Maned Wolf

Maned Wolf

name = Maned WolfMSW3 Wozencraft | id=14000790]
status = NT
status_system = iucn2.3
trend = unknown
status_ref = IUCN2006|assessors=Sillero-Zubiri & Hoffmann|year=2004|id=4819|title=Chrysocyon brachyurus|downloaded=11 May 2006 Database entry includes justification for why this species is near threatened.]

image_width = 230px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Carnivora
familia = Canidae
subfamilia = Caninae
genus = "Chrysocyon"
genus_authority = C. E. H. Smith, 1839
species = "C. brachyurus"
binomial = "Chrysocyon brachyurus"
binomial_authority = (Illiger, 1815)

The Maned Wolf ("Chrysocyon brachyurus") is the largest canid of South America, resembling a big fox with reddish fur.

This mammal is found in open and semi-open habitats, especially grasslands with scattered bushes and trees, in south-eastern Brazil (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Goiás and São Paulo), Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia east and north of the Andes, [cite book | author = Langguth, A. | year = 1975 | chapter = Ecology and evolution in the South American canids | pages = Pp. 192-206 | title = The wild canids: their systematics, behavioral ecology and evolution | editor = M. W. Fox, ed. | publisher = Van Nostrand Reinhold Company | location = New York] and far south-eastern Peru (Pampas del Heath only). [Sillero-Zubiri, Hoffmann, & Macdonald (eds). 2004. [ "Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs - 2004 Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan."] IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group.] It formerly occurred in Uruguay. IUCN lists it as near threatened, while it is considered vulnerable by the Brazilian government (IBAMA). It is the only species in the genus "Chrysocyon". It is locally known as "aguará guazú", meaning “large fox” in the Guarani language.


The Maned Wolf has often been described as "a Red Fox on stilts" due to its similar coloration and overall appearance, though it is much larger than a Red Fox and belongs to a different genus. The adult animal stands almost convert|1|m|ft|abbr=on tall at the shoulder, and weighs convert|20|to|25|kg|abbr=on.cite journal | author = Dietz, J. M. | year = 1984 | title = Ecology and social organization of the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) | journal = Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology | volume = 392 | pages = 1–51] The long legs are probably an adaptation to the tall grasslands of its native habitat.cite book |editor=Macdonald, D.|author= Dietz, James|year=1984 |title= The Encyclopedia of Mammals|publisher= Facts on File|location=New York|pages= 31|isbn= 0-87196-871-1]

The Maned Wolf's fur is 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.


Hunting and territoriality

Unlike other large canids (such as the Gray Wolf, the African Hunting Dog, or the Dhole) the Maned Wolf does not form packs. 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.cite web | author = Cristian Frers | url = | title = Un lobo de crin llamado Aguará Guazú | accessdate = 2007-04-23] Monogamous pairs may defend a shared territory of about km2 to mi2|30|abbr=yes, though the wolves themselves may seldom meet, outside of mating. The territory is crisscrossed by paths that the wolves 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 to foraging wolves.

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. 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. (In the Rotterdam Zoo, this smell once set the police on a hunt for cannabis smokers. [Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2006-09-02, p3] )


The mating season ranges from November to February. Gestation lasts 60 to 65 days, and a litter may have up to 2 to 6 black-furred pups, each weighing about convert|450|g|oz|abbr=on.


The Maned Wolf specializes in small and medium-sized prey, including small mammals (typically rodents and hares), birds, and even fish.cite journal | last =Juarez | first =Keila Macfadem | coauthors =Jader Marinho-Filho | title =Diet, habitat use, and home ranges of sympatric canids in central Brazil | journal =Journal of Mammalogy | volume =83 | issue =4 | pages =925–934 | month =November | year =2002 | accessdate =2007-03-14 | doi =10.1644/1545-1542(2002)083<0925:DHUAHR>2.0.CO;2 | year =2002] 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"). [cite journal | author = Motta-Junior, J. C., S. A. Talamon, J. A. Lombardi, AND K. Simokomaki | year = 1996 | title = Diet of maned wolf, Chrysocyon brachyurus, in central Brazil | journal = Journal of Zoology (London) | volume = 240 | pages = 277–284] . 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

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. [cite web | author = O. Courtenay | work = "Canid News", Vol. 2, 1994 | url = | title = Conservation of the Maned Wolf: fruitful relationships in a changing environment] The wolf is particularly susceptible to renal nematode infections, a potentially fatal parasite. The Maned Wolf is not a true, common prey species for any other predator, though it may be attacked or killed by feral domestic dogs. The Cougar is a potential competitor.

Relations with humans

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. However, as it is now classified as vulnerable by the Brazilian government, it is afforded protection from poachers. Wolves are also threatened by habitat loss and being run over by cars. Wolves risk both physical harm and catching diseases from domestic dogs. The Maned Wolf is generally shy and flees when alarmed, and it poses little direct threat to man. 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.


The Maned Wolf is not closely related to any other canid. It is apparently a survivor from the Pleistocene fauna of large South American mammals; 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"). [cite journal
last = Kerstin
first = Lindblad-Toh
coauthors = Claire M Wade, Tarjei S. Mikkelsen, Elinor K. Karlsson, David B. Jaffe, Michael Kamal, Michele Clamp, Jean L. Chang, Edward J. Kulbokas III, Michael C. Zody, Evan Mauceli, Xiaohui Xie, Matthew Breen, Robert K. Wayne, Elaine A. Ostrander, Chris P. Ponting, Francis Galibert, Douglas R. Smith, Pieter J. deJong, Ewen Kirkness, Pablo Alvarez, Tara Biagi, William Brockman, Jonathan Butler, Chee-Wye Chin, April Cook, James Cuff, Mark J. Daly, David DeCaprio, Sante Gnerre, Manfred Grabherr, Manolis Kellis, Michael Kleber, Carolyne Bardeleben, Leo Goodstadt, Andreas Heger, Christophe Hitte, Lisa Kim, Klaus-Peter Koepfli, Heidi G. Parker, John P. Pollinger, Stephen M. J. Searle, Nathan B. Sutter, Rachael Thomas, Caleb Webber
date = 2005-12-08
title = Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog
journal = Nature
volume = 438
pages = 803–819
doi = 10.1038/nature04338



External links

* ARKive - [ images and movies of the maned wolf "(Chrysocyon brachyurus)"] .
* Consorte-McCrea, Adriana G. [ The Maned Wolf in Captivity.] "Canid News", Vol. 2, 1994. Accessed March 12, 2007.
* Gorog, Antonia. [ Chrysocyon brachyurus (maned wolf).] "Animal Diversity Web." Accessed March 12, 2007.

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