period is estimated to be from June 16th to July 8th, though the time of birth will vary according to the environment.
Spring
Fall
Winter
Governments have had major success with acquiring several ranges to maintain for mule deer.
False
All federal, state, and provincial land and wildlife management agencies recognize the fundamental need to maintain mule deer ranges and keep them habitable. Where they occur, mule deer populations are typically managed by organizations that monitor abundance and trends in order to set species management objectives. To counter the trend of agricultural development, rangeland conversion, mining, road and highway construction, and the development of housing tracts, many states and provinces have purchased critical areas, especially winter ranges, to maintain the various habitats of the mule deer. Due to political opposition to government acquisition of privately owned lands, plus a scarcity of funds for this purpose, only a small fraction of mule deer ranges has been acquired by the government.
True
Mule deer cause economic damage to commercial timber by feeding on what type of trees?
Douglas Fir
Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine are of major economic importance for commercial timber, however, these trees are browsed heavily by mule deer.
Ponderosa Pine
Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine are of major economic importance for commercial timber, however, these trees are browsed heavily by mule deer.
Mountain Mahogany
Quaking Aspen
All ages and sexes of mule deer use urine as a communicative pheromone.
True
Urine has a pheromone function at all ages and for both sexes. It is deposited on tufts of hair surrounding the tarsal glands. In fawns, it functions as a distress signal, while in adults, it functions as a threat signal.
False
Mule deer tend to confine their daily movements to discrete home ranges.
True
Individuals of mule deer tend to confine their daily movements to discrete home ranges.
False
Mule deer exhibit sexual dimorphism.
True, Males are Larger
Growth in mule deer during the first year is roughly parallel in males and females, but afterward, males, in general, exceed females in carcass weight, chest girth, neck circumference, body length, head length, cranial breadth, shoulder height, hindfoot length, and hoof length.
True, Females are Larger
False
How do males fit in the mule deer social system?
Disperse as Individuals
Males disperse as individuals or aggregate in groups of unrelated individuals.
Form Unrelated Groups
Males disperse as individuals or aggregate in groups of unrelated individuals.
Form Related Clans
In adult male mule deer, food intake drops abruptly with the onset of rut.
True
The estimated rate of food intake is about 22 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. In adult males, food intake drops abruptly with the onset of rut.
False
Mule deer iconically possess a dark V-shaped mark on what part of the body?
Forehead
Mule deer iconically possess a dark V-shaped mark extending from a point between the eyes upward and laterally. This mark is more conspicuous in males.
Tail
Chest
Back
When are mule deer fully weaned?
4 Months
Weaning begins at about five weeks of age and usually is completed at age 16 weeks.
1 Month
1 Year
6 Months
A mule deer can detect danger from what distance?
600 Meters (656 Yards)
The mule deer has excellent binocular vision. Males can quickly detect and visually track another animal from as far as 600 meters away.
16 Meters (17 Yards)
160 Meters (175 Yards)
1,600 Meters (1,750 Yards)
Mule deer hunting has a positive economic influence and generates revenue for the economy.
True
The mule deer is mainly used as a game animal for trophy hunting and is of tremendous interest to hunters. Populations of deer that are large enough to support hunting during two or three weeks in autumn offer countless recreational opportunities for the public. This desire to hunt generates revenue for the economy.
False
False
False
A mule deer’s markings can vary considerably throughout its life.
False
All mule deer markings vary considerably among the species, but remain constant throughout the life of an individual.
True
Which are predators of the mule deer?
Bobcats
Common predators of mule deer include pumas, coyotes, bobcats, golden eagles, feral dogs, and black bears.
Coyotes
Common predators of mule deer include pumas, coyotes, bobcats, golden eagles, feral dogs, and black bears.
Bears
Common predators of mule deer include pumas, coyotes, bobcats, golden eagles, feral dogs, and black bears.
Eagles
Common predators of mule deer include pumas, coyotes, bobcats, golden eagles, feral dogs, and black bears.
What is a female mule deer called?
Doe
Female mule deer are called does or hinds.
Hind
Female mule deer are called does or hinds.
Jenny
Hinny
In what countries does the mule deer reside?
United States of America
Mule deer have been introduced in Argentina and are natively found in Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America.
Canada
Mule deer have been introduced in Argentina and are natively found in Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America.
Mexico
Mule deer have been introduced in Argentina and are natively found in Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America.
Guatemala
What type of herbivore is the mule deer?
Leaves
Mule deer frequently browse leaves and twigs of trees and shrubs. Green leaves are very succulent and, except for epidermal tissue and structural ribs, consist largely of easily digestible cell contents. Dead and weathered leaves have little protein and high cell-wall values. As a result, they are of very low digestibility. Mule deer also eat acorns, legume seeds, and fleshy fruits, including berries and drupes that have moderate cell-wall levels and are easily digested.
Twigs
Mule deer frequently browse leaves and twigs of trees and shrubs. Green leaves are very succulent and, except for epidermal tissue and structural ribs, consist largely of easily digestible cell contents. Dead and weathered leaves have little protein and high cell-wall values. As a result, they are of very low digestibility. Mule deer also eat acorns, legume seeds, and fleshy fruits, including berries and drupes that have moderate cell-wall levels and are easily digested.
Acorns
Mule deer frequently browse leaves and twigs of trees and shrubs. Green leaves are very succulent and, except for epidermal tissue and structural ribs, consist largely of easily digestible cell contents. Dead and weathered leaves have little protein and high cell-wall values. As a result, they are of very low digestibility. Mule deer also eat acorns, legume seeds, and fleshy fruits, including berries and drupes that have moderate cell-wall levels and are easily digested.
Fruit
Mule deer frequently browse leaves and twigs of trees and shrubs. Green leaves are very succulent and, except for epidermal tissue and structural ribs, consist largely of easily digestible cell contents. Dead and weathered leaves have little protein and high cell-wall values. As a result, they are of very low digestibility. Mule deer also eat acorns, legume seeds, and fleshy fruits, including berries and drupes that have moderate cell-wall levels and are easily digested.
The mule deer is a target for various viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases.
True
The mule deer is a target for various viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases. For example, heavy amounts of gastrointestinal nematodes may cause death in mule deer. This parasitic disease is usually indicative of such predisposing factors as high mule deer density and malnutrition. Infection by the parasitic meningeal worm can cause fatal neurologic disease in mule deer. Livestock may transmit viral diseases to mule deer as seen in foot-and-mouth disease. This infection is characterized by blisters in the mouth, above the hooves, and between the digits.
