South American fox

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

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

Synonyms

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 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]

Phylogeny[edit]

The following phylogenetic tree shows the evolutionary relationships between the Lycalopex species, based on molecular analysis of mitochondrial DNA control region sequences.[4]

Lycalopex

Lycalopex vetulus (hoary fox) Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XXXI).png

Lycalopex sechurae (Sechuran fox or Peruvian desert fox)

Lycalopex fulvipes (Darwin's fox)

Lycalopex gymnocercus (pampas fox) Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XVII).png

Lycalopex griseus (South American gray fox or chilla)

Lycalopex culpaeus (culpeo or Andean fox) Dogs, jackals, wolves, and foxes (Plate XIV).png

Relationship with humans[edit]

The zorros are hunted in Argentina for their durable, soft pelts. They are also 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: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (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.
  4. ^ 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