Canis

Canis is a genus of the Canidae containing multiple extant species, such as wolves, coyotes, jackals, dingoes, and dogs. Species of this genus are distinguished by their moderate to large size, their massive, well-developed skulls and dentition, long legs, and comparatively short ears and tails.[2]

Canis
Temporal range: 6–0 Ma
Canis
Gray wolf (top), coyote and African golden wolf (top middle), Ethiopian wolf and golden jackal (bottom middle), black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal (bottom)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Caninae
Tribe: Canini
Genus: Canis
Linnaeus, 1758[1]
Extant species

  1 C. lupus also includes domestic dogs, C. l. familiaris, and dingos, C. l. dingo

Etymology

The generic name Canis means "dog" in Latin. The term "canine" comes from the adjective form, caninus ("of the dog"), from which the term canine tooth is also derived.[3] The canine family has prominent canine teeth, used for killing their prey. The word canis is cognate to the Greek word kūon (Greek: Κύων), which means "dog", as well as (less transparently) English hound.

Terminology

  • Immature dogs (that is, animals that are incapable of reproduction) are referred to as pups or puppies,[4] whereas the young of other canines are known as cubs.
  • A group of puppies from the same gestation period is referred to as a litter.[5]

Taxonomy

Canini

The tribe Canini[6] (Fischer de Waldheim, 1817) is the sister group to the true foxes (Vulpes), and is represented today by two sub-tribes: Canina, which includes the genus Canis[7] (wolves, jackals, the coyote, and the domestic dog), as well as the dhole and the African wild dog; and Cerdocyonina,[8] which includes the so-called foxes of South America.[9]:p55 The critical features that mark the Canini as a monophyletic group include: the consistent enlargement of the frontal sinus, often accompanied by the correlated loss of the depression in the dorsal surface of the postorbital process; the posterior expansion of the paroccipital process; the enlargement of the mastoid process; and the lack of lateral flare of the orbital border of the zygoma.[9]:p77

Canis

The genus Canis (Carl Linnaeus, 1758) was published in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae[1] and included the dog-like carnivores: the domestic dog, wolves, coyotes and jackals. All species within Canis are phylogenetically closely related with 78 chromosomes and can potentially interbreed.[10] In 1926, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) in Opinion 91 included Genus Canis on its Official Lists and Indexes of Names in Zoology.[11] In 1955, the ICZN's Direction 22 added Canis familiaris as the type specimen for genus Canis to the official list.[12]

Evolution

The fossil record shows that feliforms and caniforms emerged within the clade Carnivoramorpha 43 million YBP.[13] The caniforms included the fox-like genus Leptocyon whose various species existed from 24 million YBP before branching 11.9 million YBP into Vulpes (foxes) and Canini (canines). The jackal-sized Eucyon existed in North America from 10 million YBP and by the Early Pliocene about 6-5 million YBP the coyote-like Eucyon davisi[14] invaded Eurasia. In North America it gave rise to early Canis which first appeared in the Miocene (6 million YBP) in south-western USA and Mexico. By 5 million YBP the larger Canis lepophagus appeared in the same region.[15]:p58

C. dirus, C. lupus, C. lycaon, C. rufus, C. latrans, C. anthus C. aureus & C. mesomelas skulls
Skulls of dire wolf (C. dirus), gray wolf (C. lupus), eastern wolf (C. lycaon), red wolf (C. rufus), coyote (C. latrans), African golden wolf (C. anthus), golden jackal (C. aureus) and black-backed jackal (C. mesomelas)

The canids that had emigrated from North America to Eurasia – Eucyon, Vulpes, and Nyctereutes – were small to medium-sized predators during the Late Miocene and Early Pliocene but they were not the top predators. The position of the canids would change with the arrival of Canis to become a dominant predator across the Holarctic. The wolf-sized C. chihilensis appeared in northern China in the Mid-Pliocene around 4-3 million YBP. This was followed by an explosion of Canis evolution across Eurasia in the Early Pleistocene around 1.8 million YBP in what is commonly referred to as the wolf event. It is associated with the formation of the mammoth steppe and continental glaciation. Canis spread to Europe in the forms of C. arnensis, C. etruscus, and C. falconeri.[15]:p148 One study found that the diversity of the Canis group decreased by the end of the Early Pleistocene to the Middle Pleistocene and was limited in Eurasia to the small wolves of the Canis mosbachensis–Canis variabilis group and the large hypercarnivorous Canis (Xenocyon) lycaonoides.[16]

See further: Evolution of the canids

Dentition and biteforce

Wolf cranium labelled
Diagram of a wolf skull with key features labelled

Dentition relates to the arrangement of teeth in the mouth, with the dental notation for the upper-jaw teeth using the upper-case letters I to denote incisors, C for canines, P for premolars, and M for molars, and the lower-case letters i, c, p and m to denote the mandible teeth. Teeth are numbered using one side of the mouth and from the front of the mouth to the back. In carnivores, the upper premolar P4 and the lower molar m1 form the carnassials that are used together in a scissor-like action to shear the muscle and tendon of prey.[15]:74

