CHARACTERIZATION OF PANTANEIRO CATTLE IN BRAZIL
PHENOTYPICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF PANTANEIRO
CATTLE IN BRAZIL
CARACTERIZACION FENOTIPICA DEL BOVINO PANTANEIRO
EN EL BRASIL
Mazza, M.C.M.*, C.A.S. Mazza*, J.R.S. Sereno*, S.A. Santos* and A.C. Moura**
* EMBRAPA-CPAP. C. Postal 109. 79320-900 Corumbá MS .Brazil
** UNESP-FMVZ. 18600 Botucatu SP. Brazil
Additional Keywords Palabras clave adicionales
Phenotype. Criollo cattle. Genetic resources,. Fenotipos. Bovinos criollos. Recursos genéticos.
Conservation. Rare breed. Beef cattle. Conservación. Raza autóctona. Bovino de carne.
The remaining populations of Pantaneiro cattleThe spanish cattle breeds brought by settlers
are quite similar to those described at the be-reaching the Pantanal later joined portuguese
ginning of this centu-ry, maintaining some pheno-breeds and their descendants formed a local
typical characteristics of old spanish and portu-breed called Pantaneiro, Cuiabano or Tucura
guese cattle. Pantaneiro bovine closely resemblescattle. Through natural selection and evolutio-
the Criollo of Beni (Bolivia) and the Casanarenary processes, these cattle adapted to the eco-
o o (Colombia).logical conditions of the Pantanal (16 -22 S and
o o55 -58 W), a floodplain in the upper Paraguay
river basin. Since the beginning of this century,
these populations have been gradually substituted RESUMEN
by Zebu cattle, placing this genetic resource in
danger of extinction. The Pantanal Agricultural Las primeras razas bovinas, traídas al Pantanal
Research Center (CPAP-EMBRAPA) founded a por los colonizadores y más tarde las portugue-
conservation bank at its experimental station at sas y sus descendientes, formaron una raza local:
the Pantanal (Nhumirim Ranch). bovino Pantanero, Tucura o Cuiabano. A través
Literature on the subject is very scarce; de la selección natural y de los procesos evoluti-
thsome publications from the beginning of the 20 vos estos bovinos se adaptaron a las condiciones
ocentury describe the Pantaneiro cattle as small climáticas e hidrológicas del Pantanal (16-22 S y
osized with short red or brown hair with lighter 55-58 O) - región inundable del río Paraguay.
coloration on the back; short and thin horns, Desde comienzo del siglo, la introducción de
upturned and pointed to the front; white ring ganado Cebú, ha puesto a estos recursos genéti-
around the snout and a lighter circle around the cos en peligro de extinción. El Centro de Pesqui-
theyes. However, since the end of the 19 century, sa Agropecuária do Pantanal (CPAP-EMBRAPA)
interbreeding, mainly with the Franqueiro cattle fundó un banco de conservación en su estación
(descendant from portuguese breeds, formed in experimental en el Pantanal (hacienda Nhumirim).
Minas Gerais, Brazil) and the Zebu has occurred. La literatura sobre el asunto es muy escasa;
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p.477Arch. Zootec. 41 (extra): 477-484. 1992.MAZZA et al.
a comienzos del siglo 20 describen al bovino Pan- THE PHENOTYPICAL CHARAC-
tanero como: tamaño reducido, piel gruesa, pelo TERISTICS OF THE PANTA-
corto, de color castaño o rojo, con tendencia a NEIRO CATTLE
clarear en el dorso, cuernos cortos y finos, vol-
viendo para adelante y encima, anillo blanco alre- The Pantanal is a sedimentar
dedor del hocico y un círculo más claro en torno plain located in the Paraguay river
a los ojos. basin (from 80 to 160 m above sea
Desde el final del siglo 19 se ha cruzado con level). The total area is about 140.000
o otras razas, principalmente ganado Franqueiro km , between 16 and 22 S and 55
(descendiente de razas portuguesas, formado en and 58 W. The interaction between
Minas Gerais, Brasil) y Cebu. Las poblaciones ac- climatic, hydrologic, geologic and
tuales son muy semejantes a las descritas al inicio geomorphologic factors is associated
del siglo y aun con características de las razas ori- with a large complexity of habitats
ginales españolas y portuguesas. También tiene and biodiversity. The organisms re-
cierta semejanza fenotípica con el criollo del Beni cently introduced into this environ-
(Bolivia) y con el Casanare de Colombia. ment are subjected to several extreme
physical factors such as: high solar
INTRODUCTION radiation; high thermic amplitud
(ranging from 0 C in winter to 40
The first spanish cattle breed in summer); high water level fluctua-
brought by settlers at the Pantanal, tion altering the area of food availabi-
later joined with portuguese breeds lity; and biological factors such as pa-
and their descendants, to form a local rasites, predator and other interacting
breed: the Pantaneiro cattle Cuiabano species. All these patterns in the envi-
or Tucura . Through natural selection ronment (Ricklefs, 1979), mold the
and evolutionary processes, these cattle adaptations that are the structure and
adapted to the ecological conditions function of the organism.
