Sika (Cervus nippon nippon)

21 February 2019. Betsukai–Cape Notsuke Lighthouse, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan

This species retains spots into adulthood, an evolutionary process known as neoteny. However the spots are extremely faint in the Japanese population and barely evident in this image. Also known as “Spotted Deer” or the “Japanese Deer,” the Sika ranges through East Asia. It has declined markedly in much of the mainland, but the Japanese population on Hokkaido is healthy. Sometimes regarded as “overabundant,” efforts to cull the population have been implemented in some places. Population increases have been attributed to the extirpation of its main predator, the wolf. Canon PowerShot SX60.


  • john wright

    The spotting is more obvious in their summer coat – well that’s certainly true for the introduced Sika Deer living wild in the UK in the UK.

  • Conuropsis

    Again, nice photos. We saw the Honshu ssp. in Nikko N.P. at Lake Chusenji, but I would love to see this ssp. In the U.S. we have them in the Chincoteague N.W.R. and surrounding lands and a few other places in the country, but I don’t know which ssp. it is. I do know it does not have spots in summer at least the ones I have seen don’t.


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