Canids use their premolars for cutting and crushing except for the upper fourth premolar P4 (the upper carnassial) that is only used for cutting. They use their molars for grinding except for the lower first molar m1 (the lower carnassial) that has evolved for both cutting and grinding depending on the candid's dietary adaptation. On the lower carnassial the trigonid is used for slicing and the talonid is used for grinding. The ratio between the trigonid and the talonid indicates a carnivore's dietary habits, with a larger trigonid indicating a hypercarnivore and a larger talonid indicating a more omnivorous diet.[17][18] Because of its low variability, the length of the lower carnassial is used to provide an estimate of a carnivore's body size.[17]

A study of the estimated bite force at the canine teeth of a large sample of living and fossil mammalian predators, when adjusted for their body mass, found that for placental mammals the bite force at the canines (in Newtons/kilogram of body weight) was greatest in the extinct dire wolf (163), followed among the modern canids by the four hypercarnivores that often prey on animals larger than themselves: the African hunting dog (142), the gray wolf (136), the dhole (112), and the dingo (108). The bite force at the carnassials showed a similar trend to the canines. A predator's largest prey size is strongly influenced by its biomechanical limits.[19]

Description and sexual dimorphism

There is little variance among male and female canids. Canids tend to live as monogamous pairs. Wolves, dholes, and jackals live in groups that include breeding pairs and their offspring. Wolves may live in extended family groups. To take prey larger than themselves, the African wild dog, the dhole, and the gray wolf depend on their jaws as they cannot use their forelimbs to grapple with prey. They work together as a pack consisting of an alpha pair and their offspring from the current and previous years.[20] Social mammal predators prey on herbivores with a body mass similar to that of the combined mass of the predator pack.[21][22] The gray wolf specializes in preying on the vulnerable individuals of large prey,[23] and a pack of timber wolves can bring down a 500 kg (1,100 lb) moose.[24][25]

Mating behaviour

The genus Canis contains many different species and has a wide range of different mating systems that varies depending on the type of canine and the species.[26] In a study done in 2017 it was found that in some species of canids females use their sexual status to gain food resources. The study looked at wolves and dogs. Wolves are typically monogamous and form pair-bonds; whereas dogs are promiscuous when free-range and mate with multiple individuals. The study found that in both species females tried to gain access to food more and were more successful in monopolize a food resource when in heat. Outside of the breeding season their efforts were not as persistent or successful. This shows that the food-for-sex hypothesis likely plays a role in the food sharing among canids and acts as a direct benefit for the females.[26]

Another study on free-ranging dogs found that social factors played a significant role in the determination of mating pairs. The study, done in 2014, looked at social regulation of reproduction in the dogs.[27] They found that females in heat searched out dominant males and were more likely to mate with a dominant male who appeared to be a quality leader. The females were more likely to reject submissive males. Furthermore, cases of male-male competition were more aggressive in the presence of high ranking females. This suggests that females prefer dominant males and males prefer high ranking females meaning social cues and status play a large role in the determination of mating pairs in dogs.[27]

Canids also show a wide range of parental care and in 2018 a study showed that sexual conflict plays a role in the determination of intersexual parental investment.[28] The studied looked at coyote mating pairs and found that paternal investment was increased to match or near match the maternal investment. The amount of parental care provided by the fathers also was shown to fluctuated depending on the level of care provided by the mother.

Another study on parental investment showed that in free-ranging dogs, mothers modify their energy and time investment into their pups as they age.[29] Due to the high mortality of free-range dogs at a young age a mother's fitness can be drastically reduced. This study found that as the pups aged the mother shifted from high-energy care to lower-energy care so that they can care for their offspring for a longer duration for a reduced energy requirement. By doing this the mothers increasing the likelihood of their pups surviving infancy and reaching adulthood and thereby increase their own fitness.

A study done in 2017 found that aggression between male and female grey wolves varied and changed with age.[30] Males were more likely to chase away rival packs and lone individuals than females and became increasingly aggressive with age. Alternatively, females were found to be less aggressive and constant in their level of aggression throughout their life. This requires further research but suggests that intersexual aggression levels in grey wolves relates to their mating system.

Tooth breakage

Wolf dentition in the Ice Age
Dentition of a wolf showing functions of the teeth.

Tooth breakage is a frequent result of carnivores' feeding behaviour.[31] Carnivores include both pack hunters and solitary hunters. The solitary hunter depends on a powerful bite at the canine teeth to subdue their prey, and thus exhibits a strong mandibular symphysis. In contrast, a pack hunter, which delivers many shallower bites, has a comparably weaker mandibular symphysis. Thus, researchers can use the strength of the mandibular symphysis in fossil carnivore specimens to determine what kind of hunter it was – a pack hunter or a solitary hunter – and even how it consumed its prey. The mandibles of canids are buttressed behind the carnassial teeth to crack bones with their post-carnassial teeth (molars M2 and M3). A study found that the modern gray wolf and the red wolf (C. rufus) possess greater buttressing than all other extant canids and the extinct dire wolf. This indicates that these are both better adapted for cracking bone than other canids.[32]

A study of nine modern carnivores indicate that one in four adults had suffered tooth breakage and that half of these breakages were of the canine teeth. The highest frequency of breakage occurred in the spotted hyena, which is known to consume all of its prey including the bone. The least breakage occurred in the African wild dog. The gray wolf ranked between these two.[31][33] The eating of bone increases the risk of accidental fracture due to the relatively high, unpredictable stresses that it creates. The most commonly broken teeth are the canines, followed by the premolars, carnassial molars, and incisors. Canines are the teeth most likely to break because of their shape and function, which subjects them to bending stresses that are unpredictable in direction and magnitude.[33] The risk of tooth fracture is also higher when taking and consuming large prey.[33][34]

