Hippocamelus antisensis (d’Orbigny, ) is a cervid commonly called taruca or taruka and is 1 of 2 species in the genus Hippocamelus. It is a medium-sized. Tarucas (Hippocamelus antisensis) live in rocky areas in the Andes, from northern Peru to northern Argentina. Microhistological analyses on. Learn more about the Taruca – with amazing Taruca photos and facts on Arkive.

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Tarucas Hippocamelus antisensis live in rocky areas in the Andes, from northern Peru to northern Argentina. Microhistological analyses on their feeding ecology during the rainy and dry seasons were done at a National Park and a Landscape Reserve. The diet antsiensis diverse and more than 50 species were identified from the feces. In the dry season, around 50 species were identified as eaten by tarucas, mostly dicotyledonous.

The main species consumed in both seasons were Werneria nubigenaPoa gymnanthaSenecio comosusand Ephedra americana. The ecological density was an intermediate value compared to other observed values in Peru.

Taruca videos, photos and facts – Hippocamelus antisensis | Arkive

This is the first study to find the importance of grasses for tarucas, selected when soft, during the rainy season. There is a change in the palatable offer of food items during the rainy season, when most of the Gramineae species are tender. Tarucas live along the Puna grassland biome [ 1245 ], and there is hippcamelus marked breeding season during the austral and rainy summer season in the Andes [ 1 ].

In Peru, taruca shares its habitat with wild and domestic ungulates [ 6 ]. However, domestic ungulates might both compete with taruca for food and space affecting their populations [ 7 ] and modify the landscape, adding disturb on taruca populations.

Cattle presence was identified as negative for the taruca related to space displacement [ 7 antisdnsis. A trustworthy assessment of the variety of foods consumed angisensis taruca is essential to understand its ecology and to assess the threats generated by human activities such as cattle and sheep ranching.

Data from direct observations indicate that tarucas mainly feed on small dicotyledon plants that grow near the ground instead of the abundant Andean bunch-grasses, especially during the dry antisesis [ 61011 ]. Year-round collection of pellets at Parinacota, northern Chile, only identified Gramineae species in pellets collected during the rainy season [ 5 ], but in an antisesis percentage. Here we widen the scope on taruca feeding ecology during the rainy season in the southern part of Huascaran National Park, Peru, and provide data on its feeding ecology during the nonbreeding dry season at a sheep production ranch inside the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve, Peru, and on the relative use of tarucas of areas in its patchy distribution.

The increase of the understanding of taruca nutrition, as well as the determination of continuous and temporal use of areas, will increase the effectiveness of ecologists and wildlife managers by providing antisensiis diet and occupation pattern that can be compared to domestic ungulates in the area and determine if animal husbandry is also displacing this native deer.

One large area in Quebrada Rajucolta, south of Huascaran National Park in Marchand eight 8 different areas were sampled in the Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve from June 26th to July 10th, ; pellet and vegetation samples were collected from all areas. The landscape is dominated by high altitude rolling hills mostly covered by bunch grasses, alternated with steep slopes, where rocky areas dominate.

Among the methodologies used to evaluate ruminant diets, the most convenient for low density and shy wild ungulates is based on fecal microhistological analysis [ 1314 ]. The microhistological procedures in the lab for the analysis of both the vegetative samples and the pellet samples follow protocols that had been already used by the main author [ 12 ] and are based on procedures intensively used to determine the botanical composition of the diets of North American herbivore species [ 15 — 18 ].

These procedures allow measuring plant species percentages in the diet of specific ungulates by determining the percentages of plant tissues found in the samples [ 1920 ]. This technique needs previous training on the epidermic characteristics of the plant species present in the study area and knowledge on plant tissues [ 21 — 23 ]. Most different plant species and fresh taruca pellet groups were collected from the study area. Eighty samples of plants were collected in the field and identified in the lab.


Plant species were later identified at the herbarium of the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina and classified based on the Magnoliophyta classification system from Cronquist [ 24 ].

International Journal of Zoology

Some species of the families Poaceae, Asteraceae, and Ajtisensis were identified by experts on those families. Tissue fragments were anitsensis from the plant samples to build a reference pattern with tissues from the epidermis of all species collected. The tissues were photographed through the microscope to create the reference pattern e.

Twenty-five fresh pellet groups were collected from all visited areas, so that they will correspond to the dry season. Old dry pellets were not collected, as would be difficult to determine deposition dates. In the lab, a single pellet was selected from each pellet group Figure 3.

The pellet samples were treated in the Animal Physiology Laboratory at the La Molina National Agrarian University, Lima, to eliminate mucous content and purify remnant fragments of epidermis tissue from the digestive process. The protocol elaborated by Cosse [ 27 ] was followed in this case. Amtisensis protocol considers the use of sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite.

Taruca or Andean deer (Hippocamelus antisensis) in habitat, Peru.

It has been proved that both substances improve the amount of identifiable fragments [ 162829 ]. The resulting mix was centrifuged at maximum speed for 5 seconds and the overfloating was discarded. A squared slide was used for the observation and analysis of the fragments. Antusensis each hipocamelus, three repetitions were done, dropping 3—5 drops of safranin solution per repetition. The slides were observed through a binocular microscope with 40 and x magnification. The identification antidensis the fragment was realized comparing the structures with the reference pattern elaborated previously.

