SREL Reprint #0889




Morphological Comparisons of Insular and Mainland Populations of Southeastern White-Tailed Deer

I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr. and Mark S. Lenarz



External body measurements were compared among 123 mainland deer from both bottomland swamp and adjoining upland habitats in South Carolina, and 46 deer from a Georgia coastal barrier island.  Island deer of both sexes were smaller in length and weight but had longer hair than mainland deer.  Female deer from the mainland swamp habitat were smaller in length and weight and had shorter flank hair than females from nearby upland habitats.  Male deer from the two mainland habitats showed no differences in either length or weight.  Analyses of variance indicated that island deer of both sexes had proportionally small body circumferences that their mainland counterparts.  Males from the two mainland habitats also differed, with those from the swamp having proportionally larger body circumferences and narrower distances between the eyes.  Mainland females also had significantly larger proportional hind foot lengths than did island females.  Discriminant function analyses indicated broad overlap among male deer from all three locations, whereas island females were clearly separable from females from the two mainland habitats, which broadly overlapped one another.  Body circumference in the case of males and hind foot length in the case of females showed the highest correlations with the discriminant functions for differences between localities.  Differences in body length and weight and hair length paralleled similar differences shown earlier for feral swine from the same island and mainland habitats. These similarities suggest that the differences observed are probably not the result of random genetic drift or founder effect.


SREL Reprint #0889

Brisbin, I.L., Jr. and M.S. Lenarz. 1984. Morphological comparisons of insular and mainland populations of southeastern white tailed deer. Journal of Mammalogy 65:44-50.

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