of the Pantanal, in Brazil. However, Studies on european breeds in tro-
since the beginning of this century, pical environments show that an in-
has been gradually substituted by Ze- crease in temperature up to 30 or 40
bu cattle, placing this genetic resource C increases the respiratory and heart
in danger of extinction. The Pantanal beat frequency and decreases th
Agricultural Research Centre (CPAP- food ingestion and milk production
EMBRAPA) established a conserva- (Güntler et al., 1987; Müller, 1979).
tion nucleus in situ at the Pantanal Throughout evolution, natural selec-
(Nhumirim Ranch). tion has led to the retention of those
The purpose of this study is to de- characteristics which ensure its greater
termine the phenotypical pattern of reproductive success than other orga-
the Pantaneiro cattle, for the period nisms in the same environment. These
in which historic data are available adaptations include changes in mor-
and to analyze the remaining popu- phology, biochemistry and behaviour,
lations including the Nhumirim herd. and are passed from one generation to
the next (Black 1983).
HISTORICAL RECOVERY OF From the adaptation process and
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p.478
, CHARACTERIZATION OF PANTANEIRO CATTLE IN BRAZIL
natural selection of the european cat- from dark yellow on the back to black
tle populations in the ecological condi- on the legs, while at the ventral area,
tions of the Pantanal, arose a local ty- between the legs, it is white. The hair
pe, according to Lisboa (1909) it is a is thin and silky and very uniform.
breed characteristic of the Paragua
plain, regionally called Pantaneiro or OTHER BREEDS INTRODUCED
Cuiabano and nowadays name INTO THE PANTANAL
Tucura , which Cotrim (1913) called
generically as Curraleiro cattle. According to Lisboa (1909), Fran-
Literature on the phenotypical cha- queiro was the breed which most
racterization of Pantaneiro cattle is influenced the Pantaneiro, in the be-
thvery scarce, particularly from th ginning of 20 century; the Franqueiro
th th17 to the 19 centuries. In the be- itself was a crossbreed of european
thginning of the 20 century, Lisboa cattle (mainly portuguese breeds) and
(1909) described the Pantaneiro cattle other Criollo formed in the states of
as follows: small size, short red or Minas Gerais and Sâo Paulo, as well
brown hair with lighter coloration on as in Rio Grande do Sul. This breed
the back; short and thin horns, uptur- was introduced into the State of Mato
ned and pointing forward; white ring Grosso by cattle dealers from Minas
around the snout; a light circle around Gerais. Cattle ranchers in Mato Grosso
the eyes; the post face generall considered Franqueiro less fertile than
convex; long and thin tail; and a little the purebred Pantaneiro. According
developed hindquarter. Their thick to Lisboa (1909), the cattle called
hide, resistant to climatic variations Brucho in Southern Mato Grosso,
and to mosquitoes is adapted to the mainly in the Pantanal, was the resul-
water, where the animals live during ting from crossing Pantaneiro and
most part of the year. Cotrim (1913) Franqueiro. Vianna (1927) reported
described the Pantaneiro cattle as an that, in Mato Grosso, the animals re-
animal of small size, representing sulting after crossing the portuguese
among the Brazilian breeds, the Jersey Mato Grosso cattle and the local cattle
type: small and light weight and that of spanish origin (from the la Plata
th thpresent thin and short head with possessions in 16 -17 centuries
horns frontward and upward, generall was called China (in other Brazilian
white or clear with dark ends; the ears regions China means the cattle formed
are small and with small amount of by crossing Zebu x Criollo). Th
hair; the snout is black with a white description of this author of the Mato
ring around it; the face is black or Grosso China is quite similar to that
dark, with the lighter coloration on from Lisboa (1909) and Cotrim (1913)
front and a light circle around the for the Pantaneiro cattle.
