More lipstick on deer than on antelopes



Aepyceros melampus photo © Muhammad Mahdi Karim


The mouths of antelopes, such as impalas, tend to be less marked with dark and pale patterns than those of comparable deer, such as the chital. This is in keeping with the tendency of deer to be more vocal than antelopes. Whereas subtle accentuations of the mouth in antelopes may aid the monitoring of cud-chewing for collective vigilance, the striking markings in deer may emphasise the opening of the mouth to produce squeals, screams, hoots or barks.


Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016