The genus Urocyon (from the Greek word for "tailed dog"[2]) is a genus that contains two (or possibly three; see next paragraph) living Western Hemisphere foxes in the family Canidae; the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and the closely related island fox (Urocyon littoralis), which is a dwarf cousin of the gray fox;[1] as well as one fossil species, Urocyon progressus.[3]

Urocyon and the raccoon dog are the only canids able to climb trees. Urocyon is one of the oldest fox genera still in existence. Evidence of the Cozumel fox, a disputed extinct or critically endangered third species, was found on the island of Cozumel, Mexico.[4] The Cozumel fox, which has not been scientifically described to date, is a dwarf form like the island fox, but a bit larger, being up to three-quarters the size of the gray fox.[5]

The genus Urocyon is considered to be the most basal of the living canids.[6]

Temporal range: Early Pliocene-Holocene
Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Gray fox
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Family: Canidae
Genus: Urocyon
Baird, 1857
Type species
Canis virginianus (= Canis cinereoargenteus)
Schreber, 1775

Urocyon cinereoargenteus
Urocyon littoralis
Urocyon progressus

Extant Species

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) Urocyon cinereoargenteus gray fox southern half of North America from southern Canada to the northern part of South America (Venezuela and Colombia), excluding the mountains of northwestern United States
Urocyon littoralis (Island fox) FWS 001 Urocyon littoralis Island fox Channel Islands (off the coast of Southern California)


  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. ^ University of Arkansas-Monticello. Meanings of scientific names of wild and domesticated mammals of Arkansas: Urocyon.
  3. ^ Prevosti, F.J., & Rincóon, A.D. (2007). "A new fossil canid assemblage from the late Pleistocene of northern South America: the canids of the Inciarte asphalt pit (Zulia, Venezuela), fossil record and biogeography". J. Pal. 81 (5): 1053–1065. doi:10.1666/pleo05-143.1.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Cuarón, Alfredo D.; Martinez-Morales, Miguel Angel; McFadden, Katherine W.; Valenzuela, David & Gompper, Matthew E. (2004). "The status of dwarf carnivores on Cozumel Island, Mexico". Biodiversity and Conservation. 13 (2): 317–331. CiteSeerX doi:10.1023/B:BIOC.0000006501.80472.cc.
  5. ^ Gompper, M. E.; Petrites, A. E. & Lyman, R. L. (2006). "Cozumel Island fox (Urocyon sp.) dwarfism and possible divergence history based on subfossil bones". J. Zool. 270 (1): 72–77. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00119.x.
  6. ^ 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): 622–653. doi:10.1093/sysbio/46.4.622. PMID 11975336.
Androlaelaps fahrenholzi

Androlaelaps fahrenholzi is a species of mite in the genus Androlaelaps of the family Laelapidae. It occurs throughout the contiguous United States, where it has been recorded on the mammals Arborimus albipes, Arborimus longicaudus, Bassariscus astutus, Blarina brevicauda, Blarina carolinensis, Callospermophilus lateralis, Chaetodipus hispidus, Condylura cristata, Corynorhinus townsendii, Cryptotis parva, Cynomys ludovicianus, Didelphis virginiana, Dipodomys elator, Dipodomys elephantinus, Dipodomys ordii, Dipodomys venustus, Geomys pinetis, Glaucomys sabrinus, Glaucomys volans, Lemmiscus curtatus, Marmota monax, Mephitis mephitis, Microtus chrotorrhinus, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus, Microtus longicaudus, Microtus montanus, Microtus ochrogaster, Microtus oregoni, Microtus pennsylvanicus, Microtus pinetorum, Microtus richardsoni, Microtus townsendii, Mus musculus, Mustela erminea, Mustela frenata, Mustela nivalis, Myodes californicus, Myodes gapperi, Napaeozapus insignis, Neofiber alleni, Neotamias amoenus, Neotamias minimus, Neotoma cinerea, Neotoma floridana, Neotoma fuscipes, Neotoma lepida, Neotoma magister, Neotoma micropus, Neovison vison, Neurotrichus gibbsii, Ochrotomys nuttalli, Ondatra zibethicus, Onychomys leucogaster, Otospermophilus beecheyi, Oryzomys palustris, Parascalops breweri, Perognathus fasciatus, Perognathus parvus, Peromyscus boylii, Peromyscus crinitus, Peromyscus gossypinus, Peromyscus leucopus, Peromyscus maniculatus, Peromyscus truei, Podomys floridanus, Poliocitellus franklinii, Procyon lotor, Rattus norvegicus, Reithrodontomys megalotis, Scalopus aquaticus, Scapanus latimanus, Scapanus orarius, Scapanus townsendii, Sciurus carolinensis, Sciurus niger, Sigmodon hispidus, Sorex bendirii, Sorex cinereus, Sorex fumeus, Sorex longirostris, Sorex pacificus, Sorex palustris, Sorex trowbridgii, Sorex vagrans, Spilogale putorius, Sylvilagus floridanus, Sylvilagus palustris, Synaptomys borealis, Synaptomys cooperi, Tamias striatus, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, Taxidea taxus, Thomomys talpoides, Urocitellus beldingi, Urocitellus brunneus, Urocitellus richardsonii, Urocitellus townsendii, Urocitellus washingtoni, Urocyon cinereoargenteus, Xerospermophilus tereticaudus, Zapus hudsonius, Zapus princeps, and Zapus trinotatus.