eyes. The haunch is relatively long To improve the beef cattle industry,
and provided with meat, with thin the farmers introduced some purebred
high tail insertion; the hide is thick, animals of exotic european breeds as
but covered with dark epidermis and well as crossbred into the Pantanal in
the coat color is called fusca , i.e., the first decades of this century. As
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p.479MAZZA et al.
isolated individuals, usually without Zebu cattle. In the North there are
correct cares they did not leave descen- still a few remaining populations of
dants neither had influence on Pantanal Pantaneiro cattle located in the most
herd development (Lisboa, 1909). flooded Pantanal areas along th
With the expansion of the Indian borders of the rivers Paraguay, Cuiabá,
breeds in Brazil, the Zebu entered the Sâo Lourenço and Bento Gomes ( fi-
Pantanal at a slower rate than in other gure 1 ) where other breeds have not
regions because the ultra-extensive survived, including the Zebu cattle.
breeding system used was adverse. In the South, there only remains the
Initially the Zebu cattle were well herd of the Nhumirim Ranch in the
accepted and the first crossbred des- Nhecolândia Sub-region, formed b
cendants (Pantaneiro x Zebu) were Pantaneiro cattle that have been
heavy and meaty. But with the decrease rescued from some remaining popu-
of the heterosis due to upgrading to lations in the North since 1985.
Zebu cattle, the descendants soon de- The phenotypical characterization
generated becoming small. Without of the remaining populations shown
management they became very unta- in table I summarizes the analysis of
med and this behaviour was incompati- 20 bulls and 30 cows of Pantaneiro
ble with the breeding system used type belonging to the three distinct
in the Pantanal. Thus, at that time the herds that have been found until this
Zebu was completly rejected and the moment - Porto Jofre and DI farms
cattlemen in the Pantanal fields elimi- and one in the Pantanal of Mimoso -
nated all Zebu bulls from their ranches besides the Nhumerin ranch ( figure
according to Ayala and Simon (1914). ). It was observed that Pantaneiro
However, despite all discussions cattle are small to medium sized, ba-
and controversies, since then the Ze- sed on morphometrical measurements
bu has slowly become established not but should be emphasized that all
only in the Pantanal but in all Brazil these measurements were taken onl
territory up SE region. All crossbred on domesticated animals, due to the
descendant superiority (Zebu difficulty of doing it on the untamed
Pantaneiro) has been attributed onl ones, that can be considered th
to Zebu breeds by the cattlemen. majority ( table II ).
Thus, the Pantaneiro cattle is now in
danger of extinction. COMPARING PANTANEIRO
CATTLE WITH OTHER BREEDS
RIZATION OF THE REMAINING OLD SPANISH AND PORTUGUE-SE
POPULATIONS OF PANTA- BREEDS. According to Rous
NEIRO CATTLE (1977) the spanish cattle breeds brought
by settlers to America were: Retinta
It is very difficult to find purebred Andaluza and Berrenda from SW re-
Pantaneiro cattle populations in the gion, and Gallega and Asturiana from
Pantanal. Herds became almost com- the N. Through the morphological
pletely white due to upgrading t characteristics of these breeds (French
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p.480CHARACTERIZATION OF PANTANEIRO CATTLE IN BRAZIL
et al. 1969; Sánchez Belda 1984, resemble the Pantaneiro cattle, such
1986), the Asturiana seem to be the as the Tudanca.
most similar to the Pantaneiro cattle, According to Athanassof (1947)
obviously taking the adpative changes the Portuguese breeds brought t
to tropical conditions into considera- Brazil during the colonization were:
tion. As the Asturiana de la Montaña Alentejana, Mirandesa, Minhota
and the Asturiana de los Valles present Arouquesa and Barrosa. Of these,
yellow to brown long hair and a white based on the literature (French et al.
ring around the snout and the eyes (in 1969), the Arouquesa seems to be the
the latter case the ring can also be most similar to Pantaneiro cattle,
dark); lighter color is also observed in presenting morphological characte-
the ventral area between the legs; the ristics such as those described above.
profile is rectilineal or sub-convex;
the horns are frontward and upward, CRIOLLO TYPES/BREEDS. The des-
white or clear with dark tip; the ears cendants of the old spanish and portu-
are small with lighter hair in th guese cattle spread throughout Ame-
internal area; present thin and high rica and originated many types and
set tail. There are other breeds that breeds of Criollo adapted for the di-
have not been reported as introduced verse ecological conditions. The Criollo
into America by settlers, but closely breeds, which closely resemble the
Table I. Phenotypical characterization of the remaining populations of Pantanero
Cattle. (Caracterización fenotípica de las poblaciones residuales de bovino Pantaneiro).
