Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The maned wolf hunts primarily at night, and during dusk and dawn hours, while the days are often spent resting, often in areas of thick bush cover (5). The diet consists of a wide variety of fruits and small mammals, such as armadillos and rabbits, but also includes occasional pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus), birds, reptiles, insects, fish and arthropods (1). The maned wolf's main source of food is the tomato-like lobeira fruit, which grows throughout its range and is thought to provide medicinal aid against the giant kidney worm, Dioctophyme renate (1) (5). Scavenging on road-kill also occurs and free-ranging chickens are frequently stolen from farms (8). Unlike other wolves that live in cooperative breeding packs, the maned wolf is primarily solitary (10). Although the basic social unit is the male-female mated pair, which share a home range typically between 25 to 50 square kilometres (11), these individuals remain fairly independent of one another and only closely associate during the breeding season from April to June (5) (6) (8). The female gives birth to a litter of one to five pups each year (average of three) between June and September (6) (8). Originally, it was believed that the female alone cared for the young, suckling them for up to 15 weeks (3). However, in captivity males have been observed grooming and defending pups, as well as feeding them by regurgitation. Pups reach sexual maturity and disperse from their natal home range at around one year old, but do not usually reproduce until the second year (8). Captive individuals have lived up to 16 years (8).
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Description

Standing at almost a metre tall, the maned wolf is the largest Canid in South America and the only member of its genus, Chrysocyon (5) (6). With a golden-red coat, long pointed muzzle and large erect ears (7), it is similar in appearance to the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) (3). However, its extremely long, thin legs make the maned wolf immediately recognisable and, with its fox-like attributes, have earned it the epithet 'a fox on stilts' (2). This distinctive feature is thought to be an adaptation to help the animal see above the tall grass of its habitat (5). The common name, 'maned wolf', is derived from the characteristic mane-like strip of black fur running from the back of the head to the shoulders (8), which stands erect when danger is sensed (7). The muzzle and lower legs are black, while the throat, inside of the ears and tip of the tail are white (7) (8).
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Distribution

Range Description

The Maned Wolf inhabits the grasslands and scrub forest of central South America from the mouth of the Parnaiba River in north-eastern Brazil, south through the Chaco of Paraguay into Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, and west to the Pampas del Heath in Peru (Dietz 1985). Beccaceci (1992) found evidence of Maned Wolves in Argentina as far south as the 30th parallel, and a sighting in the province of Santiago del Estero was recently reported (Richard et al. 1999). They probably range into northern Uruguay. Their presence in this country was confirmed through a specimen trapped in 1990 (Mones and Olazarri 1990), but there have not been any reports of sightings since that date (S. Gonzalez pers. comm.).
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Geographic Range

The maned wolf is distributed from the mouth of the Parnaiba River in northeastern Brazil west to the Pampas del Heath in Peru and South through the Chaco of Paraguay to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Its former range included parts of Uruguay and Argentina.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

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Historic Range:
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay

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Range

The maned wolf is found in central South America, from north-eastern Brazil, south through Paraguay and west into Peru (1). It is also found in small areas of Argentina and Bolivia, and may still be present in some areas of Uruguay, despite being believed to be extinct there in the 19th century (5) (8).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Chrysocyon brachyurus is a stunning animal. The largest of all South American canids, it stands almost one meter tall at the shoulder and has a long, golden-red coat. Head and body length ranges from 1245 to 1320mm and tail length from 280 to 405mm. The long thin legs, which may serve to help the maned wolf to see above tall grass, grade from red to black at their lower portions. The anterior part of the erectile mane of long hairs is black as well. The body is narrow and the ears large and erect. The dentition of the maned wolf reflects its food habits. As this animal does not kill or eat large prey, its upper carnassials (shearing teeth) are reduced, its upper incisors weak, and its canines are long and slender.

Range mass: 20 to 23 kg.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Maned Wolves favour tall grasslands, shrub habitats, woodland with an open canopy (cerrado), and wet fields (which may be seasonally flooded). Some evidence indicates that they may prefer areas with low to medium shrub density (Bestelmeyer 2000). Maned Wolves are also seen in lands under cultivation for agriculture and pasture. Daytime resting areas include gallery forests (Dietz 1984), cerrado and marshy areas near rivers (Bestelmeyer 2000; F. Rodrigues unpubl.). There is some evidence that they can utilize cultivated land for hunting and resting (A. Jácomo and L. Silveira, unpubl.), but additional studies are essential in order to quantify how well the species tolerates intensive agricultural activity.

