Darwin's fox

Darwin's fox or Darwin's zorro (Lycalopex fulvipes) is an endangered canine from the genus Lycalopex. It is also known as the zorro chilote or zorro de Darwin[2] in Spanish and lives on Nahuelbuta National Park (Araucanía Region), the Valdivian Coastal Range (Los Ríos Region) in mainland Chile and Chiloé Island.[3] This small, dark canine weighs 1.8 to 3.95 kg (4.0 to 8.7 lb), has a head-and-body length of 48 to 59 cm (19 to 23 in) and a tail that is 17.5 to 25.5 cm (7 to 10 in).[4]

Darwin's fox was first collected from San Pedro Island off the coast of Chile by the naturalist Charles Darwin in 1834. It was long held that Darwin's fox was a subspecies of the South American gray fox (L. griseus); however, the discovery of a small population of Darwin's fox on the mainland in Nahuelbuta National Park in 1990[5] and subsequent genetic analysis has clarified the fox's status as a unique species.[6] In 2012 and 2013 the presence of the Darwin's fox at Oncol Park, Alerce Costero National Park and the Valdivian Coastal Reserve was confirmed through camera trapping.[3]

Darwin's fox[1]
Pseudalopex fulvipes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Lycalopex
Species:
L. fulvipes
Binomial name
Lycalopex fulvipes
(Martin, 1837)
Darwin's Fox area
Darwin's fox range
Synonyms
  • lagopus (Molina, 1782)

Taxonomy and evolution

Pseudalopex is a South American genus of canine distantly related to wolves and is technically not a fox. When Charles Darwin collected a specimen from San Pedro Island in Chiloé Archipelago in December 1834 during the Beagle survey expedition, he observed that this "fox (of Chiloe, a rare animal) sat on the point & was so absorbed in watching [survey work], that he allowed me to walk behind him & actually kill him with my geological hammer".[7] In the 1839 publication of his Journal and Remarks, Darwin said "This fox, more curious or more scientific, but less wise, than the generality of his brethren, is now mounted in the museum of the Zoological Society." He said it was "an undescribed species",[8] indicating that it was distinct from the species (L. culpaeus and L. griseus) that occur on the mainland. Later, Darwin's fox was classified as a subspecies (Lycalopex griseus fulvipes) of the latter.

Darwin's fox does not interbreed with the other Lycalopex species, only lives in forests, and is smaller and darker-colored than the other species. In 1990 a small population of Darwin's fox was found on the mainland in the forested Nahuelbuta National Park, indicating that the fox was not endemic to the island. According to Yahnke et al., in their 1996 article published in the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, analysis of mitochondrial DNA of Darwin's fox and the gray fox showed two patterns, indicating Darwin's fox was a new species, closely related to the Sechuran fox. Also according to Yahnke (1995; et al.1996) the present restricted range is a relic of a much wider former range. Zoologists noted the distinctiveness in the ecological niche, appearance, and behavior of this species. Darwin's fox is differentiated from the gray fox in being darker; having shorter legs; a broader, shorter skull; smaller auditory bullae; a more robust dentition; and a different jaw shape and style of premolar occlusion.

Pseudalopex fulvipes-primer plano
A male Darwin's fox in Ahuenco, Chiloé Island, Chile

In the late Pleistocene, Chiloé Island was connected to mainland Chile by a land bridge. The land bridge was severed about 15,000 years ago when the sea level rose following the last glaciation.[9] This created two isolated populations of Darwin's fox.

Diet

Darwin's fox has a vast diet. In dense forests, where it exists, the foxes hunt for mammals, reptiles, beetles, and invertebrates. Sometimes it selects fruits and berries. Birds and amphibians to a lesser degree are also consumed. It sometimes eats carrion, but it mostly eats live animals and fruit. This makes it mostly an omnivore, sometimes a scavenger.

Ecology

Darwin's fox is generally believed to be a forest obligate species found only in southern temperate rainforests.[2] They only occur in areas of primary forest on Chiloé and on the mainland. They are most active at twilight and before sunrise. In contrast to other Lycalopex species, Darwin's fox prefers open spaces. The population of Chiloé has about 200 individuals, and Nahuelbuta on the mainland contains about 50 individuals. The total population size is about 250 mature individuals with at least 90% of the population occurring in one subspopulation (Chiloé Island). Although the species is protected in Nahuelbuta National Park, substantial mortality sources exist when foxes move to lower, unprotected private areas in search of milder conditions during the winter.[10]