In comparison to extant gray wolves, the extinct Beringian wolves included many more individuals with moderately to heavily worn teeth and with a significantly greater number of broken teeth. The frequencies of fracture ranged from a minimum of 2% found in the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf (Canis lupus irremotus) up to a maximum of 11% found in Beringian wolves. The distribution of fractures across the tooth row also differs, with Beringian wolves having much higher frequencies of fracture for incisors, carnassials, and molars. A similar pattern was observed in spotted hyenas, suggesting that increased incisor and carnassial fracture reflects habitual bone consumption because bones are gnawed with the incisors and then cracked with the carnassials and molars.[35]

Wolves, dogs, and dingoes

Wolves, dogs, and dingoes are subspecies of Canis lupus. The original referent of the English word wolf, the Eurasian wolf, is called C. l. lupus to distinguish it from other wolf subspecies, such as the Indian wolf (C. l. pallipes), the Arabian wolf (C. l. arabs), or the Tibetan wolf (C. l. filchneri).

Some experts have suggested some subspecies of C. lupus be considered Canis species distinct from C. lupus. These include Central Asia's Himalayan wolf, and the Indian wolf,[36][37] as well as North America's red wolf and eastern wolf.[38]

The dingo (C. l. dingo), from Australasia, and the domestic dog (C. l. familiaris) are also considered subspecies of C. lupus, although they are not commonly referred to or thought of as "wolves".[39]

Coyotes, jackals, and wolves

Phylogenetic tree of the extant wolf-like canids
Caninae
3.0
2.7
1.9
1.6
1.3
1.1
0.8

Dog Tibetan mastiff (white background).jpg

Gray wolf Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate I).jpg

Himalayan wolf Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate III).jpg

Coyote Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate IX).jpg

African golden wolf Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XI).jpg

Ethiopian wolf Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate VI).jpg

Golden jackal Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate X).jpg

Dhole Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XLI).jpg

African wild dog Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XLIV).jpg

2.6

Side-striped jackal Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XIII).jpg

Black-backed jackal Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XII).jpg

3.5 Ma
Phylogenetic relationships between the extant wolf-like clade of canids based on nuclear DNA (15 kilobytes of exon and intron sequence data taken from the cell nucleus),[40][41] except for the Himalayan wolf based on mitochondrial DNA sequences.[41][42][43][44] All species belong to the genus Canis, apart from the dhole (Cuon) and the African wild dog (Lycaon) that are descended from the extinct Canis subgenus named Xenocyon.[15]:p149 Time of divergence in millions of years.[41][45]

The gray wolf (C. lupus), the Ethiopian wolf (C. simensis), and the African golden wolf (C. anthus) are three of the many Canis species referred to as "wolves"; however, all of the others are now extinct and little is known about them by the general public. One of these, the extinct dire wolf (C. dirus), has gained fame from the thousands of specimens found and displayed at the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California.

Canis species that are too small to attract the word "wolf" are called coyotes in the Americas and jackals elsewhere. Although these may not be more closely related to each other than they are to C. lupus, they are, as fellow Canis species, all more closely related to wolves and domestic dogs than they are to foxes, maned wolves, or other canids which do not belong to the genus Canis. The word "jackal" is applied to three distinct species of this group: the side-striped (C. adustus) and black-backed (C. mesomelas) jackals, found in sub-Saharan Africa, and the golden jackal (C. aureus), found across southwestern and south-central Asia, and the Balkans.

While North America has only one small-sized species, the coyote (C. latrans), it has become very widespread, moving into areas once occupied by wolves. They can be found across much of mainland Canada, in every state of the contiguous United States, all of Mexico except the Yucatán Peninsula, and the Pacific and central areas of Central America, ranging as far as western Panama.

African migration

The first record of genus Canis on the African continent is Canis sp. A from South Turkwel, Kenya dated 3.58–3.2 million years ago.[46] In 2015, a study of mitochondrial genome sequences and whole genome nuclear sequences of African and Eurasian canids indicated that extant wolf-like canids have colonised Africa from Eurasia at least 5 times throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, which is consistent with fossil evidence suggesting that much of African canid fauna diversity resulted from the immigration of Eurasian ancestors, likely coincident with Plio-Pleistocene climatic oscillations between arid and humid conditions.[47]:S1 In 2017, the fossil remains of a new Canis species named Canis othmanii was discovered among remains found at Wadi Sarrat, Tunisia from deposits that date 700,000 years ago. This canine shows a morphology more closely associated with canids from Eurasia rather than Africa.[48]

Gallery

Canis lupus signatus - 01

Gray wolf (Canis lupus) (includes dog and dingo).