California Fur Rush

Before the 1849 California Gold Rush, American, English and Russian fur hunters were drawn to Spanish (and then Mexican) California in a California Fur Rush, to exploit its enormous fur resources. Before 1825, these Europeans were drawn to the northern and central California coast to harvest prodigious quantities of southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) and fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus), and then to the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta to harvest beaver (Castor canadensis), river otter (Lontra canadensis), marten, fisher, mink, gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), weasel, and harbor seal. It was California's early fur trade, more than any other single factor, that opened up the West, and the San Francisco Bay Area in particular, to world trade.


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.


In the history of the carnivores, the family Canidae is represented by the two extinct subfamilies designated as Hesperocyoninae and Borophaginae, and the extant subfamily Caninae. This subfamily includes all living canids and their most recent fossil relatives. Their fossils have been found in Lower Oligocene North America, and they did not spread to Asia until the end of the Miocene, some 7 million to 8 million years ago. Many extinct species of Caninae were endemic to North America, living from 34 million to 11,000 years ago.


Carnivoramorpha are a clade of mammals that includes the modern order Carnivora.

Cozumel fox

The Cozumel fox is an undescribed species of fox in the genus Urocyon, which is apparently close to extinction or already extinct. It is (or was until recently) found on the island of Cozumel, Mexico. The last reported sighting was in 2001, but surveys focusing on this species have not yet been carried out. The Cozumel fox, which has not been scientifically described to date, is a dwarf form like the island fox but slightly larger, being up to three-quarters the size of the gray fox. It had been isolated on the island for at least 5,000 years, and probably far longer. This would indicate that the colonization of the island of Cozumel by Urocyon predates that of humans.


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.


Gobicyon is an extinct genus of terrestrial carnivore belonging to the dog family ("Canidae") endemic to Central Asia from the Early Miocene subepoch through to the Late Miocene subepoch 13.6—11.6 Ma, existing for approximately 2 million years.Gobicyon was named by Edwin Harris Colbert in 1939.

Gray fox

The gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), or grey fox, is an omnivorous mammal of the family Canidae, widespread throughout North America and Central America. This species and its only congener, the diminutive Channel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis), are the only living members of the genus Urocyon, which is considered to be the most basal of the living canids. Though it was once the most common fox in the eastern United States, and still is found there, human advancement and deforestation allowed the red fox to become more dominant. The Pacific States still have the gray fox as a dominant. It is the only American canid that can climb trees. Its specific epithet cinereoargenteus means "ashen silver".

Island fox

The island fox (Urocyon littoralis) is a small fox that is native to six of the eight Channel Islands of California. There are six subspecies, each unique to the island it lives on, reflecting its evolutionary history.

List of mammals of Missouri

This is a list of known mammals in Missouri, United States.

List of the prehistoric life of Arkansas

This list of the prehistoric life of Arkansas contains the various prehistoric life-forms whose fossilized remains have been reported from within the US state of Arkansas.

List of the prehistoric life of Pennsylvania

This list of the prehistoric life of Pennsylvania contains the various prehistoric life-forms whose fossilized remains have been reported from within the US state of Pennsylvania.


Metalopex is an extinct hypocarnivorous canid mammal similar to Vulpes endemic to North America. Its sister taxon is the extant Urocyon which form a clade based on dentition. These same dental characteristics are shared by Otocyon and Protocyon.

Pack (canine)

Pack is a social group of conspecific canids. Not all species of canids form packs; for example, small canids like the red fox do not. Pack size and social behaviour within packs varies across species.


Philotrox is an extinct genus of bone crushing omnivorous mammal similar to a dog of the family Canidae which inhabited North America during the Oligocene living from 30.8—26.3 Ma and existed for approximately 4.5 million years.

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island (Spanish: Isla Santa Cruz, Chumash: Limuw) is the largest of the eight islands in the Channel Islands and also the largest island in California, located off the coast of California. The island, in the northern group of the Channel Islands, is 22 miles (35 km) long and from 2 to 6 miles (3.2 to 9.7 km) wide with an area of 61,764.6 acres (249.952 km2). Santa Cruz Island is located within Santa Barbara County, California. The coastline has steep cliffs, gigantic sea caves, coves, and sandy beaches. Defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block 3000, Block Group 3, Census Tract 29.10 of Santa Barbara County, the 2000 census showed an official population of two persons. The highest peak is Devils Peak, at 2450+ feet (747+ m). It was the largest privately owned island off the continental United States but is currently jointly owned by the National Park Service (24%), and the Nature Conservancy (76%).A central valley splits the island along the Santa Cruz Island Fault, with volcanic rock on the north and older sedimentary rock on the south. This volcanic rock was heavily fractured during the uplift phase that formed the island and over a hundred large sea caves have been carved into the resulting faults. One of these, Painted Cave, is among the world's largest.Santa Cruz Island is home to some animals and plants found nowhere else on earth, including for instance the Santa Cruz Island fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae), a subspecies of the island fox.


The Teakettler (Urocyon iugulebesonia) is a legendary creature from American folklore with origins in lumberjack culture, specifically the lumber camps of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is part of a group of similar folklore creatures known collectively as Fearsome Critters. It is said to resemble a small stubby legged dog with the ears of a cat. Its name comes from the sound it makes, which is akin to that of a boiling tea kettle. It only walks backwards, and steam issues from its mouth as it makes its whistle. As the myth goes, only a few lumberjacks have seen one, as they are very shy, but if a boiling kettle is heard and nowhere to be found, it is sure that a Teakettler is nearby.

An account is given by Jorge Luis Borges under "Fauna of the United States" in Book of Imaginary Beings (1957).

Urocyon progressus

Urocyon progressus is an extinct canid carnivoran mammal of the genus Urocyon, and was most common in North America during the Blancan Stage on the geologic timescale. Fossil samples have been found in both Kansas and Texas. It may have been the ancestor of the modern gray fox.

Extant Carnivora species

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