Egyptian wolf

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"African wolf" redirects here. For the extinct canid genus, see Xenocyon. For the other species of wolf native to Africa, see Ethiopian wolf.
Egyptian wolf
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: Canis anthus
Subspecies: C. a. lupaster
Trinomial name
Canis anthus lupaster
(Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833)
African canis.png

C. aureus lupaster
C. lupaster
C. lupus lupaster
C. sacer (Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833)

The Egyptian wolf, formerly known as the Egyptian jackal, is a canid of unresolved taxonomic identity native to northern, eastern and western Africa. Throughout much of the 20th century, the animal was classed as a subspecies of golden jackal, Canis aureus lupaster. Notice was however taken by numerous zoologists of the animal's morphology, which corresponds more to that of the grey wolf. This was corroborated through mtDNA studies, which showed that the animal is a subspecies of grey wolf, and should be renamed African wolf (Canis lupus lupaster). Nevertheless, it has not been formally recognised as such by MSW3 which, as of 2005,[1] still classifies it as a subspecies of golden jackal. In 2015, however, this taxon along with other African taxa that have been traditionally be classified as subspecies of the golden jackal have been found to be a distinct species more related to the grey wolf than to Eurasian populations of golden jackals based on a genomic study.[2]

Lupaster differs from the Senegalese wolf by its heavier build, wider head, thicker fur, longer legs, more rounded ears, and shorter tail. The fur is darker than the golden jackal's, and has a broader white patch on the chest. Field observations in Senegal's Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary indicate that it is a solitary animal that lives on the periphery of golden jackal territories, and dominates the latter species in disputes over carcasses. According to local shepherds, while the golden jackal preys primarily on lambs, lupaster attacks larger prey, such as sheep, goats and cattle. Lupaster inhabits a number of different habitats; in Algeria it lives in Mediterranean, coastal and hilly areas (including hedged farmlands, scrublands, pinewoods and oak forests), while populations in Senegal inhabit tropical, semi-arid climate zones including Sahelian savannahs. Lupaster populations in Mali have been documented in arid Sahelian massifs.[3]


  1. ^ 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. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Klaus-Peter Koepfli, John Pollinger, Raquel Godinho, Jacqueline Robinson, Amanda Lea, Sarah Hendricks, Rena M. Schweizer, Olaf Thalmann, Pedro Silva, Zhenxin Fan, Andrey A. Yurchenko, Pavel Dobrynin, Alexey Makunin, James A. Cahill, Beth Shapiro, Francisco Álvares, José C. Brito, Eli Geffen, Jennifer A. Leonard, Kristofer M. Helgen, Warren E. Johnson, Stephen J. O’Brien, Blaire Van Valkenburgh, Robert K. Wayne. Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species. Current Biology, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.060
  3. ^ Gaubert P, Bloch C, Benyacoub S, Abdelhamid A, Pagani P et al. (2012). "Reviving the African Wolf Canis lupus lupaster in North and West Africa: A Mitochondrial Lineage Ranging More than 6,000 km Wide". PLoS ONE 7 (8): e42740. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042740. PMC 3416759. PMID 22900047. 

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