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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

犬科体形最小的种类,体长500 mm左右,尾长稍超过体长之半。体毛沙褐色,带有明显的花白色调;耳背棕灰色,耳壳内毛白色;从下颌经喉至腹面棕白色;尾背面棕灰色,末端黑褐色。
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Distribution

Range Description

The current range of the Corsac is disjunct. One part covers the Middle Asian republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, as well as steppe and forest-steppe areas of Russia, including the southern region of Western Siberia. In Europe its range reaches the Samara Region, Tatarstan to the North and northern Caucasia to the South. The second, much smaller area lies in southern Transbaikalye representing the northern periphery of the Mongolian and Manchurian section of the species area. Outside Russia the species area includes the steppe part of north-eastern China, including Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and the region between Argun and Big Khingan, the entire Mongolian republic except for its forested and mountain regions, Dgungaria, Kashgaria, Afghanistan (probably only northern) and north-eastern Iran. Southern limit of distribution is unknown, but possibly it reaches to the mountain ridges separating the Tibet Highland from the North. Thus, the two ranges (western and eastern) are connected by a relatively narrow neck in the Dgungar Gate and Zaisan Basin region. In recent years, a westward area expansion has been recorded, particularly into the Voronezh region following active recovery of baibak (Marmota bobac) populations. Occasionally, the species is recorded from the Ukrainian steppe (as far as Pavlodar to the West), eastern Transcaucasia (Azerbaijan) and, probably, western Kyrgyzstan.

In Russia the Corsac is rare in most regions, but common in West Siberia and Transbaikalie. It sometimes occurs in northern parts of West Siberia's forested steppes, but in low numbers. The species is common everywhere between the Volga and Ural rivers. In Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northern China, the corsac is Common or abundant, although in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan the species is usually rare. Population status in Afghanistan and Iran is unknown.
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内蒙古,宁夏,辽宁,新疆,甘肃
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Geographic Range

The corsac fox occurs from the lower Volga river east across a wide area of central Asia, including Turkestan, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Tibet, Transbaikalia, and northern Manchuria.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The corsac fox is typical of the genus Vulpes, but slightly smaller than the red fox with larger legs and ears. The coloration is predominantly grey or reddish grey on the upper parts with silver undertones, while the under parts are white with yellow undertones. The chin is white and the fur is thick and soft all over. Its large, pointy ears are broad at the base.

The head and body length is 500-600 mm and the tail length is 250-350 mm.

Average mass: 2700 g.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The Corsac typically inhabits steppes, semi-deserts and deserts, avoiding mountains, forested areas and dense bush. In the western part of the range they occur in low-grass steppe, avoiding dense and tall grass steppes. In Kaspyi Sea region the steppes and tarragon-cereal semi-deserts are favoured. It also occurs in fixed-sand habitats (Nogaiskaya Steppe). In Volgo-Ural watershed the Corsac inhabits most usual habitats, but prefers semi-deserts. To the east of the Ural Mountains, the species inhabits steppes and in favourable years occurs even in forested steppes. In Kazakhstan typical habitats are low grass steppes and semi-deserts, often inhabiting low hills, but avoiding low mountains. In Middle-Asia it inhabits semi-deserts and ephemeral-deserts, avoiding drifting sands. One limiting factor is snow height in winter, and this species avoids areas where the depth of snow exceeds 150 mm, preferring areas where the snow is either shallower or highly compressed.

Corsac Foxes appear to depend on distribution of ground squirrels and marmots for food and shelter (the burrows being enlarged and used for refuge).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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开阔的草原和半荒漠地带。
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The corsac fox is an inhabitant of steppes and semi-desert. It avoids areas used for agricultural purposes, forests, and thickets. It lives in adjoining burrows that were dug by other animals, then taken over by the fox.

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The corsac fox is a carnivore and seems to favor rodents as a main item in the diet. They also consume large quantitities of insects, some pikas, birds and plant material. The teeth are small. They catch rodents using a characteristic style of leaping into the air, then dropping down on prey so they have less of a chance to escape. Their broad ears help them locate rustles that indicate presence of a rodent.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; insects

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates)

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
13 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 13 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen was about 13 years old when it died in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Vulpes corsac is monogamous.

