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 )
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay
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.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
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
Habitat and Ecology
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.
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
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Status: captivity: 13.0 years.
Status: captivity: 15.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
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.
Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual
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
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chrysocyon brachyurus
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2004Near Threatened
- 1996Lower Risk/near threatened(Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
- 1994Vulnerable(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Vulnerable(IUCN 1990)
- 1988Vulnerable(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
- 1986Vulnerable(IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
- 1982Vulnerable(Thornback and Jenkins 1982)
Date Listed: 12/02/1970
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10)
Where Listed: Entire
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
With their primarily solitary habits and large home ranges, Maned Wolves are found in low densities throughout the range.
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.
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.