False
Mule deer are excellent swimmers.
True
Mule deer are excellent swimmers, but water is rarely used as a means of escaping predators.
False
What is the Cedros Island mule deer subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis) listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Vulnerable
Although the entirety of the mule deer species is considered Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, there are subspecies that are in danger of becoming extinct. Most of the mule deer’s subspecies are not threatened, but the Cedros Island subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis) is considered to be Vulnerable, as of 1988.
Least Concern
Near Threatened
Endangered
What is contributing to the survival of the mule deer species?
Habitat Adaptability
The mule deer, as a species, is considered to be Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in light of its adaptability to a wide range of habitats, large populations, occurrence in numerous protected areas, and populations that seem to be relatively stable.
Large, Stable Populations
The mule deer, as a species, is considered to be Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in light of its adaptability to a wide range of habitats, large populations, occurrence in numerous protected areas, and populations that seem to be relatively stable.
Protected Areas
The mule deer, as a species, is considered to be Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in light of its adaptability to a wide range of habitats, large populations, occurrence in numerous protected areas, and populations that seem to be relatively stable.
Lack of Predators
The mule deer has a fixed metabolic rate throughout the seasons.
False
Because nutritious forage is in poor supply for much of the year, the mule deer has an annual cycle of metabolic rates.
True
What is the lifespan of a mule deer?
22 Years
The mule deer has an average lifespan of 22 years in captivity.
12 Years
32 Years
42 Years
In what habitats does the mule deer reside?
Forest
The mule deer is remarkably adaptable and is well adapted to a variety of habitats. The mule deer can be found in temperate forests, savannas, shrublands, scrub habitats, open ranges, grasslands, fields, wetlands, mountainous areas, deserts, semideserts, intertidal shorelines, artificial terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and even habitats with introduced vegetation.
Grassland
The mule deer is remarkably adaptable and is well adapted to a variety of habitats. The mule deer can be found in temperate forests, savannas, shrublands, scrub habitats, open ranges, grasslands, fields, wetlands, mountainous areas, deserts, semideserts, intertidal shorelines, artificial terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and even habitats with introduced vegetation.
Wetlands
The mule deer is remarkably adaptable and is well adapted to a variety of habitats. The mule deer can be found in temperate forests, savannas, shrublands, scrub habitats, open ranges, grasslands, fields, wetlands, mountainous areas, deserts, semideserts, intertidal shorelines, artificial terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and even habitats with introduced vegetation.
Desert
The mule deer can be found in temperate forests, savannas, shrublands, scrub habitats, open ranges, grasslands, fields, wetlands, mountainous areas, deserts, semideserts, intertidal shorelines, artificial terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and even habitats with introduced vegetation.
What is a male mule deer called?
Buck
Male mule deer are called bucks or stags.
Stag
Male mule deer are called bucks or stags.
Jack
Bull
What determines dominance in mule deer?
Large Body Size
Dominance is largely a function of size, with the largest males, which possess the largest antlers, performing most of the copulations.
Large Antlers
Dominance is largely a function of size, with the largest males, which possess the largest antlers, performing most of the copulations.
Dark Pelage
Large Ears
How do females fit in the mule deer social system?
Form Related Clans
The social system of mule deer consists of clans of females related by maternal descent. These clans are the facultative resource defenders.
Disperse as Individuals
Form Unrelated Groups
Regardless of sex, mule deer are generally the same size during their first year.
True
Growth in mule deer during the first year is roughly parallel in males and females.
False
At birth, female mule deer are heavier than males.
False
At birth, mule deer have a mass from two to five kilograms, affected by litter size and sex, with males being heavier than females.
True
What is the population trend of the mule deer?
Stable
The mule deer, as a species, is considered to be Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species in light of its adaptability to a wide range of habitats, large populations, occurrence in numerous protected areas, and populations that seem to be relatively stable.
Increasing
Decreasing
Unknown
What causes mule deer to migrate?
Decreased Temperatures
Seasonal movements involving migrations from higher elevations in summer ranges to lower winter ranges are associated, in part, with decreasing temperatures, severe snowstorms, and snow depths that reduce mobility and food supply. Deep snows ultimately limit useable range to a fraction of the total. Mule deer in the arid southwest may migrate in response to rainfall patterns.
Snow
Seasonal movements involving migrations from higher elevations in summer ranges to lower winter ranges are associated, in part, with decreasing temperatures, severe snowstorms, and snow depths that reduce mobility and food supply. Deep snows ultimately limit useable range to a fraction of the total. Mule deer in the arid southwest may migrate in response to rainfall patterns.
Rain
Seasonal movements are associated, in part, with decreasing temperatures, severe snowstorms, and snow depths that reduce mobility and food supply. Deep snows ultimately limit useable range to a fraction of the total. Mule deer in the arid southwest may migrate in response to rainfall patterns.
Breeding Season
How long is a mule deer’s gestation?
7 Months
The average gestation length for a mule deer is 204 days.
1 Month
3 Months
1 Year
What is the usual litter size of the mule deer?
1-2
The common litter size of the mule deer is two, with mothers in their first or second breeding year most frequently producing singletons.
2-3
3-4
4-5
What threatens the Cedros Island mule deer subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis)?
Low Population Densities
The Cedros Island subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis) is in danger of becoming extinct because its densities are very low on the island where it occurs and predation by feral dogs and poaching are high. Other subspecies that live on islands are also considered endangered.
Feral Dogs
The Cedros Island subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis) is in danger of becoming extinct because its densities are very low on the island where it occurs and predation by feral dogs and poaching are high. Other subspecies that live on islands are also considered endangered.
Poaching
The Cedros Island subspecies (O. h. cerrocensis) is in danger of becoming extinct because its densities are very low on the island where it occurs and predation by feral dogs and poaching are high. Other subspecies that live on islands are also considered endangered.
Habitat Loss
Mule deer are aggressive year-round.
False
The frequency of aggressive behavior between the sexes remains low year round.
True