Mating System: monogamous

The time of mating for the corsac fox is between January and March with a gestation time of 50-60 days. Litter sizes are typically between 2 and 6 young at a time, but there are some reported cases of a litter of up to 11 young. It is thought that males of the species probably help rear young but this is not known for certain. Males will fight with one another during the breeding season but then remain with the family pack.

Range number of offspring: 2 to 11.

Average number of offspring: 5.

Range gestation period: 49 to 60 days.

Range weaning age: 28 (low) days.

Average birth mass: 62.5 g.

Average number of offspring: 4.7.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
504 days.

Parental Investment: altricial ; post-independence association with parents

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Poyarkov, A. & Ovsyanikov, N.

Reviewer/s
Sillero-Zubiri, C. & Hoffmann, M. (Canid Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
The Corsac is found in central Asia, ranging into Mongolia and northeastern China. Populations fluctuate significantly, and population decreases are dramatic, caused by catastrophic climatic events, and numbers can drop tenfold within the space of a single year. Corsac foxes have the ability to forego water and food for extended periods of time. They are well adapted to a hot and dry climate. Current population status, and the nature of major threats, is unknown in most regions. However, the species is not considered threatened at present.

History
  • 2004
    Least Concern
  • 1996
    Data Deficient
  • 1994
    Insufficiently Known
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN 1990)
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Although human persecution has eliminated large groups and made them more nocturnal, there is no conservation program for the corsac fox. Little is known about their precise numbers but hunting and the plowing of land for agriculture have significantly reduced populations in some areas. The fox has disappeared over much of its range.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
Corsac populations fluctuate significantly. Population decreases are dramatic, caused by catastrophic climatic events, and numbers can drop tenfold within the space of a single year. On the other hand, in favourable years numbers can increase by the same margin and more within a three to four year period. Dramatic population changes were reported during the last century in PredKavkazie, between Kuma and Terek rivers and in Kuma-Manich Channel region. A drastic population decline was reported at the beginning of the last century (Dinnik 1914). Numbers had recovered by 1924 to 1925; one hunter during that time could take up to 15–30 Corsac foxes in one season (Ognev 1931). By 1931 numbers decreased again with a subsequent increase in 1951 (Verezhagin 1959). In the Ural region during particular years up to 5,500 animals were taken by trappers, and up to 1,700 in the Gurievskaya region. To the south, in Mangishlak and Ustyurt, the corsac is widespread and in some years abundant.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Development in Kazakhstan in the mid-1850s caused a significant reduction of Corsac numbers in previously undisturbed habitats. In the 20th century several catastrophic population declines were recorded. During such crashes hunting on Corsac Foxes in the former Soviet Union was banned. For example, hunting of Corsac Foxes was stopped within the entire Kazakhstan territory from 1928 to 1938. Current population status, and the nature of major threats, is unknown in most regions. The western part of the range populations are recovering and their range expanding. In Kalmikiya large desert areas are changing into grass steppes, less suitable for corsac foxes. In Middle Asia and Kazakhstan a dramatic decrease of livestock during the last decade influenced many ecosystems and wildlife populations. However, the exact influence of this process on corsac populations remains unknown.

Corsac Fox pelts have been intensively traded. In general, over much of Russia during the 19th century, as many as 40,000–50,000 pelts were traded in some years. For the time being, Corsac pelts are not as highly appreciated as Red Fox pelts, and Corsac Foxes are usually trapped only incidentally.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Not listed on CITES Appendices.

Hunting of Corsac Foxes is regulated by special national legislation, in which the species is considered a fur-bearer species (Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia). Trapping/hunting is allowed only from November through March in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Certain methods of hunting are prohibited, such as digging or smoking animals out of dens, den flooding, and poisoning.

Corsac Foxes are protected in strict nature reserves (the highest protection status for the territory) and in national parks in China, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.

No special conservation programmes have been carried out. Outside of protected areas, the Corsac has the status of game species.

All hunting and trading of Corsac Foxes is illegal in Afghanistan having been placed in 2009 on the country’s Protected Species List.

