Most likely, the red deer Cervus elaphus Linnaeus, 1758 from the Bosco della Mesola Nature Reserve are the last autochthonous red deer in the Italian peninsula. In the 20th century, they nearly became extinct and have only recently recovered to higher numbers (at least c. 150 head in 2010). Apart from their historical relevance to the Italian fauna, they are also evolutionarily distinct at both the genetic and the morphological level. However, taxonomically, they are classified as part of the Central European red deer subspecies (Cervus elaphus hippelaphus), which encompasses most of the red deer from the European mainland. While we are fully aware of the high degree of arbitrariness of subspecific designations, it is also a fact that taxonomic recognition supports conservation, because subspecies are a legal category whereas other designations (such as evolutionarily significant units, ESUs) are not. We therefore argue that the Mesola red deer should be assigned to a subspecies of their own, and give an official description of Cervus elaphus italicus nova ssp., including the designation of a holo- and a paratype specimen. Given the evolutionary status of the Mesola red deer, subspecific recognition is certainly much better founded than is the case for many other so-called subspecies in present red deer taxonomy. © 2014 Unione Zoologica Italiana.
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|Titolo:||The unique Mesola red deer of Italy: Taxonomic recognition (Cervus elaphus italicus nova ssp., Cervidae) would endorse conservation#|
|Rivista:||THE ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY|
|Citazione:||Zachos, F.E., Mattioli, S., Ferretti, F., & Lorenzini, R. (2014). The unique Mesola red deer of Italy: Taxonomic recognition (Cervus elaphus italicus nova ssp., Cervidae) would endorse conservation#. THE ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 81(1), 136-143.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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