Washtenaw County's last wolf (1907)

Eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) (often includes latrans admixture)

Red wolf (4531335218)

Red wolf (Canis rufus) (includes latrans admixture)

USMC-11557

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Canis dirus Skeleton 2

Dire wolf (Canis dirus) (extinct)

Golden wolf small

African golden wolf (Canis anthus)

Flickr - Rainbirder - Golden Jackal

Golden jackal (Canis aureus)

Canis simensis

Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis)

Canis mesomelas

Black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas)

Side-striped Jackal (Canis adustus)- rare sighting of this nocturnal animal ... (13799182833)

Side-striped jackal (Canis adustus)

See also

References

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Arctic fox

The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. It is well adapted to living in cold environments, and is best known for its thick, warm fur that is also used as camouflage. On average, Arctic foxes only live 3–4 years in the wild. Its body length ranges from 46 to 68 cm (18 to 27 in), with a generally rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat.

The Arctic fox preys on many small creatures such as lemmings, voles, ringed seal pups, fish, waterfowl, and seabirds. It also eats carrion, berries, seaweed, and insects and other small invertebrates. Arctic foxes form monogamous pairs during the breeding season and they stay together to raise their young in complex underground dens. Occasionally, other family members may assist in raising their young. Natural predators of the Arctic fox are golden eagles, polar bears, wolverines, red foxes, wolves, and grizzly bears.

Arctic wolf

The Arctic wolf (Canis lupus arctos), also known as the white wolf or polar wolf, is a subspecies of gray wolf native to Canada's Queen Elizabeth Islands, from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island. It is a medium-sized subspecies, distinguished from the northwestern wolf by its smaller size, its whiter coloration, its narrower braincase, and larger carnassials. Since 1930, there has been a progressive reduction in size in Arctic wolf skulls, which is likely the result of wolf-dog hybridization.

Black-backed jackal

The black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) is a canid native to two areas of Africa, separated by roughly 900 km.

One region includes the southernmost tip of the continent, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The other area is along the eastern coastline, including Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. It is listed by the IUCN as least concern, due to its widespread range and adaptability, although it is still persecuted as a livestock predator and rabies vector.Compared to other members of the genus Canis, the black-backed jackal is a very ancient species, and has changed little since the Pleistocene, being the most basal wolf-like canine, alongside the closely related side-striped jackal. It is a fox-like animal with a reddish coat and a black saddle that extends from the shoulders to the base of the tail. It is a monogamous animal, whose young may remain with the family to help raise new generations of pups. The black-backed jackal is not a fussy eater, and feeds on small to medium-sized animals, as well as plant matter and human refuse.

Bully (video game)

Bully is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar Vancouver and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 17 October 2006 for PlayStation 2. A remastered version of the game, subtitled Scholarship Edition, was developed by Mad Doc Software and was released on 4 March 2008 for Xbox 360 and Wii and on 21 October 2008 for Microsoft Windows. Bully was re-released for PlayStation 4 available via PlayStation Network on 22 March 2016. An updated version of the Scholarship Edition, titled Anniversary Edition, was developed by War Drum Studios and was released for Android and iOS on 8 December 2016.

Set within the fictional town of Bullworth, the story follows a student and his efforts to rise through the ranks of the school system. The open world design lets the player freely roam Bullworth. The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot, skateboard, scooter, bicycle or go-kart. Players control James "Jimmy" Hopkins, a student who is involuntarily enrolled at Bullworth Academy. He discovers that the school is filled with bullies, and becomes determined to bring peace, ultimately becoming more respected among the town groups. Jimmy is expected to attend class, which is a main gameplay aspect. In Scholarship Edition, a two-player competitive multiplayer mode lets two players compete for the highest score in different classes.

Despite initial controversy for its expected violence and homosexual content, Bully received positive reviews, with praise directed at the game's missions, narrative and characters. The original version of Bully sold over 1.5 million copies, and received multiple year-end accolades.

Canidae

The biological family Canidae

(from Latin, canis, “dog”) is a lineage of carnivorans that includes domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, foxes, jackals, dingoes, and many other extant and extinct dog-like mammals. A member of this family is called a canid (, ).The cat-like feliforms and dog-like caniforms emerged within the Carnivoramorpha 43 million years before present. The caniforms included the fox-like genus Leptocyon whose various species existed from 34 million years ago (Mya) before branching 11.9 Mya into Vulpini (foxes) and Canini (canines).Canids are found on all continents except Antarctica, having arrived independently or accompanied human beings over extended periods of time. Canids vary in size from the 2-m-long (6 ft 7 in) gray wolf to the 24-cm-long (9.4 in) fennec fox. The body forms of canids are similar, typically having long muzzles, upright ears, teeth adapted for cracking bones and slicing flesh, long legs, and bushy tails. They are mostly social animals, living together in family units or small groups and behaving co-operatively. Typically, only the dominant pair in a group breeds, and a litter of young is reared annually in an underground den. Canids communicate by scent signals and vocalizations. They are very intelligent. One canid, the domestic dog, long ago entered into a partnership with humans and today remains one of the most widely kept domestic animals.

Canis Major

Canis Major is a constellation in the southern celestial hemisphere. In the second century, it was included in Ptolemy's 48 constellations, and is counted among the 88 modern constellations. Its name is Latin for "greater dog" in contrast to Canis Minor, the "lesser dog"; both figures are commonly represented as following the constellation of Orion the hunter through the sky. The Milky Way passes through Canis Major and several open clusters lie within its borders, most notably M41.

