- Art Gallery -


Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Theria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Superordo: Cetartiodactyla
Ordo: Artiodactyla
Subordo: Ruminantia
Familia: Moschidae
Genus: Moschus


Moschidae Gray, 1821

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Moschushirsche
English: Musk deer
Français: Cerfs Porte-musc
עברית: איילי מושק
한국어: 사향노루과
Português: Cervo-almiscarado
Svenska: Myskhjortar
Türkçe: Misk geyiğigiller
Українська: Кабаргові


* Moschidae on Mammal species of the World.
* Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 2 Volume Set edited by Don E. Wilson, DeeAnn M. Reeder


Musk deer are artiodactyls of the genus Moschus, the only genus of family Moschidae. They are more primitive than the cervids, or true deer, in not having antlers or facial glands, in having only a single pair of teats, and in possessing a gall bladder, a caudal gland, a pair of tusk-like teeth and—of particular economic importance to humans—a musk gland. Moschids live mainly in forested and alpine scrub habitats in the mountains of southern Asia notably Himalayas.

Musk deer resemble small deer with a stocky build, and hind legs longer than their front legs. They are approximately 80-100 cm in length, 50-70 cm tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 7 and 17 kg. The feet of musk deer are adapted for climbing in rough terrain. Like the Chinese Water Deer, a cervid, they have no antlers, but the males do have enlarged upper canines, forming sabre-like tusks. The dental formula is similar to that of true deer:Upper:, lower:

The musk gland is found only in adult males. It lies in a sac located between the genitals and the umbilicus, and its secretions are most likely used to attract mates.

Musk deer are herbivores, living in hilly, forested environments, generally far from human habitation. Like true deer, they eat mainly leaves, flowers, and grasses, with some mosses and lichens. They are solitary animals, and maintain well-defined territories, which they scent mark with their caudal glands. Musk deer are generally shy, and either nocturnal, or crepuscular.

Males leave their territories during the rutting season, and compete for mates, using their tusks as weapons. Female musk deer give birth to a single fawn after about 150-180 days. The newborn young are very small, and essentially motionless for the first month of their life, a feature that helps them remain hidden from predators.[1]

Musk deer may be a surviving representative of the Palaeomerycidae, a family of ruminants that is probably ancestral to deer. They first appeared in the early Oligocene epoch and disappeared in the Pliocene. Most species lacked antlers, though some were found in later species. The musk deer are however still placed in a separate family.


1. ^ Frädrich, Hans (1984). Macdonald, D.. ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 518–519. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.

External links

* Guha S, Goyal SP, Kashyap VK. (2007). Molecular phylogeny of musk deer(KASTURI MIRG): A genomic view with mitochondrial 16S rRNA and cytochrome b gene.Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2007 Mar;42(3):585-97.PMID: 17158073. [1]

* Hassanin A, Douzery EJ.(2003. Molecular and morphological phylogenies of ruminantia and the alternative position of the moschidae. Syst Biol. 2003 Apr;52(2):206-28. PMID: 12746147. [2]

* The New Student's Reference Work/Musk-Deer

Biology Encyclopedia

Mammals Images

Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License