DOI: 10.3390/ani14030420 ISSN: 2076-2615

A Review of Cervidae Visual Ecology

Blaise A. Newman, Gino J. D’Angelo
  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology

This review examines the visual systems of cervids in relation to their ability to meet their ecological needs and how their visual systems are specialized for particular tasks. Cervidae encompasses a diverse group of mammals that serve as important ecological drivers within their ecosystems. Despite evidence of highly specialized visual systems, a large portion of cervid research ignores or fails to consider the realities of cervid vision as it relates to their ecology. Failure to account for an animal’s visual ecology during research can lead to unintentional biases and uninformed conclusions regarding the decision making and behaviors for a species or population. Our review addresses core behaviors and their interrelationship with cervid visual characteristics. Historically, the study of cervid visual characteristics has been restricted to specific areas of inquiry such as color vision and contains limited integration into broader ecological and behavioral research. The purpose of our review is to bridge these gaps by offering a comprehensive review of cervid visual ecology that emphasizes the interplay between the visual adaptations of cervids and their interactions with habitats and other species. Ultimately, a better understanding of cervid visual ecology allows researchers to gain deeper insights into their behavior and ecology, providing critical information for conservation and management efforts.

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