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Tandem fusion of chromosomes has occurred during the evolution of Muntiacus permitting hybridization between species of widely differing chromosome number Yang et al. Reproductive Biology Muntjac are polygynous so a male has the opportunity to mate with any doe coming into oestrus whose home range overlaps with his.
The gestation period is days and females give birth to a single fawn; twin foetuses do occur but are rare Chapman, Most strikingly and of most significance in relation to invasiveness, muntjac are aseasonal breeders, breeding throughout the year.
Fawns are born in any month with no obvious peak Chapman et al. There is a post-partum oestrus, so that a female often conceives within a few days of parturition. A female can be almost continuously pregnant over many years. Age at puberty is also very low. First conception in captive animals can occur at months of age, more usually at 7 months or later Chapman, Feeding and Nutrition Muntjac are concentrate selectors sensu Hofmann, , i.
As a result they are primarily browsers rather than grazers, but also select herbs and forbs of high nitrogen content, as well as fruit.
In deciduous woods, leaves and flowers of many species and shoots are selected, causing changes in the composition of flora and the habitat structure, with loss of biodiversity Cooke, , ; Symonds, , Tabor, Other foods changed seasonally with ivy, ferns, fungi, broad-leaved trees and shrubs, nuts and other fruits all being important.
Grasses were a significant food only briefly in spring and in some winters when preferred foods were in short supply Harris and Forde, ; Keeling Social Organization and Behaviour Muntjac are basically solitary animals.
The vast majority of sightings are of adults or subadults of either sex alone. Observations and radio-tracking of marked animals have shown that a particular mature male and adult female may frequently be together over several years but this does not indicate a life-bond as changes in associations occur, or several may occur concurrently Chapman, Adult males are territorial, with defended home ranges; these seldom overlap with those of other males.
Ranges of adult males however tend to be larger than those of females and thus may encompass or overlap the ranges of several females. Females are less territorial but core areas of the range remain exclusive and aggressive chasing toward intruding individuals has been observed Chapman et al. Muntjac have prominent preorbital glands and scent marking is an important form of communication.
Males use facial glands more than females, and dominant males more than subordinates Barrette, The pre-orbital gland may be opened, or even everted Barrette, , and the secretions wiped against twigs in territory marking Dubost, Muntjac are also vocal deer, making loud, single barks which may be repeated.
Muntjac also utter a loud scream when alarmed which, given their otherwise secretive nature, is often a good first indicator that an area has been colonized by muntjac.
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