Omnivorous, consuming principally fruits and small- to medium-sized vertebrates. Numerous authors (Dietz 1984; Carvalho and Vasconcellos 1995; Motta-Júnior et al. 1996; Azevedo and Gastal 1997; Motta-Júnior 1997; Rodrigues et al. 1998; Jácomo 1999; Santos 1999; Silveira 1999; Juarez and Marinho 2002; F. Rodrigues unpubl.) have investigated the diet of the Maned Wolf. These studies have all found a wide variety of plant and animal material in the diet, with about 50% of the diet comprising plant material and 50% animal matter. The fruit Solanum lycocarpum grows throughout much of the range and is a primary food source; other important items include small mammals (Caviidae, Muridae, Echimydae) and armadillos, other fruits (Annonaceae, Myrtaceae, Palmae, Bromeliaceae and others), birds (Tinamidae, Emberizidae and others), reptiles and arthropods. Although the frequency of plant and animal items found in faecal samples is approximately equal, the biomass of animal items is usually greater than that of plant items (Motta-Júnior et al. 1996; Santos 1999; F. Rodrigues unpubl.). Certain items, such as rodents and Solanum, are consumed year round, but the diet varies with food availability. At least occasionally, pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) are also consumed (Bestelmeyer and Westbrook 1998). In Jácomo's (1999) study, deer appeared in 2.4% of 1,673 samples analysed.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Chrysocyon brachyurus is found in grassland, savanna, dry shrub forest, swampy areas, forest-edge habitat, and river areas.

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; scrub forest

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The maned wolf prefers open habitats in tall grasslands, low-scrub edges of forests and even swampy areas (2). In Brazil, this species is found in the cerrado, a large area of open woodland and savannah that is one of the world's most important 'hot-spots' of biodiversity (9).
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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The maned wolf is omnivorous. It eats armadillos, rabbits, rodents and other small mammals, fish, birds, bird eggs, reptiles, gastropods and other terrestrial mollusks, insects, seasonably available fruits, and other vegetation. Fruits taken include bananas, guavas, and primarily the tomato-like Solanum lycocarpum. (S. lycocarpum may provide medicinal aid against Dioctophyme renale, a worm that infects the kidneys of the maned wolf). Vegetation eaten is often in the form of roots and bulbs. Vertebrate prey do not often include large domestic stock, but an occasional newborn lamb or pig is taken by Chrysocyon. The maned wolf, much to the dislike of poultry farmers, frequently feeds upon free-ranging chickens. It stalks and pounces in a fox-like manner upon its animal prey.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; reptiles; fish; eggs; insects; mollusks

Plant Foods: roots and tubers; fruit

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
13.0 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
15.0 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 16.8 years (captivity) Observations: In captivity, these animals can live up to 16.8 years (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Maned wolves are monogamous, though males and females tend to live independently except during the breeding season.

Mating System: monogamous

Little is known about the reproductive patterns of wild maned wolves. Females are monoestrous. Breeding season is probably controlled by photoperiod; captives copulate between October and February in the Northern Hemisphere and between August and October in South America. The estrous lasts for a period of one to four days. Gestation in captivity is similar to that of other canids and lasts approximately 65 days. A litter usually contains one to five young. A record number of seven has been observed. Young are born weighing 340 to 430 grams and develop quickly. Their eyes and ears open by day nine, their ears stand upright and they will take regurgitated food by week four, the pelage changes from black to red by week ten, they are weaned by 15 weeks, and their bodies have the proportions of adults at one year, at which time they reach sexual maturity. Captive individuals have lived 15 years. Non-captive maned wolves give birth in natal nests hidden by thick vegetation. Wild maned wolves are rarely seen with their pups.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 5.

Average number of offspring: 2.47.

Range gestation period: 56 to 66 days.

Range weaning age: 120 to 210 days.

Average birth mass: 368 g.

Average number of offspring: 3.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
730 days.