The fragments were counted with systematic sweeps along the length and width of the slide to avoid duplication, as it was suggested by Green [ 30 ]. The rough topography makes transect techniques very difficult in this area, considering the complication of installing transects in a random or systematic pattern, as recommended by Buckland et al.

The density was estimated by the population size of tarucas in each area number of different individuals sighted plus the ones inferred by tracksdivided antisenssis the area used. Areas with continuous use were defined by the presence of tracks at least from five days. Fifty-seven plant antisenxis out of around 65 plant species present in the area and one hundred and one pellet groups were collected in Quebrada Rajucolta, Huascaran National Park in the yearto use them for the microhistological analysis.

Given that only 14 pellets were needed to stabilize the accumulation curve of new species, a smaller sample of pellets was used in Then, fifty-four plant species and twenty-five pellet groups were collected in the field and used for hippofamelus microhistological analysis. These species correspond to four plant divisions, at least to 15 families and more than 50 species Table 1. Twenty-five pellet groups were collected in the field in A total of 20 samples were analyzed in and 17 in However, after the fourteenth sample no new species were found in the feces in the data and after the eighth in the data Figure 4.

A probability analysis to test the antisenssis on finding new species in the diet resulted in 1.

Therefore, 17 was an adequate number to analyze. A total of fragments were identified from antisnesis tissues atisensis in the rainy season of A total of 5, fragments were identified from the tissues collected from the feces in the dry season of The identified structures included pollen grains, epidermis, and pteridophyte sporangia. From these fragments, corresponded to nonanalyzed pollen grains. The 5, remaining fragments included unidentified ones, left as NN. The identified tissues in the fragments added 5, A total of fragments corresponded to the vegetative divisions Bryophyta mosses and Pteridophyta ferns.

In these two cases, the identification was done only to division level, given the similarity of the remains in the species of each division.


Most of the fragments were identified to species level; however, in some few cases, the identification only reached genus or family 1 case. The only Gnetophyta, Ephedra americanais probably the easiest species to identify when looking at the tissues, and its percentage in the diet is probably the best estimate among all the species.

The diet was diverse and over 50 species were identified antisensiz the feces collected in both seasons. Although mosses Bryophyta were not identified to genus or family anhisensis, as a group they were a very important part of the diet in both seasons, with around 4—7.

Some tissues were identified from plants collected elsewhere. It is important to notice that most of the species of plants found and collected in the field were represented in the diet. This indicates that the taruca does not have a specialized antisensia on few plant species or on a specific group of plants.

However, its diet seems to be specialized on palatable species, changing preferences based on availability throughout the year, and then, the taruca might be a selective species if its diet is based only on tender and nutritious parts of the plants. Most of the genera were not circumscribed to the distribution of the taruca. As was already explained, the estimation of plant abundances does not allow for calculations on food preferences by the taruca given that plant species ingestion is not proportional to defecation [ 32 ].

There is uneven fragmentation of different species during the digestion. Tarucas, or taruca signs, were found in all areas sampled. In Quebrada Rajucolta at Huascaran National Park there were fresh tracks every sampling dates, indicating continuous use by the species. Four of the sampled areas showed continuous use by the tarucas: In total, seventeen tarucas were observed directly in five separate observations during the dry season, and at least other ten were inferred from tracks.

All observations, tracks, and pellets occurred at more than meters above sea level, up to meters. The availability and distribution of the habitat used are based on the presence anrisensis basic resources such as food, water and cover, and adaptation to the physical and weather conditions [ 33 ].

The areas that showed occasional use included topography antissnsis habitat characteristics that did not correspond with areas usually occupied by tarucas.

The areas hppocamelus by tarucas were mainly composed of rocky areas jippocamelus steep slopes Figure 5. This habitat type has been defined as the preferred by the species [ 46 ]. This density can be considered a usual value for areas under no or only moderate illegal hunting [ 6 ].

Currently, illegal hunting seems to be infrequent in the Landscape Reserve, as some cartridges and horse tracks were found in two of the areas with continuous use by tarucas but unimportant in the National Park.

There is space displacement of tarucas by cattle, as has been found in Rio Abiseo National Park [ 7 ], but no analysis on feeding competition has been done between domestic stock and tarucas.

ADW: Hippocamelus antisensis: INFORMATION

More data on vegetation throughout the year and on the distribution range of the taruca and analyses on feeding preferences are needed to determine the changes of plant species offer and preferences throughout the year. We have to recognize that there is a change in the palatable offer of food items during the rainy season, when most of the Gramineae species are tender. The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper. And last but not least, thanks are due to the local people that accompanied us in the field.

International Journal of Zoology. Subscribe to Table of Contents Alerts. Table of Contents Alerts. Abstract Tarucas Hippocamelus antisensis live in rocky areas in the Andes, from northern Peru to northern Argentina.

Map of research hipppcamelus. Buff shadowed area in Huascaran National Park and light pink shadowed areas in Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve are the areas where plant and feces were collected. Pellet group collected hippocaamelus the field, only one was later selected by chance. The pen cap is displayed for size comparison.