Canis Major contains Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, known as the "dog star". It is bright because of its proximity to the Solar System. In contrast, the other bright stars of the constellation are stars of great distance and high luminosity. At magnitude 1.5, Epsilon Canis Majoris (Adhara) is the second-brightest star of the constellation and the brightest source of extreme ultraviolet radiation in the night sky. Next in brightness are the yellow-white supergiant Delta (Wezen) at 1.8, the blue-white giant Beta (Mirzam) at 2.0, blue-white supergiants Eta (Aludra) at 2.4 and Omicron1 at 3.0, and white spectroscopic binary Zeta (Furud), also at 3.0. The red hypergiant VY Canis Majoris is one of the largest stars known, while the neutron star RX J0720.4-3125 has a radius of a mere 5 km.

Canis Minor

Canis Minor is a small constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere. In the second century, it was included as an asterism, or pattern, of two stars in Ptolemy's 48 constellations, and it is counted among the 88 modern constellations. Its name is Latin for "lesser dog", in contrast to Canis Major, the "greater dog"; both figures are commonly represented as following the constellation of Orion the hunter.

Canis Minor contains only two stars brighter than the fourth magnitude, Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris), with a magnitude of 0.34, and Gomeisa (Beta Canis Minoris), with a magnitude of 2.9. The constellation's dimmer stars were noted by Johann Bayer, who named eight stars including Alpha and Beta, and John Flamsteed, who numbered fourteen. Procyon is the seventh-brightest star in the night sky, as well as one of the closest. A yellow-white main sequence star, it has a white dwarf companion. Gomeisa is a blue-white main sequence star. Luyten's Star is a ninth-magnitude red dwarf and the Solar System's next closest stellar neighbour in the constellation after Procyon. The fourth-magnitude HD 66141, which has evolved into an orange giant towards the end of its life cycle, was discovered to have a planet in 2012. There are two faint deep-sky objects within the constellation's borders. The 11 Canis-Minorids are a meteor shower that can be seen in early December.

Coyote

The coyote (from Nahuatl coyōtl pronunciation ), Canis latrans, is a canine native to North America. It is smaller than its close relative, the gray wolf, and slightly smaller than the closely related eastern wolf and red wolf. It fills much of the same ecological niche as the golden jackal does in Eurasia, though it is larger and more predatory, and is sometimes called the American jackal by zoologists.

The coyote is listed as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to its wide distribution and abundance throughout North America, southwards through Mexico, and into Central America. The species is versatile, able to adapt to and expand into environments modified by humans. It is enlarging its range, with coyotes moving into urban areas in the Eastern U.S., and was sighted in eastern Panama (across the Panama Canal from their home range) for the first time in 2013.

As of 2005, 19 coyote subspecies are recognized. The average male weighs 8 to 20 kg (18 to 44 lb) and the average female 7 to 18 kg (15 to 40 lb). Their fur color is predominantly light gray and red or fulvous interspersed with black and white, though it varies somewhat with geography. It is highly flexible in social organization, living either in a family unit or in loosely knit packs of unrelated individuals. It has a varied diet consisting primarily of animal meat, including deer, rabbits, hares, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates, though it may also eat fruits and vegetables on occasion. Its characteristic vocalization is a howl made by solitary individuals. Humans are the coyote's greatest threat, followed by cougars and gray wolves. In spite of this, coyotes sometimes mate with gray, eastern, or red wolves, producing "coywolf" hybrids. In the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, the eastern coyote (a larger subspecies, though still smaller than wolves) is the result of various historical and recent matings with various types of wolves. Genetic studies show that most North American wolves contain some level of coyote DNA.

The coyote is a prominent character in Native American folklore, mainly in the Southwestern United States and Mexico, usually depicted as a trickster that alternately assumes the form of an actual coyote or a man. As with other trickster figures, the coyote uses deception and humor to rebel against social conventions. The animal was especially respected in Mesoamerican cosmology as a symbol of military might. After the European colonization of the Americas, it was reviled in Anglo-American culture as a cowardly and untrustworthy animal. Unlike wolves (gray, eastern, or red), which have undergone an improvement of their public image, attitudes towards the coyote remain largely negative.

