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.[2]

Lycalopex[1]
Genus pseudalopex
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Caninae
Tribe: Canini
Genus: Lycalopex
Burmeister, 1854
Species

Lycalopex culpaeus
Lycalopex fulvipes
Lycalopex griseus
Lycalopex gymnocercus
Lycalopex sechurae
Lycalopex vetulus

Synonyms

Pseudalopex Burmeister, 1856

Names

The common English words "zorro" and "raposa" are loan words from Spanish and Portuguese, respectively, with both words originally meaning "fox". Current usage lists Pseudalopex (literally: "false fox") as synonymous with Lycalopex ("wolf fox"), with the latter taking precedence.[1] The IUCN, for instance, retains the use of Pseudalopex while also acknowledging Lycalopex as a legitimate alternative.[3]

Species

Species currently included in this genus include:[1]

Image Name Common name Distribution
Culpeo MC Lycalopex culpaeus Culpeo or Andean fox Ecuador and Peru to the southern regions of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego
Pseudalopex fulvipes-primer plano Lycalopex fulvipes Darwin's fox Nahuelbuta National Park (Araucanía Region), the Valdivian Coastal Range (Los Ríos Region) in mainland Chile and Chiloé Island
Zorrito Chile Lycalopex griseus South American gray fox Argentina and Chile
Graxaim (Pseudalopex gymnocercus) 4 (cropped) Lycalopex gymnocercus Pampas fox northern and central Argentina, Uruguay, eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and southern Brazil.
Sechuran fox Lycalopex sechurae Sechuran fox the Sechura Desert in southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru
Lycalopex vetulus Carlos Henrique 2.jpeg Lycalopex vetulus Hoary fox south-central Brazil


In 1914, Oldfield Thomas established the genus Dusicyon, in which he included these zorros. They were later reclassified to Lycalopex (via Pseudalopex) by Langguth in 1975.[1]

Phylogeny

The following phylogenetic tree shows the evolutionary relationships between the Lycalopex species, based on molecular analysis of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences.[4]

Lycalopex

Lycalopex vetulus (hoary fox) Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XXXI).png

Lycalopex sechurae (Sechuran fox or Peruvian desert fox)

Lycalopex fulvipes (Darwin's fox)

Lycalopex gymnocercus (pampas fox) Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XVII)

Lycalopex griseus (South American gray fox or chilla)

Lycalopex culpaeus (culpeo or Andean fox) Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XIV)

Relationship with humans

The zorros are hunted in Argentina for their durable, soft pelts. They are also often labelled 'lamb-killers'.

References

  1. ^ a b c d 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. ^ Lucherini, M. & Luengos Vidal, E. M. (2008). "Lycalopex gymnocercus (Carnivora: Canidae)". Mammalian Species: Number 820, pp. 1–9. doi:10.1644/820.1.
  3. ^ Jiménez, J. E. (2008). "Pseudalopex culpaeus". IUCN. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  4. ^ Tchaicka, Ligia; Freitas, Thales Renato Ochotorena de; Bager, Alex; Vidal, Stela Luengos; Lucherini, Mauro; Iriarte, Agustín; Novaro, Andres; Geffen, Eli; Garcez, Fabricio Silva; Johnson, Warren E.; Wayne, Robert K.; Eizirik, Eduardo (2016). "Molecular assessment of the phylogeny and biogeography of a recently diversified endemic group of South American canids (Mammalia: Carnivora: Canidae)" (PDF). Genetics and Molecular Biology. 39 (3): 442–451. doi:10.1590/1678-4685-GMB-2015-0189.
  • Nowak, Ronald M. (2005). Walker's Carnivores of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. ISBN 0-8018-8032-7
Conquistador

Conquistador (; from Spanish or Portuguese conquistador "conqueror"; Spanish: [koŋkistaˈðoɾes], Portuguese: [kũkiʃtɐˈdoɾis, kõkiʃtɐˈðoɾɨʃ]) is a term widely used to refer to the knights, soldiers and explorers of the Spanish Empire, although it is sometimes used also for the Portuguese Empire in a general sense. During the Age of Discovery, conquistadors sailed beyond Europe to the Americas, Oceania, Africa, and Asia, conquering territory and opening trade routes. They colonized much of the world for Spain and Portugal in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

