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Variation in skull morphology of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in western and central Europe

AuthorsAragón, Santiago; Braza, Francisco ; San José, Cristina; Fandos, Paulino
Issue Date1998
PublisherAmerican Society of Mammalogists
CitationJournal of Mammalogy 79: 131- 140 (1998)
AbstractVariation in 21 measurements of skulls of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) from eight geographic samples covering most of the range of the species in Europe was studied to assess morphological differences among populations. A total of 266 skulls of adult roe deer (133 females, 133 males) was included in the analysis; sexes were studied separately. Despite the occurrence of roe deer in a wide variety of habitats, variations in skull morphology among populations were not acute. Length of skull was the principal factor of interpopulational variability in roe deer. Variation was not distributed along clines of latitude, longitude, or elevation, but those factors did influence variation through effects on primary production, which in turn caused isolated differences in skull morphology apparently related to types of forage selected by roe deer in various geographic areas. Morphological and adaptative variation in skulls of roe deer suggested the existence of ecotypes rather than subspecies.
Identifiersissn: 0022-2372
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