views updated May 14 2018

Moschidae (musk-deer; infra-order Pecora, superfamily Cervoidea) A family of small ruminants, including Moschus (musk-deer) and its fossil relatives, that differ from Cervidae, in which they were once included, in many anatomical features. Musk-deer are characterized by skeletal specializations for ‘pogo-stick’ jumping, by possession in the male of deep inguinal scent pouches and large, recurved and slightly movable maxillary canine teeth. The five or six living species have thick, quilly pelage, large ears, and very long legs. They are found in the Himalayas, China, and Siberia, especially in mountainous country. Most species are threatened by hunting for the product of the males' scent glands, ‘musk’, that is used in perfumes.

musk deer

views updated Jun 11 2018

musk deer • n. a small solitary deerlike eastern Asian mammal (genus Moschus, family Moschidae) without antlers, the male having long protruding upper canine teeth. Musk is produced in a sac on the abdomen of the male.