Odocoileus virginianus yucatanensis
Also called tropical white-tailed deer.
TAXONOMIC NOTES The Central American whitetail category consists of the Yucatán whitetail (yucatanensis), Chiapas whitetail (nelsoni), Nicaragua whitetail (truei), Panama whitetail (chiriquensis), Coiba Island whitetail (rothschildi), the lowland Mexican whitetail (thomasi). The name yucatanensis Hays, 1872 has priority.
DESCRIPTION These are the smallest North American whitetails, with mature bucks usually weighing less than 100 pounds (45 kg)-sometimes much less. Antlers are short, slim, and compact, with the main beams usually growing backward in the plane of the face and the tips curving inward and a little forward. There are usually three points on a side, including brow tines, but sometimes two or four. Brow tines are often relatively long.
The lowland Mexican whitetail (thomasi) is a relatively large race that is more brightly colored than other Mexican and Central American whitetails. General color is bright tawny, with a grizzled golden tint in winter when the coat is longer. Tail is bright tawny on top. Forehead is black, or black and tawny. Usually three antler points to a side, including a brow tine. Found in the Mexican states of Tabasco, Campeche, and Chiapas; and northwestern and southwestern Guatemala.
The Yucatán whitetail (yucatanensis) has a shoulder height of 25-26 inches (64-66 cm). The coat is paler and less tawny than in the lowland and Nicaragua races. Antlers are relatively straight and simple, with few tines. Found in Mexico in Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo.
The Chiapas whitetail (nelsoni) is a small race, 25-26 inches (64-66 cm) at the shoulder, with the general coloration brownish-gray. Tail is tawny on the upper surface, dorsal stripe and crown are blackish, ears are grizzled gray. Small metatarsal glands are present. Antlers are small. Found in the high mountains of central Chiapas in Mexico, and in El Salvador, southern Honduras, and western Nicaragua.
The Nicaragua whitetail (truei) is larger than the two preceding races, with shoulder height of about 32 inches (81 cm). Summer coat is bright chestnut, turning a speckled brownish-gray in winter. Tail is tawny on the upper surface, ears are gray with a large white spot at the base, forehead is dark, and a dusky-brown facial streak extends to the nose. There is a small metatarsal gland. Antlers are small, with 3-4 tines to a side, including relatively long brow tines. Found in southern Quintana Roo and Campeche in Mexico, and in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, most of Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
The Panama whitetail (chiriquensis) occurs in Panama, but we have no other information.
The Coiba Island whitetail (rothschildi) is a very small deer with a generally brown coat, the hairs tipped with fawn, and a darker dorsal line. Tail is fawn-colored on top, with a black tip. No metatarsal glands. Antlers are short, with 2-3 points on a side. Found on Coiba Island, off the Pacific coast of Panama.
DISTRIBUTION Mexico: Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo. Central America: Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama (west and north of the Panama canal).