Parental Investment: altricial

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chrysocyon brachyurus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Rodden, M., Rodrigues , F. & Bestelmeyer, S.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Near Threatened as the current global population is estimated to number ~13,000 mature individuals, and is thought likely to experience a continuing decline nearing 10% over the coming decade largely as a result of ongoing habitat loss and degradation, road kills and other threats (see Paula et al. 2008). Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion C.

History
  • 2004
    Near Threatened
  • 1996
    Lower Risk/near threatened
    (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
  • 1994
    Vulnerable
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
  • 1982
    Vulnerable
    (Thornback and Jenkins 1982)
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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 12/02/1970
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10) 
Where Listed: Entire


Population detail:

Population location: Entire
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Chrysocyon brachyurus , see its USFWS Species Profile

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Chrysocyon brachyurus is listed as CITES Appendix II, U.S. ESA-Endangered, and IUCN-Vulnerable. Habitat destruction (including the annual burning of its grasslands), persecution by angry poultry farmers, hunting for sport, and live capture are factors that threaten the maned wolf. This animal disapeared from Uruguay in the 19th Century. Its former range also included parts of Argentina south of the La Plata River.

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened

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Status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (4).
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Population

Population
A Population and Habitat Viability Assessment workshop held in 2005 estimated the total population of Maned Wolves at ~23,600 animals, including 21,745 in Brazil, 830 in Paraguay, and 660 in Argentina (Paula et al. 2008). Numbers in Bolivia are unlikely to exceed 1,000 animals.

With their primarily solitary habits and large home ranges, Maned Wolves are found in low densities throughout the range.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
The most significant threat to Maned Wolf populations is the drastic reduction of habitat, especially due to conversion to agricultural land (Fonseca et al. 1994). In addition, habitat fragmentation causes isolation of subpopulations. Many Maned Wolves are killed on the nation's roads. Highways border many of the Conservation Units of the Brazilian cerrado, and drivers often do not respect speed limits. Reserves close to urban areas often have problems with domestic dogs. These dogs pursue and may kill Maned Wolves and can also be an important source of disease. Domestic dogs also possibly compete with the Maned Wolf for food. Interactions with humans also pose a threat to the Maned Wolf. Diseases, such as those mentioned above, can be important causes of mortality in the wild, but there is very little information available about the health of wild populations. In areas where there are domestic dogs, the problem is certainly greater.

There is no commercial use. Indications are that the use of Maned Wolf parts for medicinal purposes does not involve any sort of large-scale commercial transactions and is confined to native folk medicine.
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The most significant threat to the survival of remaining maned wolf populations is habitat loss (8). The conversion of land to agriculture has drastically reduced the available habitat for the maned wolf, with the cerrado of Brazil being reduced to about 20 percent of its original extent (8). In addition maned wolves are often killed on highways, frequently on those which border protected areas. Indeed, road kills are responsible for the death of approximately half the annual production of pups in some reserves (8). Domestic dogs also pose a threat by transferring diseases, competing for food, and even killing the maned wolf (1). Some local people attribute mystical qualities to several parts of the wolf's anatomy (eyes, skin, tail) and still hunt this threatened species in order to use these parts as 'talisman' or for medicinal remedies (6). Occasionally, this wolf is hunted for sport (5), and, due to the wolf's threat to domestic poultry, farmers also hunt it as a pest (6). As its habitat is encroached upon by ever-expanding farms, the wolf is forced into increased proximity with people, exacerbating the already-existing conflict (6).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is included on CITES Appendix II. Protected in Argentina (classified as Endangered on the Red List) and included on the list of threatened animals in Brazil (Bernardes et al. 1990). Hunting is prohibited in Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. Maned wolves are protected by law in many parts of their range, but enforcement is frequently problematic. Included in the United States Endangered Species list.

The species occurs in many protected areas in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and, possibly, Peru.

Assessors are not aware of any conservation actions specific to the Maned Wolf. However, they are the beneficiaries of broader attempts to protect the cerrado (for example, recent actions to reduce the impact of road kills in Brasilia).

Occurrence in captivity
As of 31 December 1999, 144 institutions reported a total of 412 maned wolves in captivity, including 203 males and 209 females.

