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.[1]

Sechuran fox[1]
Sechuran fox
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Lycalopex
L. sechurae
Binomial name
Lycalopex sechurae
Thomas, 1900
Sechuran Fox area
Sechuran fox range

Pseudalopex sechurae
Dusicyon sechurae


The Sechuran fox is small for a canid, weighing 2.6 to 4.2 kilograms (5.7 to 9.3 lb), with a head-and-body length of 50 to 78 centimetres (20 to 31 in) and a tail of 27 to 34 centimetres (11 to 13 in). Its fur is gray agouti over most of the body, fading to white or cream coloured on the underparts. There are reddish brown markings on the backs of the ears, around the eyes, and on the legs. The muzzle is dark grey, and a grey band runs across the chest. Its tail is tipped with black. It has small teeth, adapted to feed on insects and dry plants, with fox-like canine teeth.[3]

The chromosome number is 2n=74.[4]

Distribution and habitat

First identified in the Sechura desert, the fox inhabits arid environments in southwestern Ecuador and western Peru, at elevations from sea level to at least 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), and possibly much higher. Within this region it has been reported from the western foothills of the Andes down to the coast, inhabiting deserts, dry forests, and beaches.[5] There are no recognised subspecies.

Several fossils of Sechuran foxes are known from the late Pleistocene of Ecuador and Peru, close to the modern range. Genetic analysis suggests that the closest living relative of the Sechuran fox is Darwin's fox, which is native to Chile.[5]

Behavior and diet

The Sechuran fox is nocturnal, and spends the daylight hours in a den dug into the ground. It is generally solitary, although occasionally seen travelling in pairs. Pups are born in October and November, although little else is known of its reproductive behavior.[6]

The fox is an opportunistic feeder, and its diet varies widely depending on the season and local habitat. It has been found to feed on seed pods, especially those of the shrub Prosopis juliflora and of caper bushes, as well as the fruit of Cordia and mito plants, and is capable of surviving on an entirely herbivorous diet when necessary. More commonly, however, it also eats insects, rodents, bird eggs, and carrion as a part of its diet.[7] It can probably survive for long periods of time without drinking, subsisting on the water in its food.[3]


The Sechuran fox is threatened by habitat loss, which has been particularly extensive in Ecuador. They have been known to prey on local livestock, such as chickens, and are hunted both to reduce such attacks and so that their body parts can be used in local handicrafts, folk medicine, or magical rituals. The animal is considered at Low Risk in Ecuador, and hunting is not permitted in Peru without a licence. The species is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.[5]


  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. ^ Asa, C.; Cossíos, E.D. & Williams, R. (2008). "Pseudalopex sechurae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b Asa, C. & Cossios, E.D. 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. 69–72. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 July 2013.
  4. ^ Wayne, R. K.; Geffen, E.; Girman, D. J.; Koepfli, K. P.; Lau, L. M.; Marshall, C. R. (1997). "Molecular Systematics of the Canidae". Systematic Biology. 46 (4): 622. doi:10.1093/sysbio/46.4.622. PMID 11975336.
  5. ^ a b c Cossios, E.D. (2010). "Lycalopex sechurae (Carnivora: Canidae)". Mammalian Species. 42 (1): 1–6. doi:10.1644/848.1. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013.
  6. ^ Birdseye, C. (1956). "Observations on a domesticated Peruvian desert fox, Dusicyon". Journal of Mammalogy. 37 (2): 284–287. doi:10.2307/1376706. JSTOR 1376706.
  7. ^ Asa, C. & Wallace, M.P. (1990). "Diet and activity pattern of the Sechuran desert fox (Dusicyon sechurae)". Journal of Mammalogy. 71 (1): 69–72. doi:10.2307/1381318. JSTOR 1381318.

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Arenillas Ecological Reserve

Arenillas Ecological Reserve (Spanish: Reserva Ecológica Arenillas) is a 17,083-hectare (42,210-acre) protected area in Ecuador situated in the El Oro Province, in the Arenillas Canton and in the Huaquillas Canton.

Known mammals in the reserve, according to a 1993 study include the Sechuran fox (Lycalopex sechurae), the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), Robinson's mouse opossum (Marmosa robinsoni), the Pacific spiny-rat (Proechimys decumamus), the jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi), the tayra (Eira barbara), the greater bulldog bat, the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), the crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus) and the Guayaquil squirrel (Sciurus stramineus). There are also 153 species of birds of which 35% are endemic. The reserve is a BirdLife International IBA with the following endangered birds: grey-cheeked parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera), slaty becard (Pachyramphus spodiurus), and blackish-headed spinetail (Synallaxis tithys).The region is managed by the ministry of defense and visitors must get permission from them to visit the area.

Asiatic linsang

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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.

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 in Spanish and lives on Nahuelbuta National Park (Araucanía Region), the Valdivian Coastal Range (Los Ríos Region) in mainland Chile and Chiloé Island. 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).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 and subsequent genetic analysis has clarified the fox's status as a unique species. 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.

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Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti)

Chinese ferret-badger (Melogale moschata)

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Burmese ferret-badger (Melogale personata)

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Lachay National Reserve

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Marcavelica District

Marcavelica District is one of eight districts of the province Sullana in Peru. It was created by law on 25 March 1952 by the government of President Manuel A. Odría.The headquarters of one of the two dedicated hunting areas in Peru is located in Marcavelica District. Known as "El Coto de Caza el Angolo", it was formerly, in the 1970s, the estates and cattle ranch of Calixto Romero. Today it is part of the Northwest Peru Bioshere Reserve. Consisting of some 650 square kilometres (251 sq mi), the area is quite mountainous with deep ravines. The area is covered in dry forests, as the area has a low rainfall, but it is subject to heavy mists. Among the animals in the hunting reserve are whitetail deer, red deer, puma, peccary, sechuran fox, pampas cat, and anteaters. Birds native to the area include the condor, king vulture, hawks, canary partridges, pigeons of various kinds, and numerous song birds.

Mephitis (genus)

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Sechura may be,

Sechura language

Sechuran fox

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.

Extant Carnivora species

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