South American gray fox

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South American gray fox[1]
Zorrito Chile.JPG
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Lycalopex
Species: L. griseus
Binomial name
Lycalopex griseus
(Gray, 1837)
Pseudalopex griseus range map.png
Distribution of the South American gray fox
Synonyms[3]
  • Dusicyon griseus
  • Pseudalopex griseus (Gray, 1837)
A chilla in Pan de Azucar National Park in the coast of Atacama Desert.

The South American gray fox (Lycalopex griseus), also known as the Patagonian fox, the chilla, or the grey zorro, is a species of zorro, the "false" foxes.

Range and habitat[edit]

The South American gray fox is found in the Southern Cone of South America, particularly in Argentina and Chile. Its range comprises a stripe, both sides of the Andes Mountain Range between parallels 17ºS (northernmost Chile) and 54ºS (Tierra del Fuego).[2]

In Argentina, this species inhabits the western semiarid region of the country, from the Andean spurs (ca. 69ºW) to meridian 66ºW. South from the Río Grande, the distribution of the fox widens reaching the Atlantic coast. In Chile, it is present throughout the country. Its presence in Peru has been mentioned; to date, however, there has been no confirmation of it. The South American gray fox was introduced to the Falkland Islands in the late 1920s early 1930s and is still present in quite large numbers on Beaver and Weddell Islands plus several smaller islands.[2]

The South American gray fox occurs in a variety of habitats, from the warm, arid scrublands of the Argentine uplands and the cold, arid Patagonian steppe to the forests of southernmost Chile.[2]

Description[edit]

The South American gray fox is a small fox-like canid, weighing 2.5 to 5.45 kilograms (5.5 to 12.0 lb), and measuring 65 to 110 centimetres (26 to 43 in) in length including a tail of 20 to 43 cm (8 to 17 in). The head is reddish-brown flecked with white. The ears are large and there is a distinct black spot on the chin. The pelage is brindled, with agouti guard hairs and a short, dense pale undercoat. The underparts are pale grey. The limbs are tawny and the thighs are crossed by a dark bar. The long, bushy tail has a dark dorsal stripe and dark tip with a paler, mottled underside.[3]

Diet[edit]

The diet varies in different parts of its range and at different times of year. It consists mainly of mammals, birds, arthropods, bird eggs, reptiles, fruit and carrion. The main prey items seem to be small mammals, especially rodents. Fruits eaten include Cryptocarya alba, Lithraea caustica and Prosopanche spp.[4]

Reproduction[edit]

It breeds in late austral fall, around March. After a gestation period of 2 months, 2–4 kits are born in a den. Not much else is recorded about its lifestyle.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. ^ a b c d Jiménez et al. (2008). Pseudalopex griseus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 6 May 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  3. ^ a b "Lycalopex griseus (mammal)". Global Invasive Species Database. Invasive Species Specialist Group. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, Michael Hoffmann, David Whyte Macdonald (2004). "South American gray fox". Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN. pp. 56–63. Retrieved 2015-01-24.