Gaps in knowledge
Population surveys throughout the species' range are needed. The impact of human encroachment on suitable habitat is not clearly understood, and the suitability of agricultural land as maned wolf habitat needs to be investigated. The impact of disease processes on wild populations is not well understood.
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Conservation

The maned wolf occurs in a number of protected areas across its range. Although protected by law in certain countries, with hunting prohibited in Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, law enforcement is often problematic. At present, there are no known conservation actions specific to the maned wolf, but there are broader attempts to protect parts of its habitat and reduce the impact of animal road kills in Brazil (1). Encouragingly, observations indicate that the maned wolf is able to colonize different habitats and that the species' range has altered in configuration in recent years rather than diminished (12). This has, however, led these wolves into areas of greater proximity and conflict with humans, and education programmes have therefore been started to dissuade farmers from shooting this rare species (2). As of 2003, 146 institutions reported a total of 431 maned wolves in captivity, including 208 males and 222 females (8). However, for unknown reasons, canids breed poorly in captivity. Research has therefore been conducted into behaviour affecting hormones, nutrition and stress in captivity, as well as the use of modern reproductive technologies to aid the process (10). Future studies need to focus on population surveys throughout the species' range, as well as research into how human encroachment and habitat loss is impacting this distinctive canid (1).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

As mentioned above, the maned wolf takes domestic poultry and the occasional lamb or newborn pig.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The maned wolf eats crop pests such as rabbits and small rodents.

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Wikipedia

Maned wolf

The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is the largest canid of South America, resembling a large fox with reddish fur.

This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees, in south, central-west and south-eastern Brazil (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Goiás, São Paulo, Federal District and recently Rio Grande do Sul), Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia east and north of the Andes,[4] and far south-eastern Peru (Pampas del Heath only).[5] It is very rare in Uruguay, being possibly extirpated.[2] IUCN lists it as near threatened,[2] while it is considered vulnerable by the Brazilian government (IBAMA). It is the only species in the genus Chrysocyon (meaning "Golden Dog"). It is locally known as aguará guazú (meaning "large fox" in the Guarani language), or "kalak" by the Toba, lobo de crin, lobo de los esteros or lobo colorado, and as lobo-guará in Brazil. It is also called borochi in Bolivia.

Description[edit]

Captive maned wolf at Ueno Zoo, in Japan. (video)
Maned wolf skull

The maned wolf bears minor similarities to the red fox, though it should be noted that it belongs to a completely different genus. The average adult weighs 23 kg (51 lb) and stands 90 cm (35 in) tall at the shoulder, has a head-body length of 100 cm (39 in) with the tail adding another 45 cm (18 in).[6] The maned wolf is the tallest of the wild canids, the long legs are probably an adaptation to the tall grasslands of its native habitat.[7] Fur of the maned wolf may be reddish brown to golden orange on the sides with long, black legs and a distinctive black mane. The coat is further marked with a whitish tuft at the tip of the tail and a white "bib" beneath the throat. The mane is erectile, and is typically used to enlarge the wolf's profile when threatened or when displaying aggression.

The maned wolf is also known for its distinctive odor, which has earned it the nickname "skunk wolf."

Habits[edit]

Hunting and territoriality[edit]

Unlike other large canids (such as the gray wolf, the African hunting dog, or the dhole) the maned wolf does not form packs.[6] It hunts alone, usually between sundown and midnight. It kills its prey by biting on the neck or back, and shaking it violently if necessary.[8] Monogamous pairs may defend a shared territory of about 30 km2 (12 sq mi), though the individuals themselves may seldom meet, outside of mating. The territory is crisscrossed by paths that the maned wolf create as they patrol at night. Several adults may congregate in the presence of a plentiful food source; a fire-cleared patch of grassland, for example, which would leave small vertebrate prey exposed while foraging.

A maned wolf and its pup at White Oak Conservation.

Both male and female maned wolves use their urine to communicate, e.g. to mark their hunting paths, or the places where they have buried hunted prey.[8] The urine has a very distinctive smell, which some people liken to hops or cannabis. The responsible substance is very likely a pyrazine, which occurs in both plants.[9] (At the Rotterdam Zoo, this smell once set the police on a hunt for cannabis smokers.[9] [10]) The maned wolf's preferred habitat include grasslands, scrub prairies, and forests.

