Invasion Biology

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) is indigenous in Britain but its ancestors are originally from Asia. Red Deer are found in the North West Africa, Asia, North West America, Western Europe and Western China (Wikipedia contributors, 2007). The lifespan of the Red Deer is approximately 25 years. The species is non-indigenous in Argentina and New Zealand. Red Deer is described as a large mammal which is dark red in colour which changes to brown in winter with even-ungulates because of the two toes (Clutton-Brock, Coulson and Milner, 2004). Red Deer are well adapted in New-Zealand while in Africa the population is faced with the extinction.

The species is regarded as one of the dangerous alien species in Argentina because of its negative impacts in the indigenous animals. The species out compete indigenous animals for food. In Scotland, Red deers are preventing the regeneration of the woodlands; this is because the number of Red Deers is in the rise and this can lead to the extinction of the woodlands. Red Deer live in woodlands and swamps of the coniferous forest. Red Deers are accused of spreading diseases to indigenous animals (Senseman, 2002). The diseases which the Red Deer spread include meningeal worms and bovine tuberculosis. The species are also accused of out-competing the native animals because of overbrowsing. Some of the farmers regard the Red Deer as pests because of overbrowsing of their cultivated plants which lead to the loss of production and cause soil erosion when there is precipitation. Red Deer provides people with teeth, food, fur and antlers (Senseman, 2002).

Red Deers feed on leaves, twigs and lichens during winter. The species is recognized by means of its stags. After two years, stags start to make branches that develop into antlers. The components of antlers include solid bones which become shed during April and March. The skin develops all around the solid bones with the blood vessels supplying the blood. The supply of the blood is ended after the antlers grow to its full size. Red Deers create important changes in the structural components of the indigenous ecosystem (Moore, 2005). The regeneration of the forest is also inhibited in the area of low density because of these giant animals.


Coulson, T.; Clutton-Brock, T. H.; and Milner, J. M. (2004). Red deer stocks in
Highlands of Scotland [Online]. [cited January 23, 2007]
Available from:

Moore, A. B. 2005. Alien invasive species: Impacts forests and forestry [Online]. [cited 19 January 2007]. Available from:

Senseman, L. R. (2002). Cervus elaphus [Online]. [cited 18 January 2007]. Available from:

Wikipedia contributors. Red deer [Online]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 21 January 2007, 09:23 UTC (cited 2007 January 23]. Available from:

Peter Muvhali
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Fax: 012 8423676


  • Hey Peter!


    Why is it that Cervus elaphus is able to outcompete indigenous animals?

    Your structure is a bit confusing. Paragraphs should contain only a single core idea - the theme of your second paragraph seems to change from sentence to sentence.

    And given that red deer is an invasive alien in some areas, what steps are being taken to deal with them?

    By Blogger NcK, at January 24, 2007 6:16 PM  

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