Corsac Foxes breed well in captivity. In Moscow Zoo, during the 1960s, one pair of Corsac Foxes produced six litters during the time that they remained together. Corsac Foxes are easily habituated to humans.

Gaps in knowledge
There are several aspects of this species' biology that require investigation, including social organization and behaviour, population structure, current distribution and population status in different regions, current levels of trapping/hunting impact, and other threats to the species.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

In the late nineteenth century, Corsac foxes were commercially trapped on a large scale for their warm and beautiful fur. Up to 10,000 pelts were sold annually in western Siberian cities. They were popular pets in the seventeenth century.

Positive Impacts: body parts are source of valuable material

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Wikipedia

Corsac fox

The corsac fox (Vulpes corsac), also known as Corsac, is a medium-sized fox found in steppes, semi-deserts and deserts in Central Asia, ranging into Mongolia and northeastern China. Since 2004, it has been classified as Least Concern by IUCN, as populations fluctuate significantly, and numbers can drop tenfold[clarification needed] within a single year.[2]

It is also known as the steppe fox, and sometimes referred to as the "sand fox", but this terminology is confusing because two other species, the Tibetan sand fox and Rüppell's fox are also sometimes known by this name. The corsac fox is threatened by hunting for the fur trade.

Contents

Description[edit]

The corsac fox is a medium-sized fox, with a head and body length of 45 to 65 cm (18 to 26 in), and a tail 19 to 35 cm (7.5 to 14 in) long. Adults weigh from 1.6 to 3.2 kilograms (3.5 to 7.1 lb). It has grey to yellowish fur over much of the body, with paler underparts and pale markings on the mouth, chin, and throat. During the winter, the coat becomes much thicker and more silky in texture, and is straw-grey in colour, with a darker line running down the back.[3]

For a fox, it has small teeth and a wide skull. It has hooked claws and can climb trees.[citation needed] It is reported to have keen eyesight and hearing and an acute sense of smell. It has a number of scent glands, some of which produce pungent odours,[4] although not as extreme as those found in some other Vulpes species. The glands are found in the anal region, above the base of the tail, and on the paws and cheeks.[3]

Corsac foxes are reported to bark during hunting or when threatening rivals, and to use higher pitch yelps or chirps as alarm calls or social greetings.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Corsac foxes live in the steppes and semidesert of central and northeast Asia. They are found throughout Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and through all except the northernmost regions of Mongolia. In the south, their range extends into the more northern parts of Iran, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and China, and they can also be found in neighbouring regions of Russia.[2]

Three subspecies are currently recognised:[3]

  • Vulpes corsac corsac - northern Kazakhstan, southern Siberia
  • V. c. kalmykorum - northern Uzbekistan, Caucasus
  • V. c. turkmenicus - southern Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, China, Mongolia, and neighbouring regions

These foxes inhabit open grassy steppes and semideserts, and avoid dense vegetation and mountainous regions.[2] True deserts with drifting sands are also avoided, as are snowfields more than about 15 cm (6 in) deep.[5] Corsac foxes generally stay far away from human disturbances.

Ecology and behavior[edit]

Corsac fox in its summer coat

As an adaption to the arid climate in which they live, corsac foxes need little water to survive, obtaining most of the moisture they need from their food. Their diets consist mainly of insects and small rodents, such as voles, gerbils, jerboas, hamsters, and ground squirrels. They may also eat larger prey from time to time, including hares and pikas, and will scavenge for carrion and human refuse. Although predominantly carnivorous, they do occasionally eat fruit and other vegetation, especially when animal prey are scarce. Natural predators of corsac foxes include wolves, eagles, buzzards, and eagle-owls.[3]

Corsac foxes are nocturnal and nomadic hunters of the steppes. They do not have a defended territory, and unlike some foxes, will sometimes form packs. Because they cannot hunt in deep snow, they will either shelter in their dens during harsh weather, or, in the northern parts of their range, they may migrate up to 600 km (370 mi) south in the winter. They have been reported to follow herds of local antelope, relying on them to compress the snow as they pass.[3]

Their prey is often buried in caches.[citation needed]

Corsac foxes shelter in burrows from harsh weather and larger predators. Although they can dig their own dens, these are generally shallow, and they often take over the burrows of other animals, such as marmots, ground squirrels, or badgers. Dens may have several entrances, but are usually less than 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) deep.[3] The burrow is shared between the social packs, with several dens and connecting holes.

