Pampas fox

The pampas fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus), also known as grey pampean fox, aguará chaí, aguarachay, Azara's fox, or Azara's zorro, is a medium-sized zorro, or "false" fox, native to the South American pampas. The alternative common names are references to Spanish naturalist Félix de Azara.

Pampas fox[1]
Lycalopex gymnocercus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Lycalopex
Species:
L. gymnocercus
Binomial name
Lycalopex gymnocercus
(Fischer, 1814)
Pseudalopex gymnocercus range map
Natural range shown in green

Description

Vulpesazarateeth
Pampas fox dentition (right) compared with that of red fox (left)

The pampas fox resembles the culpeo or Andean fox in appearance and size, but has a proportionately wider snout, reddish fur on the head and neck, and a black mark on the muzzle. Its short, dense fur is grey over most of the body, with a black line running down the back and onto the tail, and pale, almost white, underparts. The ears are triangular, broad, and relatively large, and are reddish on the outer surface and white on the inner surface. The inner surfaces of the legs are similar in color to the underparts, while the outer surface is reddish on the fore limbs, and grey on the hind limbs; the lower hind limb also bears a distinctive black spot. Adults range from 51 to 80 cm (20 to 31 in) in body length, and weigh 2.4 to 8.0 kg (5.3 to 17.6 lb); males are about 10% heavier than females.[3]

In the northern part of its range, the pampas fox is more richly colored than in the southern part.

Distribution and habitat

The pampas fox can be found in northern and central Argentina, Uruguay, eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. It prefers open pampas habitats, often close to agricultural land, but can also be found in montane or chaco forest, dry scrubland, and wetland habitats. It is most common below 1,000 m (3,300 ft) elevation, but can inhabit puna grasslands up to 3,500 m (11,500 ft).[4]

Five subspecies are currently recognised, although the geographic range of each is unclear, and the type localities of three of them lie outside the present-day range of the species:[1][3]

  • L. g. gymnocercus - northeastern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil
  • L. g. antiquus - central Argentina
  • L. g. domeykoanus - first described from northern Chile
  • L. g. gracilis - first described from western Argentina
  • L. g. maulinicus - first described from central Chile

Fossils of this species are known from the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene of Argentina.[3]

Local names

In the Spanish-speaking areas of its habitat, the pampas fox is known by the common names of zorro de las pampas or zorro gris pampeano. In Portuguese-speaking Brazil, it is called by the common names of graxaim or sorro.

Behavior and diet

The pampas foxes mostly live a solitary life, but come together as monogamous pairs in the breeding season to raise their young. They are mainly nocturnal, becoming active at dusk, although may also be active during the day. They den in any available cavity, including caves, hollow trees, and the burrows of viscachas or armadillos.[3] Even when raising young together, adult foxes generally hunt alone, marking their territory by defecating at specific latrine sites.[5] Although considerable variation is seen, the home range of a typical pampas fox has been estimated to be around 260 hectares (640 acres).[3]

Pampas foxes are more omnivorous than most other canids, and have a varied and opportunistic diet. Their primary prey consists of birds, rodents, hares, fruit, carrion, and insects, although they also eat lizards, armadillos, snails and other invertebrates, lambs, and the eggs of ground-nesting birds.[3] Their primary predators are pumas and domesticated dogs.[4]

Reproduction

Pampas foxes breed in the early spring, with the female coming into heat just once each year. After a gestation period of 55 to 60 days, the mother gives birth to a litter of up to eight kits. The young are born between September and December, and are weaned around two months of age. Females reach sexual maturity in their first year, and animals have lived for up to 14 years in captivity.[3]

Pups hunt with parents when they are 3 months old. The males bring food to their females, which stay at the den with kits.

Threats

The main threats to the pampas fox comes from humans hunting them for their fur,[6] to prevent them from attacking livestock, and may be affected by the loss of their natural habitat,[4] although, because they remain common in most areas where they have been studied, the pampas fox is not presently considered a threatened species.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b 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 Jiménez; et al. (2008). "Pseudalopex gymnocercus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 11 May 2006.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Lucherini, M. & Luengos Vidal, E. M. (2008). "Lycalopex gymnocercus (Carnivora: Canidae)". Mammalian Species: Number 820, pp. 1–9. doi:10.1644/820.1.
  4. ^ a b c Lucherini, M.; et al. (2004). Sillero-Zubiri, Hoffman; Macdonald, eds. Canids: foxes, wolves, jackals, and dogs. Status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN. pp. 63–68. Archived from the original on 2011-10-06.
  5. ^ García, V.B. & Kittlein, M.J. (2005). "Diet, habitat use, and relative abundance of pampas fox (Pseudalopex gymnocercus) in northern Patagonia, Argentina". Mammalian Biology. 70 (4): 218–226. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2004.11.019.
  6. ^ Proyecto Zorros - Zorro gris chico (Pseudalopex gymnocercus) - Ficha Ecológica de la Especie Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine (in Spanish)
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.

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.

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.

Ferret-badger

Ferret-badgers are the five species of the genus Melogale, which is the only genus of the monotypic mustelid subfamily Helictidinae.

Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti)

Chinese ferret-badger (Melogale moschata)

Javan ferret-badger (Melogale orientalis)

Burmese ferret-badger (Melogale personata)

Vietnam ferret-badger (Melogale cucphuongensis)

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.

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.

Mephitis (genus)

The genus Mephitis is one of several genera of skunks, which has two species and a North American distribution.

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).

Narrow-striped mongoose

The narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata) is a member of the family Eupleridae, subfamily Galidiinae and endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits the Madagascar dry deciduous forests of western and southwestern Madagascar, where it lives from sea level to about 125 m (410 ft) between the Tsiribihina and Mangoky rivers. In Malagasy it is called bokiboky (pronounced "Boo-ky Boo-ky").

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.

Pampas

The Pampas (from the Quechua: pampa, meaning "plain") are fertile South American lowlands that cover more than 750,000 km2 (289,577 sq mi) and include the Argentine provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and Córdoba; all of Uruguay; and the southernmost Brazilian State, Rio Grande do Sul. The vast plains are a natural region, interrupted only by the low Ventana and Tandil hills, near Bahía Blanca and Tandil (Argentina), with a height of 1,300 m (4,265 ft) and 500 m (1,640 ft), respectively.

The climate is temperate, with precipitation of 600 to 1,200 mm (23.6 to 47.2 in) that is more or less evenly distributed through the year, making the soils appropriate for agriculture. The area is also one of the distinct physiography provinces of the larger Paraná-Paraguay Plain division.

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.

Pusa

Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.

The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.

Only the Caspian seal is endangered.

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.

Speothos

Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living bush dog, Speothos venaticus, and an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Unusually, the fossil species was identified and named before the extant species was discovered, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.

Viverra

Viverra is a mammalian genus that was first nominated and described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 as comprising several species including the large Indian civet (V. zibetha). The genus was subordinated to the viverrid family by John Edward Gray in 1821.

Extant Carnivora species

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