South American fox

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

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

The South American foxes (Lycalopex), commonly called "zorros", in Spanish, or "raposas", in Portuguese, are a genus of the dog family from South America. Despite their name, they are not true foxes but are a unique canid genus more closely related to the wolves, dogs, jackals and coyotes than they are to foxes, which they somewhat resemble and after which they are named. 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]

Names[edit]

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[edit]

Species currently included in this genus include:[1]

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]

Relationship with humans[edit]

The zorros are hunted in Argentina for their durable, soft pelt. In Argentina they are often labelled 'lamb-killers'.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (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. 
  • Nowak, Ronald M. (2005). Walker's Carnivores of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. ISBN 0-8018-8032-7