Corsac foxes are excellent climbers, but are rather slow runners and could be caught easily by a dog.[citation needed] While they are reported to be nocturnal in the wild, in captivity they are very active during the day. This can be explained by increasing human disturbances, causing them to become active at night to avoid humans.[citation needed]

Reproduction[edit]

The mating season starts in January and ends in March. Males will initially fight for access to females, but eventually establish a monogamous bond, and assist in the raising of their young. The mother initially creates a birthing den, which is sometimes shared with other pregnant females, but moves her young to new burrows several times after they are born.[3]

Typically, two to six young are born after a gestation period of 52 to 60 days, although cases of ten pups being born in a single litter have been reported. Newborn kits weigh around 60 g (2.1 oz), and have fluffy, light brown fur that turns yellowish as they age. They are born blind, and open their eyes at around two weeks of age; they begin to eat meat at four weeks, and emerge from the den shortly after. Corsac foxes reach sexual maturity within 9 to 10 months and reproduce in the second year of life.[5] They live up to 9 years in the wild.[3]

Evolution[edit]

The corsac fox is one species within a holarctic clade of foxes that also includes the red fox, the swift fox and the arctic fox, all of which it resembles.[6] However, the closest related species to the corsac fox is probably the Tibetan sand fox.[7] The immediate ancestor of the corsac fox is believed to be the extinct species Vulpes praecorsac, which lived in central Europe during the early Pleistocene.[5] Fossils of corsac foxes date back to the mid-Pleistocene, and show the species once reached as far west as Switzerland,[3] and as far south as Crimea.[8]

Threats[edit]

The major threat posed to the corsac fox is poaching. They are slow runners and are easily caught by hunters, and their population has been reduced in areas where they have been heavily hunted for their fur. In the late 19th century, up to 10,000 foxes were killed annually for pelt trade. The general population remains healthy, however, as the corsac fox has proven to be able to withstand great hunting pressures, and their habitats remain intact due to the low population density in its range. Their other main threat is natural disasters, which can cause the numbers of foxes to drop 90% in some areas, but the population often recovers quickly. As of 2008, the corsac fox is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b c d Poyarkov, A. and Ovsyanikov, N. (2008). "Vulpes corsac". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Clark, H.O. et al. (2009). "Vulpes corsac (Carnivora: Canidae)". Mammalian Species 832: 1–8. doi:10.1644/832.1. 
  4. ^ Shabadash, S.A. & Zelikina, T.I. (2002). "Detection of hepatoid glands and distinctive features of the hepatoid acinus". Biology Bulletin 29 (6): 559–567. doi:10.1023/A:1021768025707. 
  5. ^ a b c Poyarkov, A.; Ovsyanikov, N. (2004). Sillero-Zubiri, C., M. Hoffmann, & D. W. Macdonald, ed. Canids: foxes, wolves, jackals and dogs. Status survey and conservation action plan. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources/Species Survival Commission Canid Specialist Group. pp. 142–148. 
  6. ^ Zrzavý, J. & Řicánková, R. (1999). "Phylogeny of Recent Canidae (Mammalia, Carnivora): relative reliability and utility of morphological and molecular datasets.". Zoologica Scripta 33 (4): 311–333. doi:10.1111/j.0300-3256.2004.00152.x. 
  7. ^ Bininda-Emonds, O.R.P. et al. (1999). "Building large trees by combining phylogenetic information: a complete phylogeny of the extant Carnivora (Mammalia)". Biological Review 74 (2): 143–175. doi:10.1111/j.1469-185X.1999.tb00184.x. 
  8. ^ Sommer, R. & Benecke, N. (2005). "Late-Pleistocene and early Holocene history of the canid fauna of Europe (Canidae)". Mammalian Biology 70 (4): 227–241. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2004.12.001. 
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