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Learn More About the Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Mule deer can give birth to 1 or 2 young, but 1st or 2nd time mothers most often have a single fawn.

The common litter size of the mule deer is two, with mothers in their first or second breeding year most frequently producing singletons.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Anderson & Wallmo, 1984; Misuraca, 1999)

Learn More About the Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Mule deer have several distinct strategies for avoiding predators and may choose to hide or move into cover and cautiously outmaneuver the predator.

Common predators of mule deer include pumas, coyotes, bobcats, golden eagles, feral dogs, and black bears.

Mule deer have several distinct strategies for avoiding predators. Once danger is detected, a mule deer may choose to hide or move into cover and cautiously outmaneuver the predator.

The most common strategy is to depart while the predator is still a long way off and move several miles to another area.

At an unacceptably high cost per unit time of locomotion, a mule deer may also choose to rapidly bound uphill, imposing on pursuing predators.

In yet another strategy, the mule deer may bound off and then trot away, stopping frequently to gain information on the disturbance. This initial bounding, combined with release of metatarsal scent that inhibits feeding, is highly advantageous in that, by alarming others, it causes other mule deer to bound off as well, reducing the conspicuousness of the deer who bounded off first. This strategy would also trigger group formation. Finally, when the predator closes in, the deer initiates evasive maneuvers based on sudden unpredictable changes in direction and on placing obstacles between itself and the predator. This strategy, however, does not work against group-hunting predators.

Lastly, mule deer are excellent swimmers, but water is rarely used as a means of escaping predators.


Image | © Tony’s Takes, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Geist, 1981; Misuraca, 1999)

Learn More About the Mule Deer