Dingo

The dingo is a dog that is native to Australia. The species name is debated: it is variously called either Canis familiaris, Canis familiaris dingo, Canis lupus dingo, or Canis dingo. It is either a purebred if breeding only in the wild, or a hybrid of a dingo and a domesticated dog. It is a medium-sized canid that possesses a lean, hardy body adapted for speed, agility, and stamina. The dingo's three main coat colours are: light ginger or tan, black and tan, or creamy white. The skull, the widest part of the dingo, is wedge-shaped and large in proportion to the body. It differs from that of the domestic dog by its larger palatal width, longer rostrum, shorter skull height, and wider sagittal crest.The earliest known dingo fossil, found in Western Australia, dates to 3,450 years ago (YBP), which led to the presumption that dingoes came to Australia with seafarers prior to that time. Dingo morphology has not changed over the past 3,500 years: this suggests that no artificial selection has been applied over this period.The dingo is closely related to the New Guinea singing dog: their lineage split early from the lineage that led to today's domestic dogs, and can be traced back through the Malay Archipelago to Asia. A recent genetic study shows that the lineage of those dingoes found today in the northwestern part of the Australian continent split from the lineage of the New Guinea singing dog and southeastern dingo 8,300 YBP, followed by a split between the New Guinea singing dog lineage from the southeastern dingo lineage 7,800 YBP. The study proposes that two dingo migrations occurred when sea levels were lower and Australia and New Guinea formed one landmass named Sahul that existed until 6,500–8,000 years ago. Seafarers from south-west Sulawesi in modern-day Indonesia may have brought the dingo to northern Australia.The dingo's habitat covers most of Australia, but they are completely absent in the southwest, a strip on the eastern coast, and an area on the southwest coast (see map). Dingos prey on mammals up to the size of the large red kangaroo, in addition to birds, reptiles, fish, crabs, frogs, insects, and seeds. The dingo's competitors include the native quoll, the introduced European red fox and the feral cat. A dingo pack usually consists of a mated pair, their offspring from the current year, and sometimes offspring from the previous year.The first British colonists who settled at Port Jackson in 1788 recorded dingoes living with indigenous Australians. When livestock farming began expanding across Australia in the early 19th century, dingos began preying on sheep and cattle. Numerous population-control measures have been implemented since then, with only limited success. The dingo is recognised as a native animal under the laws of all Australian jurisdictions. It is listed as a "vulnerable species" on the IUCN Red List due to declining numbers.

The dingo plays a prominent role in the dreamtime stories of indigenous Australians; however, it rarely appears depicted in their cave paintings when compared with the extinct thylacine, aka the Tasmanian wolf.

Dire wolf

The dire wolf (Canis dirus, "fearsome dog") is an extinct species of the genus Canis. It is one of the most famous prehistoric carnivores in North America, along with its extinct competitor, the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis. The dire wolf lived in the Americas during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene epochs (125,000–9,440 years ago). The species was named in 1858, four years after the first specimen had been found. Two subspecies are recognized: Canis dirus guildayi and Canis dirus dirus. The dire wolf probably evolved from Armbruster's wolf (Canis armbrusteri) in North America. The largest collection of its fossils has been obtained from the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.

Dire wolf remains have been found across a broad range of habitats including the plains, grasslands, and some forested mountain areas of North America, and in the arid savannah of South America. The sites range in elevation from sea level to 2,255 meters (7,400 ft). Dire wolf fossils have rarely been found north of 42°N latitude; there have been only five unconfirmed reports above this latitude. This range restriction is thought to be due to temperature, prey, or habitat limitations imposed by proximity to the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets that existed at the time.

The dire wolf was about the same size as the largest modern gray wolves (Canis lupus): the Yukon wolf and the northwestern wolf. C. d. guildayi weighed on average 60 kilograms (132 lb) and C. d. dirus was on average 68 kg (150 lb). Its skull and dentition matched those of C. lupus, but its teeth were larger with greater shearing ability, and its bite force at the canine tooth was the strongest of any known Canis species. These characteristics are thought to be adaptations for preying on Late Pleistocene megaherbivores, and in North America its prey are known to have included horses, ground sloths, mastodons, bison, and camels. As with other large Canis hypercarnivores today, the dire wolf is thought to have been a pack hunter. Its extinction occurred during the Quaternary extinction event along with most of the American megafauna of the time, including a number of other carnivores, that occurred soon after the appearance of humans in the New World. Its reliance on megaherbivores has been proposed as the cause of its extinction, along with climate change and competition with other species, but the cause remains controversial. Dire wolves lived as recently as 9,440 years ago, according to dated remains.

Dog

The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris when considered a subspecies of the wolf or Canis familiaris when considered a distinct species) is a member of the genus Canis (canines), which forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first species to be domesticated and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.Their long association with humans has led dogs to be uniquely attuned to human behavior and they are able to thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate for other canid species. Dogs vary widely in shape, size and colors. They perform many roles for humans, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding disabled people and therapeutic roles. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet of "man's best friend".

Ethiopian wolf

The Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) is a canid native to the Ethiopian Highlands. It is similar to the coyote in size and build, and is distinguished by its long and narrow skull, and its red and white fur. Unlike most large canids, which are widespread, generalist feeders, the Ethiopian wolf is a highly specialised feeder of Afroalpine rodents with very specific habitat requirements. It is one of the world's rarest canids, and Africa's most endangered carnivore.The species' current range is limited to seven isolated mountain ranges at altitudes of 3,000–4,500 m, with the overall adult population estimated at 360–440 individuals in 2011, more than half of them in the Bale Mountains.The Ethiopian wolf is listed as endangered by the IUCN, on account of its small numbers and fragmented range. Threats include increasing pressure from expanding human populations, resulting in habitat degradation through overgrazing, and disease transference and interbreeding from free-ranging dogs. Its conservation is headed by Oxford University's Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, which seeks to protect wolves through vaccination and community outreach programs.

Golden jackal

The golden jackal (Canis aureus) is a wolf-like canid that is native to Southeast Europe, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and regions of Southeast Asia. Compared with the Arabian wolf, which is the smallest of the gray wolves (Canis lupus), the jackal is smaller and possesses shorter legs, a shorter tail, a more elongated torso, a less-prominent forehead, and a narrower and more pointed muzzle. The golden jackal's coat can vary in color from a pale creamy yellow in summer to a dark tawny beige in winter. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List due to its widespread distribution and high density in areas with plenty of available food and optimum shelter.

