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Concept: Antler


Schmallenberg virus was detected in cattle and sheep in northwestern Europe in 2011. To determine whether wild ruminants are also susceptible, we measured antibody seroprevalence in cervids (roe deer and red deer) in Belgium in 2010 and 2011. Findings indicated rapid spread among these deer since virus emergence ≈250 km away.

Concepts: Elk, Antler, Roe Deer, Red Deer, Ruminant, Deer


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease found in deer, elk and moose in North America and since recently, wild reindeer in Norway. Caribou are at-risk to encounter CWD in areas such as Alberta, Canada, where the disease spreads towards caribou habitats. CWD susceptibility is modulated by species-specific polymorphisms in the prion protein gene (Prnp). We sequenced Prnp of woodland caribou from nine Albertan populations. In one population (Chinchaga) a significantly higher frequency of the 138N allele linked to reduced CWD susceptibility was observed. These data are relevant for developing CWD management strategies including conservation of threatened caribou populations.

Concepts: Antler, Elk, British Columbia, Prion, Reindeer, Chronic wasting disease, Deer, Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy


Deer antler velvet is widely used as a vitalizing, tonifying, haemopoietic and strengthening agent for debilitated persons in East Asia. To develop a rapid and sensitive method for the identification of the biological source or origin in antler velvet products, a molecular approach was applied using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. The cytochrome b gene sequences of nine cervidae species were analyzed, and a Dde I restriction endonuclease recognition site was found only in sika deer and red deer, the official origin of deer velvet in Chinese pharmacopoeia. A specific primer was designed, and rapid PCR amplified products were subjected to restriction digestion using a fast RFLP procedure. Sika deer and red deer showed two bands of 161 and 102 bp, in contrast to the undigested state of 263 from other antlers. The established PCR-RFLP method was applied in commercial velvet products, and a high frequency of substitution (50%) was revealed in collected commercial samples. The method was successful in detecting contaminated and adulterated antler products in Chinese patent drugs, and the whole detection process was accomplished within 1-1.5 h.

Concepts: Moose, Elk, Molecular biology, Reindeer, Sika Deer, Antler, Red Deer, Deer


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal contagious prion disease in cervids that is enzootic in some areas in North America. The disease has been found in deer, elk and moose in the USA and Canada, and in South Korea following the importation of infected animals. Here we report the first case of CWD in Europe, in a Norwegian free-ranging reindeer in Southern Norway. The origin of the disease is unknown. Until now a low number of cervids, and among them a few reindeer, have been tested for CWD in Norway. Therefore the prevalence of CWD is unknown.

Concepts: Antler, Norway, Moose, Deer, North America, United States, Elk, Chronic wasting disease


Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is the only fully domesticated species in the Cervidae family, and is the only cervid with a circumpolar distribution. Unlike all other cervids, female reindeer regularly grow cranial appendages (antlers, the defining characteristics of cervids), as well as males. Moreover, reindeer milk contains more protein and less lactose than bovids' milk. A high quality reference genome of this species will assist efforts to elucidate these and other important features in the reindeer.

Concepts: Red Deer, Moose, Domestication, Elk, Capreolinae, Antler, Deer, Reindeer


Neandertals disappeared from Europe just after 40,000 years ago. Some hypotheses ascribe this to numerous population crashes associated with glacial cycles in the late Pleistocene. The goal of this paper is to test the hypothesis that glacial periods stressed Neandertal populations. If cold climates stressed Neandertals, their subsistence behaviors may have changed-requiring intensified use of prey through more extensive nutrient extraction from faunal carcasses. To test this, an analysis of Neandertal butchering was conducted on medium sized bovid/cervid remains composed of predominately red deer (Cervus elaphus), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), and roe deer (Capreolus caprelous) deposited during global warm and cold phases from two French sites: Pech de l'Azé IV (Pech IV, Bordes' excavation) and Roc de Marsal (RDM). Analysis of surface modification on high survival long bones and proximal and middle phalanges demonstrates that skeletal elements excavated from the cold levels (RDM Level 4, Pech IV Level I2) at each cave have more cut marks and percussion marks than elements from the warm levels (RDM Level 9, Pech IV Level Y-Z) after controlling for fragment size. At both sites, epiphyseal fragments are rare, and although this pattern can result from carnivore consumption, carnivore tooth marks are almost nonexistent (<0.1%). Alternatively, processing epiphyseal ends for bone grease may have been a Neandertal survival strategy, and epiphyses were more intensively percussed in cold levels than in warm levels at both RDM and Pech IV. The exploitation of low marrow yield elements such as phalanges does not show a consistent pattern relating to climate, but may have been a general Neandertal behavioral characteristic, suggesting that these hominids were regularly on the edge of sufficient nutrient availability even during interglacials. Overall, the faunal assemblages from Roc de Marsal and Pech IV provide some support for the hypothesis that Neandertals were processing faunal remains more heavily during glacial periods, suggesting a response to increased nutritional stress during colder time periods.