Head The females usually present light short delicate heads. The most common colors
are yellow to red (Jersey-tan color). In males the head is heavy and small, mainly
black, with some colored hair on the forehead. Spots are rare.
Profile The subcovex (79%) predominates. Rectilineal profile is also observed.
Snout Most animals (73%) present a white ring around the black snout.
Eyes Some animals (44%) present a dark of light ring around the eyes.
Horns Many animals (50%) present thin horns frontward and upward, generally white
or clear with brown-greenish base and dark tip (60%).
Ears Animals present small, round and horizontally attached ears, with light hair
and skin in the internal area.
Body Animals are small to medium and present a medium dorso-lumbar line almost straight.
Coat color The yellow to red (Jersey-tan) coat color predominates (79%) on the back with dark
and skin coloration on the legs, mainly in the bulls. Usually present white hair in ventral area.
The hair is short, thin and silky. The hide is thick, covered with dark epidermis.
Tail Thin and high set tail (66%).
Temper Animals are docile and calm when are constantly managed. They become almost
wild when left by themselves, in remote areas.
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p.481MAZZA et al.
Pantaneiro Cattle are those formed Pantaneiro cattle (Primo 1990). Like
from floodland environments. the Pantaneiro, these animals present
The Criollo cattle called Yacumeño thin, short and silky hair and th
inhabits the Beni region in Bolivia, an Jersey-tan color predominates, with
area subject to seasonal flooding, and lighter color on the back and especiall
they are phenotypically similar to the the bulls exhibit darker coloration on
Pantanal. (Localización de las poblaciones remanentes del bovino Pantanero en el Pantanal).
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p.482
Localization of the remaining populations of Pantaneiro cattle in the Figure 1. CHARACTERIZATION OF PANTANEIRO CATTLE IN BRAZIL
Table II. Morphometrical measurement average and weight of the remaining
populations of Pantaneiro cattle. (Medidas morfométricas y peso de las poblaciones residuales del
age N sex weight LB HW HH LH WH TP
Ranch (years) (kg) cm cm cm cm cm cm
14 F 324 143 119 126 46 38 165
12 M 441 152 126 132 48 37 177
DI 5-10 8 F 135 115 121 39 34 162
LB - length of body; HW - height at withers; HH - height at hindquarters;
LH - length of hindquarters; WH - width of hindquarters; TP - thoracic perimeter.
generations of natural selection andthe legs; most animals show dark rings
adaptation to the ecological condi-around the eyes; thin, frontward and
tions of the Pantanal. The exceptionalupward horns, generally white with
rusticity of the Pantaneiro, and itsdark tips; small and round ears with
capacity to survive on native pastureshair in the internal borders; and thin
of floodland regions, where otherhigh tail insertion (Bauer et al. 1989).
types of cattle would have littlThe Casanare cattle formed herds in
chance to survive, are characteristicsthe East of Colombia, mainly in the
that justify the conservation of thisCasanare and Arauca territorial areas -
genetic resource.flooded regions of approximately 55.000
The remaining populations okm (García s.d.). According to Hernán-
Pantaneiro cattle are quite similar todez (1983) the Casanare cattle is probably
those described in the literature atthe most related descendant of the cat-
ththe beginning of the 20 century. Ittle brought by the spanish settlers to
should be remembered that thColombia. The animals present relative-
Pantaneiro cattle populations origi-ly small size and the yellow coat color
nated from spanish breeds laterpredominates, dark or light, but there
interbreeding with the descendantsis a great variety of other colors. Gar-
of Portuguese breeds, mainly Fran-cía (s.d.) reported several other mor-
queiro cattle. So, all these pheno-phological characteristics showing the
typical characterization descriptionsclosely resemble the Pantaneiro cattle,
do not necessarily represent the firstexcept for the concave profile and the
generations of the Pantaneiro cattle,bigger and more open horn shape.
when only the Spanish breeds and
the interactions with the environment
The Pantaneiro cattle present
morphologic likeness with some oldPantaneiro cattle represent man
Archivos de zootecnia, vol. 41, núm. 154 (extra), p.483MAZZA et al.
spanish and portuguese breeds resembles the Criollo Yacumeno from
mainly with Asturiana and Arouquesa. Beni, Bolivia and the Casanare from
The Pantaneiro cattle closel Colombia.
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