After Columbus's discovery of the West Indies in 1492, the Spanish conquistadors, who were primarily poor nobles from the impoverished west and south of Spain, began building up an American empire in the Caribbean, using islands such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola as bases. Florida fell to Juan Ponce de León after 1513. From 1519 to 1521, Hernán Cortés waged a campaign against the Aztec Empire, ruled by Moctezuma II. From the territories of the Aztec Empire conquistadors expanded Spanish rule to northern Central America and parts of what is now southern and western United States. Other conquistadors took over the Inca Empire after crossing the Isthmus of Panama and sailing the Pacific to northern Peru. As Francisco Pizarro subdued the empire in a manner similar to Cortés other conquistadores used Peru as base for conquering much of Ecuador and Chile. In Colombia, Bolivia, and Argentina conquistadors from Peru linked up with other conquistadors arriving more directly from the Caribbean and Río de la Plata-Paraguay respectively. Conquistadors founded numerous cities many of them on locations with pre-existing pre-colonial settlements including the capitals of most Latin American countries.

Besides conquest Spanish conquistadors made significant explorations into the Amazon Jungle, Patagonia, the interior of North America, and the Pacific Ocean.

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.

Domesticated red fox

The Russian domesticated red fox is a form of the wild red fox (Vulpes vulpes) which has been domesticated to an extent, under laboratory conditions. They are the result of an experiment which was designed to demonstrate the power of selective breeding to transform species, as described by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species. The experiment was purposely designed to replicate the process that had produced dogs from wolves, by recording the changes in foxes, when in each generation only the most tame foxes were allowed to breed. In short order, the descendant foxes became tamer and more dog-like in their behavior.The program was started in 1959 in the Soviet Union by zoologist Dmitry Belyayev and it has been in continuous operation since. Today, the experiment is under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut, in Russia, at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk.

Dusicyon

Dusicyon is an extinct genus of South American canids. The type species is Dusicyon australis, the Falkland Islands wolf. In 1914, Oldfield Thomas established this genus, in which he included the culpeo and other South American foxes. These other canids were removed to Lycalopex by Langguth in 1975. Dusicyon avus, widely distributed in the late Pleistocene from Uruguay through Buenos Aires Province to southernmost Chile, is the closest known relative of the Falkland Islands wolf; the two lineages split only about 16,000 years ago. It died out in the late Holocene, about 2980 years ago on the island of Tierra del Fuego and almost 1700 years in the continent.There is still much debate about the classification of "Dusicyon" cultridens. It has been suggested that this species be placed in the genera Canis or Lycalopex. This debate makes D. cultridens poorly researched.

Dusicyon avus

Dusicyon avus is an extinct species in the genus Dusicyon. It was medium to large, about the size of a German shepherd. Its scientific name means "ancestor of the foolish dog". It was closely related to the warrah or Falkland Islands wolf.

Falkland Islands wolf

The Falkland Islands wolf (Dusicyon australis), also known as the warrah ( WAH-rə or WAH-rah) and occasionally as the Falkland Islands dog, Falkland Islands fox, or Antarctic wolf, was the only native land mammal of the Falkland Islands. This endemic canid became extinct in 1876, the first known canid to have become extinct in historical times. It was the only modern species in the genus Dusicyon.

Traditionally it had been supposed that the most closely related genus was Lycalopex, including the culpeo, which has been introduced to the Falkland Islands in modern times. However, in 2009, a cladistic analysis of DNA identified the Falkland Island wolf's closest living relative as the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)—an unusually long-legged, fox-like South American canid, from which it separated about 6.7 million years ago.The Falkland Islands wolf existed on both West and East Falkland, but Charles Darwin was uncertain if they were differentiated varieties. Its fur had a tawny colour and the tip of the tail was white. Its diet is unknown, but, due to the absence of native rodents on the Falklands, probably consisted of ground-nesting birds such as geese and penguins, seal pups, and insects, as well as seashore scavenging. It has sometimes been said that it may have lived in burrows.

Extant Carnivora species

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