Maned wolf pup

Reproduction[edit]

The mating season ranges from November to April. Gestation lasts 60 to 65 days, and a litter may have from 2 to 6 black-furred pups, each weighing about 450 g (16 oz). These pups are fully grown in about one year. During that year, the pups are known to rely on their parents for food.[8]

Diet[edit]

The maned wolf specializes in small and medium-sized prey, including small mammals (typically rodents and rabbits), birds, and even fish.[11][8] A large fraction of its diet (over 50%, according to some studies) is vegetable matter, including sugarcane, tubers, and fruit (especially the wolf apple, Solanum lycocarpum, a tomato-like fruit).[12] Captive maned wolves were traditionally fed meat-heavy diets and developed bladder stones. Zoo diets now feature fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and dog chow.

Relations with other species[edit]

The maned wolf participates in symbiotic relationships with the plants that it feeds on, as it carries the seeds of various plants, and often defecates on the nests of leafcutter ants. The ants then use the dung to fertilize their fungus gardens, and later discard the seeds onto refuse piles just outside their nest. This process significantly increases the germination rate of the seeds.[13] The maned wolf is particularly susceptible to infection by the giant kidney worm, a potentially fatal parasite that may also infect domestic dogs. The maned wolf is not a common prey species for any other predator, though it may be attacked or killed by feral domestic dogs.

Relations with humans[edit]

The maned wolf is said to be a potential chicken thief; it was once also considered a threat to cattle and sheep, though this is now known to be false. In Brazil, the animal was historically hunted down for some body parts, notably the eyes, that were believed to be good luck charms. Since its classification as a Vulnerable species by the Brazilian government, it has received greater consideration and protection from most people. They are also threatened by habitat loss and being run over by cars. Feral and domestic dogs attack them and pass on diseases to them. The maned wolf is generally shy and flees when alarmed, so it poses little direct threat to humans. It occurs in several protected areas, including the national parks of Caraça and Emas in Brazil. The maned wolf is well represented in captivity, and has been bred successfully at a number of zoos, particularly in Argentina.

Taxonomy[edit]

Although the maned wolf displays many fox-like characteristics, it is not closely related to foxes and lacks the elliptical pupils found in foxes. The maned wolf's evolutionary relationship to the other members of the canid family makes it a unique animal. Electrophoretic studies did not link Chrysocyon with any of the other canids studied. One conclusion of this study is that the maned wolf is the only survivor of the late Pleistocene extinction of the large South American canids. Fossils of the maned wolf from the Holocene and the late Pleistocene have been excavated from the Brazilian Highlands.[14]

A study, published in 2003,[15] on the brain anatomy of several canids, placed the maned wolf together with the Falkland Islands wolf, and with pseudo-foxes of the genus Pseudalopex. One study based on DNA evidence, published in 2009, showed that the extinct genus Dusicyon, the Falkland Islands wolf and its mainland relative, was the most closely related species to the maned wolf in historical times, and shared a common ancestor with it about 7 million years ago.[16]

The maned wolf is not closely related to any other living canid. It is not a fox, wolf, coyote, dog, or jackal, but a distinct canid, although previously it had been placed in Canis and Vulpes genera based on morphological similarities.[3] Its closest living relative is the bush dog (genus Speothos), with a more distant relationship to other South American canines (the short-eared dog, the crab-eating fox and the 'false foxes' or Pseudalopex).[17]



Short-eared dog




Crab-eating fox







Sechuran fox



Culpeo fox





Pampas fox



South American gray fox





Darwin's fox




Hoary fox







Maned wolf[18](Fig. 10)



Bush dog



Gallery[edit]

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 Rodden, M., Rodrigues , F. & Bestelmeyer, S. (2008). Chrysocyon brachyurus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 22 March 2009. Database entry includes justification for why this species is near threatened.
  3. ^ a b Osgood, Wilfred H. (1919). "Names of Some South American Mammals". Journal of Mammalogy 1 (1): 35. doi:10.2307/1373718. JSTOR 1373718. 
  4. ^ Langguth, A. (1975). "Ecology and evolution in the South American canids". In M. W. Fox, ed. The wild canids: their systematics, behavioral ecology and evolution. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. pp. 192–206. ISBN 0442224303. 
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