Conservation status

The species was previously cIassified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, but in 2016 was downlisted to Endangered, as its area occurrences is apparently substantially larger than originally believed. Current estimates of the total population are still low, with an estimated minimum 227 individuals on the mainland and 412 on Chiloé Island. Fragmentation of forest adjacent to the national park and on the island is a concern for their conservation, and feral dogs may pose the greatest threat to their survival by spreading disease or directly attacking. Persecution by people who think that the foxes attack domestic fowls, though they pose little threat, is also a potential problem.[2]

References

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c d Silva-Rodríguez, E; Farias, A.; Moreira-Arce, D.; Cabello, J.; Hidalgo-Hermoso, E.; Lucherini, M. & Jiménez, J. (2016). "Lycalopex fulvipes". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T41586A85370871. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b Farías, A.A., M.A. Sepúlveda, E.A. Silva-Rodríguez, A. Eguren, D. González, N.I. Jordán, E. Ovando, P. Stowhas. 2014. A new population of Darwin’s fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) in the Valdivian Coastal Range. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 87:3.
  4. ^ Jiménez, J.E. & McMahon, E. Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan (PDF). International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources/Species Survival Commission Canid Specialist Group. pp. 50–55. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 July 2013.
  5. ^ Medel, R.G. et al. 1990. Discovery of a continental population of the rare Darwin fox, Dusicyon fulvipes (Martin, 1839) in Chile. Biological Conservation 51:71-77
  6. ^ Yahnke, C.J. et al. 1996. Darwin's Fox: A Distinct Endangered Species in a Vanishing Habitat. Conservation Biology 10:366-375
  7. ^ Keynes, R. D. ed. 2001. Charles Darwin's Beagle diary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 272–273
  8. ^ Darwin, C. R. 1839. Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, Journal and Remarks 1832–1836. London: Henry Colburn. p. 341
  9. ^ Villagrán, C. 1988. Late Quaternary vegetation of Southern Isla Grande de Chiloë, Chile. Quaternary Research 29: 294–306
  10. ^ Jiménez, J.E., Lucherini, M. & Novaro, A.J., 2004; IUCN & CSG 2004). On mainland Chile, Jaime Jiménez has observed a small population since 1975 in Nahuelbuta National Park; this population was first reported to science in the early 1990s (Medel et al. 1990; Jiménez, J.E., Lucherini, M. & Novaro, A.J., 2004; IUCN, 2004
Asiatic linsang

The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.

Bulbus glandis

The bulbus glandis (also called a bulb) is an erectile tissue structure on the penis of canid mammals. During mating the tissues swell up and lock (tie) the male's penis immediately before ejaculation inside the female. The locking is completed by circular muscles just inside the female's vagina; this is called "the knot" tightening thus preventing the male from withdrawing. The circular muscles also contract intermittently, which has the effect of stimulating ejaculation of sperm, followed by prostatic fluid, as well as maintaining the swelling of the penis and therefore the tie, for some time. For domestic dogs the tie may last up to half an hour or more, though usually less.The bulbus glandis also occurs in the penises of some pinnipeds, including South American fur seals.

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.

Catopuma

Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the bay cat (C. badia) and the Asian golden cat (C. temminckii).

Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head. They inhabit forested environments in Southeast Asia. The bay cat is restricted to the island of Borneo. Originally thought to be two subspecies of the same animal, recent genetic analysis has confirmed they are, indeed, separate species.The two species diverged from one another 4.9-5.3 million years ago, long before Borneo separated from the neighboring islands. Their closest living relative is the marbled cat, from which the common ancestor of the genus Catopuma diverged around 9.4 million years ago.

Chiloé Archipelago

The Chiloé Archipelago (Spanish: Archipiélago de Chiloé; pronounced [tʃi.lo.ˈe]) is a group of islands lying off the coast of Chile, in the Los Lagos Region. It is separated from mainland Chile by the Chacao Channel in the north, the Sea of Chiloé in the east and the Gulf of Corcovado in the southeast. The archipelago forms the Chiloé Province (except for the Desertores Islands in the east, which are part of Palena Province). The main island is Chiloé Island (Isla Grande de Chiloé).

Chiloé is derived from the Mapuche word chillwe, meaning "seagull place". Chill or chülle refers to the brown-hooded gull, and the -we suffix means 'place'. The adjective and demonym for this region is chilote in the masculine and chilota in the feminine.

Chiloé is widely known for its distinctive folklore, mythology, cuisine and unique architecture. The variety of potato which is most widely grown throughout the world is indigenous to the islands.

