Species & Subspecies

A number of taxonomists have endeavored to divide white-tailed deer in to a range of subspecies, derived mainly in morphological variances. Genetic research studies, on the other hand, show far fewer subspecies within the animal’s range, as compared to the 30 to 40 subspecies that many researchers detailed in the last hundred years. The Florida Key deer, O. virginianus clavium, and the Columbian white-tailed deer, O. virginianus leucurus, are each specified as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. In the USA, the Virginia white-tail, O. virginianus virginianus, is one of the most wide-spread subspecies. The white-tailed deer species has incredible genetic variation and is extremely versatile to numerous ecosystems.


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Various regional deer populations, most especially in the southern states, are descended from white-tailed deer resettled from a variety of locales east of the Continental Divide. Many of these deer populations could have been from as far to the north as the Great Lakes area to as far to the west as Texas, but are also relatively at home throughout the Appalachian and Piedmont areas of the southern states. The deer gradually have interweaved with the local area native deer (O. virginianus and/or O. virginianus macrourus) populations.

Central and South America have an intricate amount of white-tailed deer subspecies which stretch from Guatemala as far to the south as Peru. This particular list of subspecies of deer is far more extensive compared to the list of North American subspecies, and the amount of subspecies is also questionable. However, the white-tailed deer populations in these particular regions are very difficult to research, because of overhunting in several parts and a lack of safeguards. A number of regions no longer have deer, so it is complicated to evaluate the inherited variation of these animals.

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