The ancestor of the golden jackal is believed to be the extinct Arno river dog that lived in Mediterranean Europe 1.9 million years ago. It is described as having been a small, jackal-like canine. Genetic studies indicate that the golden jackal expanded from India around 20,000 years ago towards the end of the last ice age. The oldest golden jackal fossil, found at the Ksar Akil rock shelter near Beirut, Lebanon, is 20,000 years old. The oldest golden jackal fossils in Europe were found in Greece and are 7,000 years old. There are seven subspecies of the golden jackal. The golden jackal is more closely related to the gray wolf, coyote, African golden wolf, and Ethiopian wolf than it is to the African black-backed jackal or side-striped jackal. It is capable of producing fertile hybrids with both the gray wolf and the African golden wolf. Jackal–dog hybrids called Sulimov dogs are in service at the Sheremetyevo Airport near Moscow where they are deployed by the Russian airline Aeroflot for scent-detection.

Golden jackals are abundant in valleys and beside rivers and their tributaries, canals, lakes, and seashores. They are rare in foothills and low mountains. The golden jackal is a social species, the basic social unit of which consists of a breeding pair and any young offspring. It is very adaptable, with the ability to exploit food ranging from fruit and insects to small ungulates. They will attack domestic fowl and domestic mammals up to the size of domestic water buffalo calves. The jackal's competitors are the red fox, wolf, jungle cat, forest wildcat, and, in the Caucasus, the raccoon, and, in Central Asia, the steppe wildcat. The jackal is expanding beyond its native grounds in Southeast Europe into Central Europe, occupying areas where there are few or no wolves.

Jackal

Jackals are medium-sized omnivorous mammals of the genus Canis, which also includes wolves, coyotes and the domestic dog. While the word "jackal" has historically been used for many small canids, in modern use it most commonly refers to three species: the closely related black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal of sub-Saharan Africa, and the golden jackal of south-central Eurasia, which is more closely related to other members of the genus Canis.

Jackals and coyotes (sometimes called the "American jackal") are opportunistic omnivores, predators of small to medium-sized animals and proficient scavengers. Their long legs and curved canine teeth are adapted for hunting small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and their large feet and fused leg bones give them a physique well-suited for long-distance running, capable of maintaining speeds of 16 km/h (9.9 mph) for extended periods of time. Jackals are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk.

Their most common social unit is a monogamous pair, which defends its territory from other pairs by vigorously chasing intruding rivals and marking landmarks around the territory with their urine and feces. The territory may be large enough to hold some young adults, which stay with their parents until they establish their own territories. Jackals may occasionally assemble in small packs, for example, to scavenge a carcass, but they normally hunt either alone or in pairs.

Red wolf

The red wolf (Canis lupus rufus or Canis rufus) is a canine native to the southeastern United States. The subspecies is the product of ancient genetic admixture between the gray wolf and the coyote, however it is regarded as unique and therefore worthy of conservation. Morphologically it is intermediate between the coyote and gray wolf, and is of a reddish, tawny color. The US Endangered Species Act of 1973 currently does not provide protection for endangered admixed individuals and researchers argue that these should warrant full protection under the Act. However, the red wolf when considered as a species is listed as an endangered species under this Act and is protected by law. Although Canis rufus is not listed in the CITES Appendices of endangered species, since 1996 the IUCN has listed it as a critically endangered species.Red wolves were originally distributed throughout the eastern United States from the Atlantic Ocean to central Texas, and in the north from the Ohio River Valley, northern Pennsylvania and southern New York south to the Gulf of Mexico. The red wolf was nearly driven to extinction by the mid-1900s due to aggressive predator-control programs, habitat destruction, and extensive hybridization with coyotes. By the late 1960s, it occurred in small numbers in the Gulf Coast of western Louisiana and eastern Texas. Fourteen of these survivors were selected to be the founders of a captive-bred population, which was established in the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium between 1974 and 1980. After a successful experimental relocation to Bulls Island off the coast of South Carolina in 1978, the red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980 to proceed with restoration efforts. In 1987, the captive animals were released into the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on the Albemarle Peninsula in North Carolina, with a second release, since reversed, taking place two years later in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Of 63 red wolves released from 1987–1994, the population rose to as many as 100–120 individuals in 2012, but has declined to 40 individuals in 2018.The red wolf's taxonomic status is the subject of ongoing debate. In 1851 the naturalists John James Audubon and John Bachman recognized Canis lupus rufus in the southern and southeastern United States. In 1937 the zoologist Edward Alphonso Goldman proposed this wolf to be a new species Canis rufus. In 1967, the zoologists Barbara Lawrence and William H. Bossert rebutted Goldman's classification as being too heavily based on probable hybrid specimens. In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed the red wolf as a hybrid of the gray wolf and the coyote, but due to its uncertain status compromised by recognizing it as a subspecies of the grey wolf Canis lupus rufus. Since the early 1980s, genetic analysis has been used to debate whether the red wolf is a species or a wolf/coyote hybrid. Commencing in 2016, two studies using whole genome sequencing indicate that North American gray wolves and wolf-like canids were the result of ancient and complex gray wolf and coyote mixing, with the red wolf possessing 60% coyote ancestry and 40% wolf ancestry.

