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Wolves Dogs Coyotes Jackals and Foxes: Canidae - Maned Wolf (chrysocyon Brachyurus): Species Accounts

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Physical characteristics: The maned wolf has a long, black mane on its neck down to the middle of its back. The body is golden-red, and the snout and legs are black. The throat, tail tip, and ears have white markings. Very long legs allow for a better view over the tall grasses of its habitat and for high leaps to catch prey and hold it down. It covers great distances, moving the legs of each side of its body together, unlike other canids that move their legs alternately. It weighs 44 to 51 pounds (20 to 23 kilograms) with a shoulder height of 29 to 34 inches (74 to 87 centimeters).

Geographic range: Maned wolves are found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.


Maned wolves usually live alone. They meet up with other wolves only at breeding time. (Illustration by Wendy Baker. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: Maned wolves live in grassland that supports small mammals, reptiles, and insects. They also occupy scrub forests, home to a tomato-like fruit that makes up half of their diet.


Diet: A tomato-like fruit, Solanum lycocarpum, which comprises 50 percent of the wolf's diet, protects it against giant kidney worm infestation. Although known for preying on domestic chickens, maned wolves prefer rodents, rabbits, and armadillos. Occasionally, they eat birds, lizards, and seasonal fruits, such as guavas and bananas.


Behavior and reproduction: Maned wolves are the most solitary of the canids. Males and females only get together to breed, producing a litter of two to six pups. They normally hunt at night. White markings on the throat, tail tip, and on the large, erect ears serve as visual signals at a distance. They further communicate using harsh barks. Quite territorial, they use urine and feces as boundary markings.

Maned wolves and people: The fur of the maned wolf is worn in South America as a good luck charm. Native Brazilians harvest the right eye from live wolves, believed to bring luck with women and gambling.


Conservation status: The maned wolf is listed as Endangered in its native countries due to habitat loss to overgrazing by cattle and deforestation, particularly for soybean farming. The IUCN classifies the maned wolf as Near Threatened. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Alderton, David. Foxes, Wolves and Wild Dogs of the World. New York: Facts on File, 2004.

Gibson, Nancy. Wolves. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 2002.

Greenaway, Theresa. The Secret World of Wolves, Wild Dogs, and Foxes. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 2001.

Rogers, Lesley J., and Gisela Kaplan. Spirit of the Wild Dog: The World of Wolves, Coyotes, Foxes, Jackals, & Dingoes. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2003.

Sillero-Zubiri, Claudio, David W. Macdonald, and the IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. "Portrait of an Endangered Species." In The Ethiopian Wolf—Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, 1997.

Periodicals:

Henry, J. David. "Spirit of the Tundra (Arctic and Red Foxes)." Natural History (December 1998): 60–65.

Larivière, Serge, and Maria Pasitschniak-Arts. "Vulpes vulpes." Mammalian Species 537 (December 27, 1996): 1–11.

Robbins, Jim. "Weaving a New Web: Wolves Change an Ecosystem." 27, no. 3 (1998). Online at http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Publications/ZooGoer/1998/3/weavingwolfweb.cfm (accessed on July 6, 2004)

Stewart, Doug. "Caught in a Dog Fight." National Wildlife (June–July 1999): 34–39.

Walker, Tom. "The Shadow Knows (In Alaska's Far North, the Arctic Fox Shares its Secrets of Survival)." National Wildlife (February/March 2002): 46–53.

Web sites:

"Canid Species Accounts." IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. http://www.canids.org/SPPACCTS/sppaccts.htm (accessed July 6, 2004).

"Delisting a Species." U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services. http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/delisting.pdf (accessed July 6, 2004).

Gorog, Antonia. "Chrysocyon brachyurus (Maned Wolf)." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Chrysocyon_brachyurus.html (accessed July 6, 2004).

Hinrichsen, Don. "Wolves Around the World: The Global Status of the Gray Wolf." Defenders of Wildlife. http://www.defenders.org/publications/wolvesarworld.pdf (accessed July 6, 2004).

Ives. Sarah. "Wolves Reshape Yellowstone National Park." National Geographic Kids News. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/kids/2004/03/wolvesyellowstone.html (accessed July 6, 2004).

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