South American fox
The South American foxes (Lycalopex), commonly called raposa in Portuguese, or zorro in Spanish, are a genus from South America of the subfamily Caninae. Despite their name, they are not true foxes, but are a unique canid genus related to wolves and jackals; some of them 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 second-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. The Vorohué Formation of Argentina has provided older fossils, dating to the Uquian to Ensenadan (Late Pliocene).
The common English word "zorro" is a loan word from Spanish, with the word originally meaning "fox". Current usage lists Pseudalopex (literally: "false fox") as synonymous with Lycalopex ("wolf fox"), with the latter taking precedence. The IUCN, for instance, retains the use of Pseudalopex while also acknowledging Lycalopex as a legitimate alternative. In 1895, Allen classified Pseudalopex as a subgenus of Canis, establishing the combination Canis (Pseudalopex), a name still used in the fossil record.
Species currently included in this genus include:
|Lycalopex culpaeus||Culpeo or Andean fox||Ecuador and Peru to the southern regions of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego|
|Lycalopex fulvipes||Darwin's fox||Nahuelbuta National Park (Araucanía Region), the Valdivian Coastal Range (Los Ríos Region) in mainland Chile and Chiloé Island|
|Lycalopex griseus||South American gray fox||Argentina and Chile|
|Lycalopex gymnocercus||Pampas fox||northern and central Argentina, Uruguay, eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, and southern Brazil|
|Lycalopex sechurae||Sechuran fox||west-central, northwestern Peru, including the Sechura Desert, and southwestern Ecuador|
|Lycalopex vetulus||Hoary fox||south-central Brazil|
|†Canis (Pseudalopex) australis||Vorohué Formation, Uquian-Ensenadan Argentina|
The following phylogenetic tree shows the evolutionary relationships between the Lycalopex species, based on molecular analysis of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences.
Relationship with humans
The Fuegian dog (Spanish: perro yagán, perro fueguino), also known as the Yaghan dog, was a domesticated form of the culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus), unlike other domesticated canids which were dogs and silver foxes. This means different canid species have been domesticated multiple times by humans independently.
- Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Canis (Pseudalopex) australis at Fossilworks.org
- Lucherini, M. & Luengos Vidal, E. M. (2008). "Lycalopex gymnocercus (Carnivora: Canidae)". Mammalian Species. 820: Number 820, pp. 1–9. doi:10.1644/820.1.
- Vorohuen (sic; Vorohué) Formation at Fossilworks.org
- Jiménez, J. E. (2008). "Pseudalopex culpaeus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2012.old-form url
- 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. PMC 5004827. PMID 27560989.
- Petrigh, Romina S.; Fugassa, Martin H. (December 13, 2013). "Molecular identification of a Fuegian dog belonging to the Fagnano Regional Museum ethnographic collection, Tierra del Fuego" (PDF). Quaternary International. 317: 14–18. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.07.030. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 20, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
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