South American fox
Pseudalopex Burmeister, 1856
The South American foxes (Lycalopex), commonly called raposa in Portuguese, or zorro in Spanish, are a genus of the family Canidae from South America. Despite their name, they are not true foxes, but are a unique canid genus related to wolves and jackals, which some 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 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. The IUCN, for instance, retains the use of Pseudalopex while also acknowledging Lycalopex as a legitimate alternative.
Species currently included in this genus include:
- Culpeo or Andean fox, Lycalopex culpaeus
- Darwin's fox, Lycalopex fulvipes
- South American gray fox, Lycalopex griseus
- Pampas fox, Lycalopex gymnocercus
- Sechuran fox, Lycalopex sechurae
- Hoary fox, Lycalopex vetulus
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 zorros are hunted in Argentina for their durable, soft pelts. They are also often labelled 'lamb-killers'.
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- Jiménez, J. E. (2008). "Pseudalopex culpaeus". IUCN. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
- 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.
- Nowak, Ronald M. (2005). Walker's Carnivores of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. ISBN 0-8018-8032-7
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