Concepts: Antler, Reindeer, Pleistocene, Deer


BackgroundA putative new species of Varestrongylus has been recently recognized in wild North American ungulates based on the ITS-2 sequences of larvae isolated from feces during a wide geographic survey. No taxonomic description was provided, as adult specimens were not examined.MethodsLungworm specimens were collected in the terminal bronchioles of muskoxen from Quebec, and a woodland caribou from central Alberta, Canada. The L3 stage was recovered from experimentally infected slugs (Deroceras spp.). Description of specimens was based on comparative morphology and integrated approaches. Molecular identity was determined by PCR and sequencing of the ITS-2 region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA, and compared to other protostrongylids.Results Varestrongylus eleguneniensis sp. n. is established for a recently discovered protostrongylid nematode found in caribou (Rangifer tarandus), muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) and moose (Alces americanus); hosts that collectively occupy an extensive geographic range across northern North America. Adults of Varestrongylus eleguneniensis are distinguished from congeners by a combination of characters in males (distally bifurcate gubernaculum, relatively short equal spicules not split distally, a strongly elongate and bifurcate dorsal ray, and an undivided copulatory bursa) and females (reduced provagina with hood-like fold extending ventrally across prominent genital protuberance). Third-stage larvae resemble those found among other species in the genus. The genus Varestrongylus is emended to account for the structure of the dorsal ray characteristic of V. eleguneniensis, V. alpenae, V. alces and V. longispiculatus.ConclusionsHerein we describe and name V. eleguneniensis, a pulmonary protostrongylid with Rangifer tarandus as a primary definitive host, and which secondarily infects muskoxen and moose in areas of sympatry. Biogeographic history for V. eleguneniensis and V. alpenae, the only two endemic species of Varestrongylus known from North America, appears consistent with independent events of geographic expansion with cervid hosts from Eurasia into North America during the late Pliocene and Quaternary.

Concepts: United States, Moose, Reindeer, Trapping pit, Antler, Finland, Capreolinae, Deer


Bone and antler collagen δ(13) C and δ(15) N values are often assumed to be equivalent when measured in palaeodietary, palaeoclimate and palaeocological studies. Although compositionally similar, bone grows slowly and is remodelled whereas antler growth is rapid and remodelling does not occur. These different patterns of growth could result in isotopic difference within antler and between the two tissue types. Here we test whether red deer (Cervus elaphus) bone and antler δ(13) C and δ(15) N values are equivalent, and whether intra-antler isotopic values are uniform.

Concepts: Elk, Red Deer, Antler, Deer


Reported incidents of the use of nutritional supplements containing deer antler velvet by athletes has increased significantly in recent years. The supplements have been reported to contain insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is a banned substance included on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list. The presence of deer and human IGF-1 was tested in six commercially available supplements.

Concepts: Reindeer, Deer, Growth hormone, Antler, World Anti-Doping Agency, Insulin-like growth factor 1


Phylogenetic relationships of tapeworms of the genus Moniezia Blanchard, 1891 (Cestoda, Anoplocephalidae) parasitizing the Eurasian elk Alces alces, the moose A. americanus and the reindeer/caribou Rangifer tarandus (Cervidae) were studied using DNA sequences of two mitochondrial genes (cox1 and nad1). Several isolates from domestic ruminants, representing Moniezia expansa (Rudolphi, 1810) sensu lato and M. benedeni (Moniez, 1879) sensu lato, and one unidentified isolate from an African antelope, were also included in the analysis. Both genes identified the same six species of Moniezia, but interspecific phylogenetic relationships were better resolved by the nad1 data. The six species of Moniezia comprised two main clades: clade 1 that originates in bovids, with subsequent colonization of northern cervids in Eurasia, and clade 2 that originates in northern cervids, with subsequent specific divergence within these hosts. Clade 2 has a Holarctic distribution. None of the Moniezia specimens in Alces and Rangifer was conspecific with the species in domestic ruminants, suggesting that the custom of identifying Moniezia spp. in northern cervids either as M. expansa or M. benedeni is incorrect. At least two of the species parasitizing Alces and Rangifer have not been previously recognized. These findings challenge the results of all previous studies concerning the diversity and ecology of Moniezia spp. in northern cervids. The traditional classification into three subgenera (Moniezia Blanchard, 1891, Blanchariezia Skrjabin & Schultz, 1937 and Baeriezia Skrjabin & Schultz, 1937), based on the presence and type of interproglottidal glands, conflicts with the currently observed molecular phylogenetic relationships within the genus Moniezia.

Concepts: Biological classification, Antler, Phylogenetics, Reindeer, Capreolinae, Moose, Elk, Deer