Side-striped jackal

The side-striped jackal (Canis adustus) is a species of jackal, native to east and southern Africa. Unlike its cousin, the smaller black-backed jackal, which dwells in open plains, the side-striped jackal primarily dwells in woodland and scrub areas.

Sirius

Sirius (, a latinisation of Greek Σείριος, Seirios, lit. "glowing" or "scorching") is a binary star and the brightest star in the night sky. With a visual apparent magnitude of −1.46, it is almost twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star. The system has the Bayer designation α (Alpha) Canis Majoris. The binary system consists of a main-sequence star of spectral type A0 or A1, termed Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DA2, designated Sirius B. The distance between the two varies between 8.2 and 31.5 astronomical units as they orbit every 50 years.Sirius appears bright because of its intrinsic luminosity and its proximity to Earth. At a distance of 2.6 parsecs (8.6 ly), as determined by the Hipparcos astrometry satellite, the Sirius system is one of Earth's near neighbours. Sirius is gradually moving closer to the Solar System, so it will slightly increase in brightness over the next 60,000 years. After that time its distance will begin to increase and it will become fainter, but it will continue to be the brightest star in the Earth's night sky for the next 210,000 years.Sirius A is about twice as massive as the Sun (M☉) and has an absolute visual magnitude of +1.42. It is 25 times more luminous than the Sun but has a significantly lower luminosity than other bright stars such as Canopus or Rigel. The system is between 200 and 300 million years old. It was originally composed of two bright bluish stars. The more massive of these, Sirius B, consumed its resources and became a red giant before shedding its outer layers and collapsing into its current state as a white dwarf around 120 million years ago.Sirius is also known colloquially as the "Dog Star", reflecting its prominence in its constellation, Canis Major (Greater Dog). The heliacal rising of Sirius marked the flooding of the Nile in Ancient Egypt and the "dog days" of summer for the ancient Greeks, while to the Polynesians, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, the star marked winter and was an important reference for their navigation around the Pacific Ocean.

VY Canis Majoris

VY Canis Majoris (abbreviated to VY CMa) is an extreme oxygen-rich (O-rich) red hypergiant (RHG) or red supergiant (RSG) and pulsating variable star located at 1.2 kiloparsecs (3,900 ly) away from Earth in the constellation of Canis Major. It is one of the largest known stars by radius, and is also one of the most luminous and massive red supergiants, as well as one of the most luminous stars in the Milky Way.

VY CMa is a single star with a large infrared (IR) excess, making it one of the brightest objects in the sky at wavelengths of between 5 and 20 microns (µm) and indicating a dust shell or disk heated by the star. It is about 17±8 times the mass of the Sun (M☉). It is also surrounded by a complex asymmetric circumstellar envelope (CSE) caused by mass loss from the star itself. It produces strong molecular maser emission and was one of the first radio masers discovered. VY CMa is embedded within the large molecular cloud Sharpless 310 (Sh2-310), one of the largest star-forming H II regions with a diameter of 480 arcminutes (') or 681 ly (209 pc).The radius of VY CMa is about 1,420 times that of the Sun (R☉), which is close to the Hayashi limit and corresponds to a volume about 3 billion times bigger than the Sun. A hypothetical object travelling at the speed of light would take 6 hours to travel around the star's circumference, compared to 14.5 seconds for the Sun. If placed at the center of the Solar System, VY CMa's surface would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter, although there is still considerable variation in estimates of the radius, with some making it larger than the orbit of Saturn.

Wolf

The wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the grey/gray wolf or timber wolf, is a canine native to the wilderness and remote areas of Eurasia and North America. It is the largest extant member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb) and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb). It is distinguished from other Canis species by its larger size and less pointed features, particularly on the ears and muzzle. Its winter fur is long and bushy and predominantly a mottled gray in color, although nearly pure white, red and brown to black also occur. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed., 2005), a standard reference work in zoology, recognises 38 subspecies of C. lupus.The gray wolf is the second most specialized member of the genus Canis, after the Ethiopian wolf, as demonstrated by its morphological adaptations to hunting large prey, its more gregarious nature, and its highly advanced expressive behavior. It is nonetheless closely related enough to smaller Canis species, such as the coyote, and golden jackal, to produce fertile hybrids. It is the only species of Canis to have a range encompassing both Afro-Eurasia and the Americas, and originated in Eurasia during the Pleistocene, colonizing North America on at least three separate occasions during the Rancholabrean. It is a social animal, travelling in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair, accompanied by the pair's adult offspring. The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates, though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage. A seven-year-old wolf is considered to be relatively old, and the maximum lifespan is about 16 years.The global gray wolf population is estimated to be 300,000. The gray wolf is one of the world's best-known and most-researched animals, with probably more books written about it than any other wildlife species. It has a long history of association with humans, having been despised and hunted in most pastoral communities because of its attacks on livestock, while conversely being respected in some agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies. Although the fear of wolves is pervasive in many human societies, the majority of recorded attacks on people have been attributed to animals suffering from rabies. Non-rabid wolves have attacked and killed people, mainly children, but this is rare, as wolves are relatively few, live away from people, and have developed a fear of humans from hunters and shepherds.

Extant Carnivora species

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