Crab-eating fox

The crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), also known as the forest fox, wood fox, or maikong, is an extant species of medium-sized canid endemic to the central part of South America, and which appeared during the Pliocene epoch. Like South American foxes, which are in the genus Lycalopex, it is not closely related to true foxes. Cerdocyon comes from the Greek words kerdo (meaning fox) and cyon (dog) referring to the dog-and fox-like characteristics of this animal.

Culpeo

The culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus), sometimes known as the zorro culpeo or Andean fox, is a South American fox species. It is the second-largest native canid on the continent, after the maned wolf. In appearance, it bears many similarities to the widely recognized red fox. It has grey and reddish fur, a white chin, reddish legs and a stripe on its back that may be barely visible.

The culpeo's diet consists largely of rodents, rabbits, birds and lizards, and to a lesser extent, plant material and carrion. The culpeo does attack sheep on occasion and is therefore often hunted or poisoned. In some regions it has become rare, but overall the species is not threatened with extinction.

The culpeo was domesticated to form the Fuegian dog, but this animal became extinct some time between 1880 and 1919.

Fox

Foxes are small-to-medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. Foxes have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail (or brush).

Twelve species belong to the monophyletic "true foxes" group of genus Vulpes. Approximately another 25 current or extinct species are always or sometimes called foxes; these foxes are either part of the paraphyletic group of the South American foxes, or of the outlying group, which consists of bat-eared fox, gray fox, and island fox. Foxes live on every continent except Antarctica. By far the most common and widespread species of fox is the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) with about 47 recognized subspecies. The global distribution of foxes, together with their widespread reputation for cunning, has contributed to their prominence in popular culture and folklore in many societies around the world. The hunting of foxes with packs of hounds, long an established pursuit in Europe, especially in the British Isles, was exported by European settlers to various parts of the New World.

Indian brown mongoose

The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.

Lontra

Lontra is a genus of otters from the Americas.

Lutrogale

Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.

Maned wolf

The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America. Its markings resemble those of foxes, but it is not a fox, nor is it a wolf. It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon (meaning "golden dog").

This mammal is found in open and semiopen habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees, in south, central-west, and southeastern Brazil, Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia east and north of the Andes, and far southeastern Peru (Pampas del Heath only). It is very rare in Uruguay, possibly being displaced completely through loss of habitat. IUCN lists it as near threatened, while it is considered a vulnerable species by the Brazilian government (IBAMA).

It is known locally as aguará guazú (meaning "large fox" in the Guarani language), or kalak in the Toba Qom language, lobo de crin, lobo de los esteros, or lobo colorado, and lobo-guará in Brazil. It also is called borochi in Bolivia.

Mustelinae

Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).

Nahuelbuta National Park

Nahuelbuta National Park (Spanish pronunciation: [nawelˈβuta]) is one of the few parks located in La Araucanía Region of Chile's Coastal Mountain Range. It sits atop the highest part of the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta. Created in 1939, it consists of 6,832 hectares situated just 162 km northeast of Temuco. Nahuelbuta (Mapuche for "big tiger") is a sanctuary for Monkey Puzzle trees, with specimens dating back 2,000 years.

Nyctereutes

Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.

Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.

Paradoxurus

Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:

the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)

the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)

the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.

Sechuran fox

The Sechuran fox (Lycalopex sechurae), also called the Peruvian desert fox or the Sechuran zorro, is a small South American species of canid closely related to other South American "false" foxes or zorro. It is found in the Sechura Desert in southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru.

South American fox

The South American foxes (Lycalopex), commonly called raposa in Portuguese, or zorro in Spanish, are a genus of the family Canidae from South America. Despite their name, they are not true foxes, but are a unique canid genus related to wolves and jackals, which some somewhat resemble foxes due to convergent evolution. The South American gray fox, Lycalopex griseus, is the most common species, and is known for its large ears and a highly marketable, russet-fringed pelt.

The oldest known fossils belonging to the genus were discovered in Chile, and date from 2.0 to 2.5 million years ago, in the mid- to late Pliocene.

Zona Sur

The Zona Sur (Southern Zone) is one of the five natural regions on which CORFO divided continental Chile in 1950. Its northern border is formed by the Bío-Bío River, the limit with the Central Chile Zone. By west with the Pacific Ocean, by the east with the Andean mountains and Argentina. Its southern border is the Chacao Channel, beyond it lies the Austral Zone. While Chiloé Archipelago belongs geographically to Zona Austral in terms of culture and history it lies closer to Zona Sur.

Extant Carnivora species

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.